Network Working Group C. Popoviciu
Request for Comments: 5180 A. Hamza
Category: Informational G. Van de Velde
May 2008 IPv6 Benchmarking Methodology for Network Interconnect Devices
Status of This Memo
This memo provides information for the Internet community. It does
not specify an Internet standard of any kind. Distribution of this
memo is unlimited.
The benchmarking methodologies defined in RFC 2544 are IP version
independent. However, RFC 2544 does not address some of the
specificities of IPv6. This document provides additional
benchmarking guidelines, which in conjunction with RFC 2544, lead to
a more complete and realistic evaluation of the IPv6 performance of
network interconnect devices. IPv6 transition mechanisms are outside
the scope of this document.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction ....................................................22. Existing Definitions ............................................33. Tests and Results Evaluation ....................................34. Test Environment Setup ..........................................35. Test Traffic ....................................................45.1. Frame Formats and Sizes ....................................45.1.1. Frame Sizes to Be Used on Ethernet ..................55.1.2. Frame Sizes to Be Used on SONET .....................55.2. Protocol Addresses Selection ...............................65.2.1. DUT Protocol Addresses ..............................65.2.2. Test Traffic Protocol Addresses .....................75.3. Traffic with Extension Headers .............................75.4. Traffic Setup ..............................................96. Modifiers .......................................................96.1. Management and Routing Traffic .............................96.2. Filters ...................................................106.2.1. Filter Format ......................................106.2.2. Filter Types .......................................117. Benchmarking Tests .............................................127.1. Throughput ................................................137.2. Latency ...................................................137.3. Frame Loss ................................................137.4. Back-to-Back Frames .......................................137.5. System Recovery ...........................................147.6. Reset .....................................................148. IANA Considerations ............................................149. Security Considerations ........................................1410. Conclusions ...................................................1511. Acknowledgements ..............................................1512. References ....................................................1512.1. Normative References .....................................1512.2. Informative References ...................................16Appendix A. Theoretical Maximum Frame Rates Reference ............17A.1. Ethernet .................................................17A.2. Packet over SONET ........................................181. Introduction
The benchmarking methodologies defined by RFC 2544  are proving to
be useful in consistently evaluating IPv4 forwarding performance of
network elements. Adherence to these testing and result analysis
procedures facilitates objective comparison of IPv4 performance data
measured on various products and by various individuals. While the
principles behind the methodologies introduced in RFC 2544 are
largely IP version independent, the protocol has continued to evolve,
particularly in its version 6 (IPv6).
This document provides benchmarking methodology recommendations that
address IPv6-specific aspects, such as evaluating the forwarding
performance of traffic containing extension headers, as defined in
RFC 2460 . These recommendations are defined within the RFC 2544
framework, and they complement the test and result analysis
procedures as described in RFC 2544.
The terms used in this document remain consistent with those defined
in "Benchmarking Terminology for Network Interconnect Devices", RFC
1242 . This terminology SHOULD be consulted before using or
applying the recommendations of this document.
Any methodology aspects not covered in this document SHOULD be
assumed to be treated based on the RFC 2544 recommendations.
2. Existing Definitions
The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
"SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", "RECOMMENDED", "MAY", and "OPTIONAL" in this
document are to be interpreted as described in BCP 14, RFC 2119 .
RFC 2119 defines the use of these key words to help make the intent
of standards track documents as clear as possible. While this
document uses these key words, this document is not a standards track
3. Tests and Results Evaluation
The recommended performance evaluation tests are described in Section
7 of this document. Not all of these tests are applicable to all
network element types. Nevertheless, for each evaluated device, it
is recommended to perform as many of the applicable tests described
in Section 6 as possible.
Test execution and results analysis MUST be performed while observing
generally accepted testing practices regarding repeatability,
variance, and statistical significance of small numbers of trials.
4. Test Environment Setup
The test environment setup options recommended for the IPv6
performance evaluation are the same as those described in Section 6
of RFC 2544, in both single-port and multi-port scenarios.
Single-port testing measures per-interface forwarding performance,
while multi-port testing measures the scalability of forwarding
performance across the entire platform.
