PREDICAT: Efficient Packet Classification via Prefix Disjointness
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While secure efficient operation of computer networks requires cost-effective line-rate packet classification, network programmability strengthens this need. A promising approach is to transform a packet classifier to a semantically equivalent representation that supports more effective classification. This paper explores transformation of ternary classifiers to equivalent prefix representations so that classification can benefit from efficient Longest Prefix Match solutions. We propose the property of prefix disjointness and design PREDICAT, a method that leverages this new property in combination with a variety of existing techniques to convert an arbitrary ternary classifier to an equivalent prefix representation. The paper analyzes prefix disjointness and evaluates PREDICAT against state-of-the-art transformation alternatives on a packet classification benchmark in regard to the number of lookups. The evaluation shows that PREDICAT outperforms a ternary-to-binary method by up to an order of magnitude, improves on another ternary-to-prefix solution by up to a factor of 5, and performs similarly to a ternary-to-ternary approach that requires costly power-hungry Ternary Content-Addressable Memories to efficiently handle the resulting ternary representation.