Distributed Routing Bridges

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisCollection of Articles


    In the span of four decades, Ethernet has become the most widely deployed link-layer technology in data communication networks. It is used in various environments, including home, data center, wide area and metropolitan, and automotive networks. The commonly accepted reasons for the spread of Ethernet link-layer is its simplicity, cost efficiency, and the promise of a plug-and-play and zero-configuration network. The Ethernet link-layer is also associated with several issues that are evident in deployments to this day. Over time, mitigating or eliminating the issues have significantly complicated the overall Ethernet link-layer protocol stack. One typical issue in Ethernet deployments is the scalability of the network segment size. As the number of hosts connected to the link-layer increases, the communication model of the link and higher-layer protocols generate increasing numbers of broadcast traffic. Broadcast traffic populates all forwarding tables in network devices, and is delivered to and processed by all hosts in the network segment. Eliminating the major sources of broadcasting makes it possible to consider larger network segment sizes. This thesis presents the system design and experimental evaluation of an enhanced Ethernet forwarding protocol. The aim of the system design is to offer improved scalability and reliability compared to conventional Ethernet forwarding protocols, while still retaining the core features of Ethernet. This is realized by introducing additional features to the Routing Bridges protocol standard from the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), by combining it with a Distributed Hash Table (DHT) concept. To verify the design, it is extensively evaluated through multiple use cases that target specific characteristics of the overall system design. A look at the software-based processing performance cost of the system design is also presented with a comparison to a conventional forwarding device. The results presented in this thesis show that it is possible to enhance the Routing Bridges standard in a way that mitigates the effects of the prolific broadcast communication model in Ethernet networks. Simultaneously it is possible to support the enhanced features in mixed networks that contain conventional STP-based devices and Routing Bridges without host service disruption. In some network environments, it is also possible to improve the quality of service roaming hosts receive from the link-layer.
    Translated title of the contributionHajautetut reititetyt sillat
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor's degree
    Awarding Institution
    • Aalto University
    • Manner, Jukka, Supervising Professor
    • Manner, Jukka, Thesis Advisor
    Print ISBNs978-952-60-6647-9
    Electronic ISBNs978-952-60-6648-6
    Publication statusPublished - 2016
    MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)


    • Ethernet
    • distributed hash tables
    • routing
    • broadcast
    • performance
    • system design
    • host mobility


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