News Column

Patent Issued for Managing Flow Control Buffer

September 9, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Information Technology Newsweekly -- From Alexandria, Virginia, VerticalNews journalists report that a patent by the inventors Tierney, James (Carp, CA); Stuart, David (Almonte, CA); Venables, Bradley (Nepean, CA), filed on December 22, 2003, was published online on August 26, 2014.

The patent's assignee for patent number 8819265 is Rockstar Consortium US LP (Plano, TX).

News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Data communication networks use flow control to regulate the flow of data and reduce congestion at various points within a network. Flow control is used between nodes in a network by sending messages across a transmission medium indicating when a data packet is ready to be received. Flow control is also used between devices in a network by providing signals on control lines to indicate device status. Flow control between network devices typically includes monitoring the state of a data buffer to prevent overflow or underflow of the data buffer."

As a supplement to the background information on this patent, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "According to an aspect of the invention a method includes maintaining a count of data segments, the count including data segments in a queue and data segments in transit between a data source and the queue, and controlling a flow of data segments from the data source, based on a value of the count.

"Embodiments of the invention may include one or more of the following features.

"The data source includes an input buffer.

"The data segments in transit include data segments in a data pipeline of a device that reads data segments from the data source.

"Maintaining the count includes incrementing the count when a data segment leaves the data source, and decrementing the count when a data segment leaves the queue.

"The queue has at least as many elements as a maximum number of data segments in transit.

"The queue has fewer elements than twice a maximum number of data segments in transit.

"The queue is one of a plurality of queues stored in a memory buffer.

"All of the queues have the same number of elements.

"The method also includes maintaining counts of data segments for each of the queues.

"Controlling the flow of data segments includes accepting a data segment for a designated one of the queues from the data source only when the count for the designated queue is less than a predetermined number.

"The predetermined number is equal to the number of elements in the designated queue.

"In general, in another aspect, the invention features an apparatus including a data source, a memory buffer in communication with the data source and storing a queue, and circuitry configured to maintain a count of data segments, the count including data segments in the queue and data segments in transit between the data source and the queue. The circuitry is further configured to control a flow of data segments from the data source, based on a value of the count.

"In general, in another aspect, the invention features an system including a first buffer, a processor having a data pipeline in communication with the first buffer, a second buffer in communication with the processor and storing a queue, one or more communication lines in communication with the first buffer, a switch fabric in communication with the second buffer, and circuitry configured to maintain a count of data segments, the count including data segments in the queue and data segments in transit between the data source and the queue. The circuitry is further configured to control a flow of data segments from the data source, based on a value of the count.

"In general, in another aspect, the invention features a processor including a data source, and circuitry configured to maintain a count of data segments, the count including data segments in a queue and data segments in transit between the data source and the queue. The circuitry is further configured to control a flow of data segments from the data source, based on a value of the count.

"Embodiments of the invention may include one or more of the following advantages. The amount of buffer space used by the queues can be reduced by keeping track of the number of data segments in transit between a flow controllable source and a queue. Throughput of the traffic management system can be kept high by having enough buffer space to prevent underflow of the queues and/or to match flow control turn-on latency.

"Other features and advantages of the invention will become apparent from the following description, and from the claims."

For additional information on this patent, see: Tierney, James; Stuart, David; Venables, Bradley. Managing Flow Control Buffer. U.S. Patent Number 8819265, filed December 22, 2003, and published online on August 26, 2014. Patent URL: http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=8819265.PN.&OS=PN/8819265RS=PN/8819265

Keywords for this news article include: Information Technology, Information and Data Pipelines, Rockstar Consortium US LP.

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Source: Information Technology Newsweekly


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