Throughout the test, the Device Under Test (DUT) can be monitored for
relevant resource (processor, memory, etc.) utilization. This data
could be beneficial in understanding traffic processing by each DUT
and the resources that must be allocated for IPv6. It could reveal
if the IPv6 traffic is processed in hardware, by applicable devices,
under all test conditions, or if it is punted in the software-
switched path. If such data is considered of interest, it MUST be
collected out of band and be independent of any management data
collected through the interfaces forwarding the test traffic.
Note: During testing, either static or dynamic options for neighbor
discovery can be used. In the static case, the IPv6 neighbor
information for the test tool is manually configured on the DUT, and
the IPv6 neighbor information for the DUT is manually configured on
the test tool. In the dynamic case, the IPv6 neighbor information is
dynamically discovered by each device through the neighbor discovery
protocol. The static option can be used as long as it is supported
by the test tool. The dynamic option is preferred wherein the test
tool interacts with the DUT for the duration of the test to maintain
the respective neighbor caches in an active state. To avoid neighbor
solicitation (NS) and neighbor advertisement (NA) storms due to the
neighbor unreachability detection (NUD) mechanism , the test
scenarios assume test traffic simulates end points and IPv6 source
and destination addresses that are one hop beyond the DUT.
5. Test Traffic
Traffic used for all tests described in this document SHOULD meet the
requirements described in this section. These requirements are
designed to reflect the characteristics of IPv6 unicast traffic.
Using the recommended IPv6 traffic profile leads to a complete
evaluation of the network element performance.
5.1. Frame Formats and Sizes
Two types of media are commonly deployed, and each SHOULD be tested
if the network element supports that type of media: Ethernet and
SONET (Synchronous Optical Network). This section identifies the
frame sizes that SHOULD be used for each media type. Refer to
recommendations in RFC 2544 for all other media types.
Similar to IPv4, small frame sizes help characterize the per-frame
processing overhead of the DUT. Note that the minimum IPv6 packet
size (40 bytes) is larger than that of an IPv4 packet (20 bytes).
Tests should compensate for this difference.
The frame sizes listed for IPv6 include the extension headers used in
testing (see Section 5.3). By definition, extension headers are part
of the IPv6 packet payload. Depending on the total length of the
extension headers, their use might not be possible at the smallest
Note: Test tools commonly use signatures to identify test traffic
packets to verify that there are no packet drops or out-of-order
packets, or to calculate various statistics such as delay and jitter.
This could be the reason why the minimum frame size selectable
through the test tool might not be as low as the theoretical one
presented in this document.
5.1.1. Frame Sizes to Be Used on Ethernet
Ethernet, in all its types, has become the most commonly deployed
media in today's networks. The following frame sizes SHOULD be used
for benchmarking over this media type: 64, 128, 256, 512, 1024, 1280,
and 1518 bytes.
Note: The recommended 1518-byte frame size represents the maximum
size of an untagged Ethernet frame. According to the IEEE 802.3as
standard , the frame size can be increased up to 2048 bytes to
accommodate frame tags and other encapsulation required by the IEEE
802.1AE MAC  security protocol. A frame size commonly used in
operational environments is 1522 bytes, the max length for a
VLAN-tagged frame, as per 802.1D .
Note: While jumbo frames are outside the scope of the 802.3 IEEE
standard, tests SHOULD be executed with frame sizes selected based on
the values supported by the device under test. Examples of commonly
used jumbo frame sizes are: 4096, 8192, and 9216 bytes.
The maximum frame rates for each frame size and the various Ethernet
interface types are provided in Appendix A.
5.1.2. Frame Sizes to Be Used on SONET
Packet over SONET (PoS) interfaces are commonly used for edge uplinks
and high-bandwidth core links. Evaluating the forwarding performance
of PoS interfaces supported by the DUT is recommended. The following
frame sizes SHOULD be used for this media type: 47, 64, 128, 256,
512, 1024, 1280, 1518, 2048, 4096 bytes.
The theoretical maximum frame rates for each frame size and the
various PoS interface types are provided in Appendix A.
