Departmental Papers (ESE)


Ethernet's plug-&-play feature is built on its use of flat (location independent) addresses and use of broadcasts to resolve unknown MAC addresses. While plug-&-play is one of Ethernet's most attractive features, it also affects its scalability. As the number of active MAC addresses in the network grows beyond the capacity of forwarding caches in bridges, the odds of "cache-misses," each triggering a broadcast, grow as well. The resulting increase in broadcast bandwidth consumption affects scalability. To address this problem, we propose a simple address resolution scheme based on an adaptation of distributed hash tables where a single query suffices in the steady state. The new scheme is implemented on advanced bridges maintaining backward compatibility with legacy bridges and eliminating reliance on broadcasts for address discovery. Comparisons with a legacy, broadcast-based scheme are carried out along several metrics that demonstrate the new scheme's robustness and ability to improve scalability.

Document Type

Conference Paper

Date of this Version

June 2007


Copyright 2007. Forthcoming from International Conference on Communications 2007 (ICC 200a7), June 2007, pages 6446-6453.

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Network, Ethernet, DHT, flat addresses



Date Posted: 06 March 2007

This document has been peer reviewed.