Last week we provided an introduction to the GTP tunneling protocol which is used exclusively in mobile networks to tunnel IP packets through a mobile network core. GTP is just one example amongst many of a tunneling protocol; other examples are VLAN, VXLAN, MPLS, and GRE. Accolade SmartNICs are able to parse all of these protocols and reach in to the tunnel to pull out, and take action on, the original packet. We will use GTP to illustrate a concrete use case for this capability around deduplication.
Duplicate packets are very common in networks and can easily constitute 25 or 30% of the traffic in a live network. When network monitoring equipment is deployed to examine the traffic for security, network performance or other reasons, having to process duplicate traffic is a large burden. In a mobile network two different GTP packets could actually be duplicates from a network monitoring perspective. The reason is because only the inner IP packet in a GTP tunnel is of interest for monitoring and thus even if the outer IP header is different it could still be carrying the same inner IP packet. An Accolade SmartNIC is able to extract the inner IP packet and compare it to other inner IP packets to determine if they are the same; and if they are, discard the packet before it reaches the monitoring application. This saves the monitoring application the burden of processing redundant traffic.
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