• United States
Senior Editor

A look at TCP/IP offload technology

Jul 09, 20032 mins
Data Center

* TCP/IP Offload Engines

The notion of offloading heavy traffic onto a server, board or appliance is nothing new really. During the ’90’s IBM, Cisco and smaller vendors such as BusTech used to specialize in offloading TCP/IP traffic from the mainframe onto a switch or router.

The notion was to save the mainframe’s expensive processing power for more important transactions.

Our Technology Update author ( this week takes a look at a new generation of TCP/IP offload technology known as TCP/IP Offload Engines (TOE). TOE technology aims to take the server CPU out of I/O processing by shifting TCP/IP processing tasks to the network adapter or storage device. This leaves the CPU free to run its applications, so users get their data faster.

Our author says TOE technology consists of software extensions to existing TCP/IP stacks that enable the use of hardware data planes implemented on specialized TOE Network Interface Cards (TNIC). Such a hardware/software combination allows operating systems to offload all TCP/IP data traffic to specialized hardware on the TNIC, leaving TCP/IP control decisions on the server.

There’s more on this topic in our Tech Update. Check it out: