High-Performance Software-Defined Networking on ARM SoC

High-Speed Data Flow in the Operating Room with Software-Defined Networking

The Institute of Embedded Systems (InES), High Performance Multimedia Group has taken a leap forward in high-speed data transfer in surgical environments. We have developed a high-speed (25Gbps) network switch built on an ARM System-on-Chip (SoC), achieving up to 25 Gbit/s switching performance without relying on dedicated switching hardware.

Source: https://or-x.ch/en/services/for-research

This innovative solution is the result of a collaborative project with the University Clinic Balgrist, focusing on decentralized data capture and distribution. The solution is built on ZHAW’s Jetson Orin NX Modular Vision System, equipped with an Intel E810 25Gbps PCIe Network Interface Card. The need for a modular high performance software switching solution is due to the fact that on the host system, various different tunnelling protocols are running in parallel

The Power of Open Source: Open vSwitch and DPDK

The solution is built on the two open-source frameworks Open vSwitch (OvS) and Data Plane Development Kit (DPDK).

OvS is a production-ready, multi-layer virtual switch known for its programmatic extension capabilities, enabling extensive network automation. However, a key limitation of native OvS is its dependence on the Linux kernel network stack, which is a bottleneck in high-speed applications.

This is where DPDK steps in. This open-source software project provides libraries that accelerate packet processing by entirely bypassing the kernel and operating purely in the Linux user space.

Source: https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/developer/articles/technical/open-vswitch-with-dpdk-overview.html

By combining Open vSwitch and DPDK on the Orin NX modular vision platform, we’ve created a highly adaptable, high-speed multi-layer switch that runs within the Linux user space, eliminating the need for dedicated hardware. The system reaches impressive 25 Gbps port-to-port switching and 10 Gbps port to host system switching.

Revolutionizing Surgical Research and Learning

This innovative network switch will be deployed within the OR-X of Balgrist, cutting-edge research and learning centre for translational surgery. Together with the existing DGX high performance workstation, it will empower the research teams of Balgrist to collect and stream high-speed data in real-time, paving the way for advancements in surgical techniques and research.

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