5.2. Protocol Addresses Selection
There are two aspects of IPv6 benchmarking testing where IP address
selection considerations MUST be analyzed: the selection of IP
addresses for the DUT and the selection of addresses for test
5.2.1. DUT Protocol Addresses
IANA reserved an IPv6 address block for use with IPv6 benchmark
testing (see Section 8). It MAY be assumed that addresses in this
block are not globally routable, and they MUST NOT be used as
Internet source or destination addresses.
Similar to Appendix C of RFC 2544, addresses from the first half of
this range SHOULD be used for the ports viewed as input and addresses
from the other half of the range for the output ports.
The prefix length of the IPv6 addresses configured on the DUT
interfaces MUST fall into either of the following:
o Prefix length is /126, which would simulate a point-to-point
link for a core router.
o Prefix length is smaller or equal to /64.
No prefix lengths SHOULD be selected in the range between 64 and 128
except the 126 value mentioned above.
Note that /126 prefixes might not always be the best choice for
addressing point-to-point links such as back-to-back Ethernet unless
the auto-provisioning mechanism is disabled. Also, not all network
elements support addresses of this prefix length.
While with IPv6, the DUT interfaces can be configured with multiple
global unicast addresses, the methodology described in this document
does not require testing such a scenario. It is not expected that
such an evaluation would bring additional data regarding the
performance of the network element.
The Interface ID portion of global unicast IPv6 DUT addresses SHOULD
be set to ::1. There are no requirements in the selection of the
Interface ID portion of the link local IPv6 addresses.
It is recommended that multiple iterations of the benchmark tests be
conducted using the following prefix lengths: 48, 64, 126, and 128
for the advertised traffic destination prefix. Other prefix lengths
can be used. However, the indicated range reflects major prefix
boundaries expected to be present in IPv6 routing tables, and they
should be representative to establish baseline performance metrics.
5.2.2. Test Traffic Protocol Addresses
IPv6 source and destination addresses for the test streams SHOULD
belong to the IPv6 range assigned by IANA, as defined in Section 8.
The source addresses SHOULD belong to one half of the range and the
destination addresses to the other, reflecting the DUT interface IPv6
Tests SHOULD first be executed with a single stream leveraging a
single source-destination address pair. The tests SHOULD then be
repeated with traffic using a random destination address in the
corresponding range. If the network element prefix lookup
capabilities are evaluated, the tests SHOULD focus on the IPv6
relevant prefix boundaries: 0-64, 126, and 128.
Note: When statically defined neighbors are not used, the parameters
affecting Neighbor Unreachability Detection should be consistently
set. The IPv6 prefix-reachable time in the router advertisement
SHOULD be set to 30 seconds.
5.3. Traffic with Extension Headers
Extension headers are an intrinsic part of the IPv6 architecture .
They are used with various types of practical traffic such as:
fragmented traffic, mobile IP-based traffic, and authenticated and
encrypted traffic. For these reasons, all tests described in this
document SHOULD be performed with both traffic that has no extension
headers and traffic that has a set of extension headers. Extension
header types can be selected from the following list  that
reflects the recommended order of multiple extension headers in a
o Hop-by-hop header
o Destination options header
o Routing header
o Fragment header
o Authentication header
o Encapsulating security payload (ESP) header
o Destination options header
o Mobility header
Since extension headers are an intrinsic part of the protocol and
they fulfill different roles, benchmarking of traffic containing each
extension header SHOULD be executed individually.
The special processing rules for the hop-by-hop extension header
require a specific benchmarking approach. Unlike other extension
headers, this header must be processed by each node that forwards the
traffic. Tests with traffic containing these extension header types
will not measure the forwarding performance of the DUT, but rather
its extension-header processing capability, which is dependent on the
information contained in the extension headers. The concern is that
this traffic, at high rates, could have a negative impact on the
operational resources of the router, and it could be used as a
security threat. When benchmarking with traffic that contains the
hop-by-hop extension header, the goal is not to measure throughput
 as in the case of the other extension headers, but rather to
evaluate the impact of such traffic on the router. In this case,
traffic with the hop-by-hop extension headers should be sent at 1%,
10%, and 50% of the interface total bandwidth. Device resources must
be monitored at each traffic rate to determine the impact.
