South Korean researchers have created a virtual router that can transmit data at almost 40GB/s. The device differs from most routers because it uses cheap chips, such as Intel processors and NVIDIA GPUs.
The techniques used by the researchers could lead to a number of breakthroughs, including the use of cheaper commodity chips, such as those made by Intel and Nvidia, in high-performance routers, in place of custom-made hardware. The software developed by the researchers could also serve as a testbed for novel networking protocols that might eventually replace the decades-old ones on which the Internet currently runs.
Most routers use custom hardware to route data as it passes between computer networks. Software routers perform the same tasks using commodity hardware--by mimicking the behavior of a hardware router in software. Commercial software routers from companies such as Vyatta can typically only attain transfer data at speeds of up to three gigabytes per second. That isn't fast enough to take advantage of the full speed of a typical network card, which operates at 10 gigabytes per second.