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In each case, it is necessary to determine which flow an arriving packet belongs to, for example, whether to forward or filter (firewall), where to forward the packet (router), and the class of service it should receive (Qo S), or how much should be charged for transporting it (traffic billing).
The main bottleneck of the above applications is the classification stage.
There are a number of network services that require packet classification, such as routing, policy-based routing, rate limiting, access control in firewalls, virtual bandwidth location, load balancing, provision of differentiated qualities of service, and traffic billing.Therefore, packet classification is one of the most important issues to deal with in the design of network devices.Most popular classifiers deal with a certain field in the packet header to define the flow.The classifier, also known as a policy database, is a collection of rules or policies.Each rule specifies a class (flow) that the arriving packet may belong to based on some criteria in its header.
A hardware accelerator based on an ESL approach using Handel-C, on the other hand, resulted in a 31x speed-up over a pure software implementation running on a state of the art Xeon processor.