Tests with traffic containing each individual extension header MUST
be complemented with tests containing a chain of two or more
extension headers (the chain MUST NOT contain the hop-by-hop
extension header). This chain should also exclude the ESP 
extension header, since traffic with an encrypted payload cannot be
used in tests with modifiers such as filters based on upper-layer
information (see Section 5). Since the DUT is not analyzing the
content of the extension headers, any combination of extension
headers can be used in testing. The extension header chain
recommended for testing is:
o Routing header - 24-32 bytes
o Destination options header - 8 bytes
o Fragment header - 8 bytes
This is a real-life extension-header chain that would be found in an
IPv6 packet between two mobile nodes exchanged over an optimized path
that requires fragmentation. The listed extension headers' lengths
represent test tool defaults. The total length of the extension
header chain SHOULD be larger than 32 bytes.
Extension headers add extra bytes to the payload size of the IP
packets, which MUST be factored in when used in testing at low frame
sizes. Their presence will modify the minimum packet size used in
testing. For direct comparison between the data obtained with
traffic that has extension headers and with traffic that doesn't have
them at low frame size, a common value SHOULD be selected for the
smallest frame size of both types of traffic.
For most cases, the network elements ignore the extension headers
when forwarding IPv6 traffic. For these reasons, it is likely the
performance impact related to extension headers will be observed only
when testing the DUT with traffic filters that contain matching
conditions for the upper-layer protocol information. In those cases,
the DUT MUST traverse the chain of extension headers, a process that
could impact performance.
5.4. Traffic Setup
All tests recommended in this document SHOULD be performed with
bi-directional traffic. For asymmetric situations, tests MAY be
performed with uni-directional traffic for a more granular
characterization of the DUT performance. In these cases, the
bi-directional traffic testing would reveal only the lowest
performance between the two directions.
All other traffic profile characteristics described in RFC 2544
SHOULD be applied in this testing as well. IPv6 multicast
benchmarking is outside the scope of this document.
RFC 2544 underlines the importance of evaluating the performance of
network elements under certain operational conditions. The
conditions defined in Section 11 of RFC 2544 are common to IPv4 and
IPv6, except that IPv6 does not employ layer 2 or 3 broadcast frames.
IPv6 does not use layer 2 or layer 3 broadcasts. This section
provides additional conditions that are specific to IPv6. The suite
of tests recommended in this document SHOULD be first executed in the
absence of these conditions and then repeated under each of these
6.1. Management and Routing Traffic
The procedures defined in Sections 11.2 and 11.3 of RFC 2544 are
applicable for IPv6 management and routing update frames as well.
The filters defined in Section 11.4 of RFC 2544 apply to IPv6
benchmarking as well. The filter definitions must be expanded to
include upper-layer protocol information matching in order to analyze
the handling of traffic with extension headers, which are an
important architectural component of IPv6.
6.2.1. Filter Format
The filter format defined in RFC 2544 is applicable to IPv6 as well,
except that the source addresses (SA) and destination addresses (DA)
are IPv6 addresses. In addition to these basic filters, the
evaluation of IPv6 performance SHOULD analyze the correct filtering
and handling of traffic with extension headers.
While the intent is not to evaluate a platform's capability to
process the various extension header types, the goal is to measure
performance impact when the network element must parse through the
extension headers to reach upper-layer information. In IPv6, routers
do not have to parse through the extension headers (other than
hop-by-hop) unless, for example, upper-layer information has to be
analyzed due to filters.
To evaluate the network element handling of IPv6 traffic with
extension headers, the definition of the filters must be extended to
include conditions applied to upper-layer protocol information. The
following filter format SHOULD be used for this type of evaluation:
[permit|deny] [protocol] [SA] [DA]
where permit or deny indicates the action to allow or deny a packet
through the interface the filter is applied to. The protocol field
is defined as:
o ipv6: any IP Version 6 traffic
o tcp: Transmission Control Protocol
o udp: User Datagram Protocol
and SA stands for the source address and DA for the destination
The upper-layer protocols listed above are a recommended selection.
