Routing benchmarks

Jacques Fourie jacques.fourie at
Tue Sep 9 15:16:35 UTC 2008

On Tue, Sep 9, 2008 at 5:02 PM, Sam Leffler <sam at> wrote:
> Jacques Fourie wrote:
>> On Tue, Sep 9, 2008 at 3:55 PM, Stanislav Sedov <stas at> wrote:
>>> On Tue, 9 Sep 2008 15:33:30 +0200
>>> "Jacques Fourie" <jacques.fourie at> mentioned:
>>>> Hi,
>>>> I've performed some benchmark tests on my Gumstix Connex 400 (Intel
>>>> Xscale PXA 255 CPU clocked at 400MHz) with a netDuo expansion board.
>>>> This board has two smc network interfaces. I configure the gumstix as
>>>> a router and measure network throughput with netperf running on
>>>> seperate boxes on either side of the gumstix. My initial tests showed
>>>> a TCP throughput of 2Mbit/s. After adapting the smc driver to use DMA
>>>> this figure went up to 7Mbit/s. Although this is a significant
>>>> improvement, it still seems to be a bit slow. Does anyone have any
>>>> tips on how I can go about to try and figure out where the bottleneck
>>>> lies?  Initial profiling showed that a significant amount of time was
>>>> spent doing memory to memory copies of data, but after the DMA change
>>>> profiling does not show any obvious culprits.
>>> Have you tried checking the speed of the interface itself? Without
>>> routing involved? May it be the interfaces itself being so slow?
>>> --
>>> Stanislav Sedov
>>> ST4096-RIPE
>> Running netserver on the gumstix shows a throughput of 2.4Mbit/s. At
>> the moment I can't get if_bridge to work - will try to figure out what
>> is going on. A bridging benchmark may be more informative.
> You said you did profiling but you didn't provide the data to inspect.  It's
> possible kernel profiling has never been tried on your platform; did you
> sanity check the results?  (e.g. run a known test load and check results;
> verify all routines that should execute appear in the profile).  Also if
> copy overhead shows up as significant look to see why those copies are being
> done; it's often possible to avoid a copy.
> My experience in working with architectures like this is that cache handling
> can be a significant cost that doesn't always show up on a profile.
> Also you may find useful information by tracking mbufs using the h/w clock
> at important places along the "fast path" then look at whether the overhead
> for each step is reasonable.  I did this for bridged traffic by forcing the
> rx dma to go to an mbuf+cluster then used the free storage in the mbuf
> header to store timestamps.  At the end of the processing path I sorted the
> data into buckets by the sample points and added a sysctl to dump the
> histogram to see min/max/avg.
>   Sam

Thanks for the nice idea - will try something similar. At the moment
I'm also suspecting that cache handling has got a lot to do with the
performance figures that I'm seeing. The PXA255 has a 32KB data and
32KB instruction cache.


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