Facilitating always-on instrumentation of Internet traffic for the purposes of performance measurement is crucial in order to enable accountability of resource usage and automated network control, management and optimisation. This has proven infeasible to date due to the lack of native measurement mechanisms that can form an integral part of the network‟s main forwarding operation. However, Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) specification enables the efficient encoding and processing of optional per-packet information as a native part of the network layer, and this constitutes a strong reason for IPv6 to be adopted as the ubiquitous next generation Internet transport.\ud In this paper we present a very high-speed hardware implementation of in-line measurement, a truly native traffic instrumentation mechanism for the next generation Internet, which facilitates performance measurement of the actual data-carrying traffic at small timescales between two points in the network. This system is designed to operate as part of the routers' fast path and to incur an absolutely minimal impact on the network operation even while instrumenting traffic between the edges of very high capacity links. Our results show that the implementation can be easily accommodated by current FPGA technology, and real Internet traffic traces verify that the overhead incurred by instrumenting every packet over a 10 Gb/s operational backbone link carrying a typical workload is indeed negligible
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