However, they do not represent an all-inclusive list of upper-layer
protocols that could be used in defining filters. The filters
described in these benchmarking recommendations apply to native IPv6
traffic and upper-layer protocols (tcp, udp) transported in native
6.2.2. Filter Types
Based on RFC 2544 recommendations, two types of tests are executed
when evaluating performance in the presence of modifiers: one with a
single filter and another with 25 filters. Examples of recommended
filters are illustrated using the IPv6 documentation prefix 
Examples of single filters are:
Filter for TCP traffic - permit tcp 2001:DB8::1 2001:DB8::2
Filter for UDP traffic - permit udp 2001:DB8::1 2001:DB8::2
Filter for IPv6 traffic - permit ipv6 2001:DB8::1 2001:DB8::2
The single line filter case SHOULD verify that the network element
permits all TCP/UDP/IPv6 traffic with or without any number of
extension headers from IPv6 SA 2001:DB8::1 to IPv6 DA 2001:DB8::2 and
deny all other traffic.
Example of 25 filters:
deny tcp 2001:DB8:1::1 2001:DB8:1::2
deny tcp 2001:DB8:2::1 2001:DB8:2::2
deny tcp 2001:DB8:3::1 2001:DB8:3::2
deny tcp 2001:DB8:C::1 2001:DB8:C::2
permit tcp 2001:DB8:99::1 2001:DB8:99::2
deny tcp 2001:DB8:D::1 2001:DB8:D::2
deny tcp 2001:DB8:E::1 2001:DB8:E::2
deny tcp 2001:DB8:19::1 2001:DB8:19::2
deny ipv6 any any
The router SHOULD deny all traffic with or without extension headers
except TCP traffic with SA 2001:DB8:99::1 and DA 2001:DB8:99::2.
7. Benchmarking Tests
This document recommends the same benchmarking tests described in RFC
2544 while observing the DUT setup and the traffic setup
considerations described above. The following sections state the
test types explicitly, and they highlight only the methodology
differences that might exist with respect to those described in
Section 26 of RFC 2544.
The specificities of IPv6, particularly the definition of extension
header processing, require additional benchmarking steps. The tests
recommended by RFC 2544 MUST be repeated for IPv6 traffic without
extension headers and for IPv6 traffic with one or multiple extension
IPv6's deployment in existing IPv4 environments and the expected long
coexistence of the two protocols leads network operators to place
great emphasis on understanding the performance of platforms
processing both types of traffic. While device resources are shared
between the two protocols, it is important that IPv6-enabled
platforms not experience degraded IPv4 performance. Thus, IPv6
benchmarking SHOULD be performed in the context of a stand-alone
protocol as well as in the context of its coexistence with IPv4.
The modifiers defined are independent of the extension header type,
so they can be applied equally to each one of the above tests.
The benchmarking tests described in this section SHOULD be performed
under each of the following conditions:
Extension header specific conditions:
i) IPv6 traffic with no extension headers
ii) IPv6 traffic with one extension header from the list in Section
iii) IPv6 traffic with the chain of extension headers described in
iv) IPv4 ONLY traffic benchmarking
v) IPv6 ONLY traffic benchmarking
vi) IPv4-IPv6 traffic mix with the ratio 90% vs 10%
vii) IPv4-IPv6 traffic mix with the ratio 50% vs 50%
viii) IPv4-IPv6 traffic mix with the ratio 10% vs 90%
Combining the test conditions listed for benchmarking IPv6 as a
stand-alone protocol and the coexistence tests leads to a
large-coverage matrix. At a minimum requirement, the coexistence
tests should use IPv6 traffic with no extension headers and the 10%-
90%, 90%-10%, or IPv4/IPv6 traffic mix.
The subsequent sections each describe specific tests that MUST be
executed under the conditions listed above for a complete
benchmarking of IPv6-forwarding performance.
Objective: To determine the DUT throughput as defined in RFC 1242.
Procedure: Same as RFC 2544.
Reporting Format: Same as RFC 2544.
Objective: To determine the latency as defined in RFC 1242.
Procedure: Same as RFC 2544.
