Performance Benchmarks

Maximum Effective Throughput

As a packet based network technology, Ethernet links have overheads which prevent them from being exploited at 100% channel efficiency. We can however get close to 100% channel efficiency by sending packets with the largest acceptable payload and by operating on the lowest protocol layer – this is what we do to measure the maximum throughput of the Ethernet FMC.

How the test was performed

The design used to produce these measurements is the maximum throughput test example design which you can download on Github. The maximum throughput test design uses a hardware packet generator, coded in VHDL, to continuously feed Ethernet packets to the AXI Ethernet Subsystem (ie. the MAC). The packet generator is configured by the CPU through several software registers for parameters such as payload size and inter-packet delay. The generated packets are standard Ethernet frames which are composed of destination/source MAC addresses, an EtherType or length code, a payload and a checksum. The payload is generated by a 32-bit linear feedback shift register (LFSR) to produce randomly varying content that can be easily verified by the receiver.

The results

The table shows our measurements of maximum effective throughput per port which were performed at various payload sizes. They serve as a performance benchmark for the Ethernet FMC in designs with no bottlenecks in the data path to the MAC. The results also demonstrate the relationship between payload size and channel efficiency.

The measurements were made by using a debug probe on the AXI-Streaming interface of the Tri-mode Ethernet MACs while all four ports of the Ethernet FMC were transmitting and receiving simultaneously.

Note that these tests only demonstrate the possible throughput when using standard Ethernet frames. It would however be possible to achieve even higher throughput by using non-standard jumbo frames. Test results for jumbo frames will become available shortly.

Payload size (bytes)Effective throughput (Mbps)Channel efficiency