Reporting Format: Same as RFC 2544.
7.3. Frame Loss
Objective: To determine the frame-loss rate (as defined in RFC 1242)
of a DUT throughout the entire range of input data rates and frame
Procedure: Same as RFC 2544.
Reporting Format: Same as RFC 2544.
7.4. Back-to-Back Frames
Based on the IPv4 experience, the back-to-back frames test is
characterized by significant variance due to short-term variations in
the processing flow. For these reasons, this test is no longer
recommended for IPv6 benchmarking.
7.5. System Recovery
Objective: To characterize the speed at which a DUT recovers from an
Procedure: Same as RFC 2544.
Reporting Format: Same as RFC 2544.
Objective: To characterize the speed at which a DUT recovers from a
device or software reset.
Procedure: Same as RFC 2544.
Reporting Format: Same as RFC 2544.
8. IANA Considerations
The IANA has allocated 2001:0200::/48 for IPv6 benchmarking, which is
a 48-bit prefix from the RFC 4773 pool. This allocation is similar
to 198.18.0.0/15, defined in RFC 3330 . This prefix length (48)
provides similar flexibility as the range allocated for IPv4
benchmarking, and it takes into consideration address conservation
and simplicity of usage concerns. The requested size meets the
requirements for testing large network elements and large emulated
Note: Similar to RFC 2544 avoiding the use of RFC 1918 address space
for benchmarking tests, this document does not recommend the use of
RFC 4193  (Unique Local Addresses) in order to minimize the
possibility of conflicts with operational traffic.
9. Security Considerations
Benchmarking activities, as described in this memo, are limited to
technology characterization using controlled stimuli in a laboratory
environment, with dedicated address space and the constraints
specified in the sections above.
The benchmarking network topology will be an independent test setup
and MUST NOT be connected to devices that may forward the test
traffic into a production network or misroute traffic to the test
Further, benchmarking is performed on a "black-box" basis, relying
solely on measurements observable external to the DUT/SUT (System
Special capabilities SHOULD NOT exist in the DUT/SUT specifically for
benchmarking purposes. Any implications for network security arising
from the DUT/SUT SHOULD be identical in the lab and in production
The isolated nature of the benchmarking environments and the fact
that no special features or capabilities, other than those used in
operational networks, are enabled on the DUT/SUT requires no security
considerations specific to the benchmarking process.
The Benchmarking Methodology for Network Interconnect Devices
document, RFC 2544 , is for the most part applicable to evaluating
the IPv6 performance of network elements. This document addresses
the IPv6-specific requirements that MUST be observed when applying
the recommendations of RFC 2544. These additional requirements stem
from the architecture characteristics of IPv6. This document is not
a replacement for, but a complement to, RFC 2544.
Scott Bradner provided valuable guidance and recommendations for this
document. The authors acknowledge the work done by Cynthia Martin
and Jeff Dunn with respect to defining the terminology for IPv6
benchmarking. The authors would like to thank Bill Kine for his
contribution to the initial document and to Tom Alexander, Bill
Cerveny, Silvija Dry, Sven Lanckmans, Dean Lee, Athanassios
Liakopoulos, Benoit Lourdelet, Al Morton, David Newman, Rajiv
Papejna, Dan Romascanu, and Pekka Savola for their very helpful
feedback. Maryam Hamza inspired the authors to complete this
12.1. Normative References
 Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate Requirement
Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119, March 1997.
 Deering, S. and R. Hinden, "Internet Protocol, Version 6 (IPv6)
Specification", RFC 2460, December 1998.
 Malis, A. and W. Simpson, "PPP over SONET/SDH", RFC 2615, June
 Hinden, R. and B. Haberman, "Unique Local IPv6 Unicast
Addresses", RFC 4193, October 2005.
 Kent, S., "IP Encapsulating Security Payload (ESP)", RFC 4303,
 Narten, T., Nordmark, E., Simpson, W., and H. Soliman,
"Neighbor Discovery for IP version 6 (IPv6)", RFC 4861,
12.2. Informative References
 Bradner, S., "Benchmarking Terminology for Network
Interconnection Devices", RFC 1242, July 1991.
 Simpson, W., Ed., "PPP in HDLC-like Framing", STD 51, RFC 1662,
 Bradner, S. and J. McQuaid, "Benchmarking Methodology for
Network Interconnect Devices", RFC 2544, March 1999.
 IANA, "Special-Use IPv4 Addresses", RFC 3330, September 2002.
 Huston, G., Lord, A., and P. Smith, "IPv6 Address Prefix
Reserved for Documentation", RFC 3849, July 2004.
 Newman, D. and T. Player, "Hash and Stuffing: Overlooked
Factors in Network Device Benchmarking", RFC 4814, March 2007.
 LAN/MAN Standards Committee of the IEEE Computer Society, "IEEE
Std 802.3as-2006, Part 3: Carrier Sense Multiple Access with
Collision Detection (CSMA/CD) Access Method and Physical Layer
Specifications, Amendment 3: Frame format extensions", November
 Allyn Romanow (editor), "IEEE Std 802.3ae, Media Access Control
(MAC) Security", June 2006.
 Mick Seaman (editor), "IEEE Std 802.1D-2004, MAC Bridges",
Appendix A. Theoretical Maximum Frame Rates Reference
This appendix provides the formulas to calculate and the values for
the theoretical maximum frame rates for two media types: Ethernet and
The throughput in frames per second (fps) for various Ethernet
interface types and for a frame size X can be calculated with the
Line Rate (bps)
The 20 bytes in the formula is the sum of the preamble (8 bytes) and
the inter-frame gap (12 bytes). The throughput for various Ethernet
interface types and frame sizes:
Size 10Mb/s 100Mb/s 1000Mb/s 10000Mb/s
Bytes pps pps pps pps
64 14,880 148,809 1,488,095 14,880,952
128 8,445 84,459 844,594 8,445,945
256 4,528 45,289 452,898 4,528,985
512 2,349 23,496 234,962 2,349,624
1024 1,197 11,973 119,731 1,197,318
1280 961 9,615 96,153 961,538
1518 812 8,127 81,274 812,743
1522 810 8,106 81,063 810,635
2048 604 6,044 60,444 604,448
4096 303 3,036 30,396 303,691
8192 152 1,522 15,221 152,216
9216 135 1,353 13,534 135,339
Note: Ethernet's maximum frame rates are subject to variances due to
clock slop. The listed rates are theoretical maximums, and actual
tests should account for a +/- 100 ppm tolerance.
A.2. Packet over SONET
ANSI T1.105 SONET provides the formula for calculating the maximum
available bandwidth for the various Packet over SONET (PoS) interface
STS-Nc (N = 3Y, where Y=1,2,3,etc)
[(N*87) - N/3]*(9 rows)*(8 bit/byte)*(8000 frames/sec)
Packets over SONET can use various encapsulations: PPP , High-
Level Data Link Control (HDLC) , and Frame Relay. All these
encapsulations use a 4-byte header, a 2- or 4-byte Frame Check
Sequence (FCS) field, and a 1-byte Flag that are all accounted for in
the overall frame size. The maximum frame rate for various interface
types can be calculated with the formula (where X represents the
frame size in bytes):
Line Rate (bps)
The theoretical maximum frame rates for various PoS interface types
and frame sizes:
Size OC-3c OC-12c OC-48c OC-192c OC-768c
Bytes fps fps fps fps fps
47 390,000 1,560,000 6,240,000 24,960,000 99,840,000
64 288,000 1,152,000 4,608,000 18,432,000 73,728,000
128 145,116 580,465 2,321,860 9,287,441 37,149,767
256 72,840 291,361 1,165,447 4,661,789 18,647,159
512 36,491 145,964 583,859 2,335,438 9,341,754
1024 18,263 73,053 292,214 1,168,858 4,675,434
2048 9,136 36,544 146,178 584,714 2,338,857
4096 4,569 18,276 73,107 292,428 1,169,714
It is important to note that throughput test results may vary from
the values presented in Appendices A.1 and A.2 due to bit stuffing
performed by various media types . The theoretical throughput
numbers were rounded down.
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