eTesting Labs Report: Intel® PRO/100 S Network Adapters
Executive summary Intel Corporation commissioned eTesting Labs to conduct performance testing comparing different models of the Intel® PRO/100 S Network Adapter family (server, desktop, and mobile) with similar offerings from 3Com. Specifically, we compared the throughput performance and CPU utilization of the following ...products: • Intel® PRO/100 S Server Adapter 3Com 3XP Server Adapter • Intel® PRO/100 S Desktop Adapter 3Com 3XP Desktop Adapter • Intel® PRO/100 SR Combo Mobile Adapter 3Com 10/100 LAN+56 Global Adapter
Test results The tests we conducted were aimed at comparing the benefit of IPSec hardware offloading capabilities with Intel and 3Com adapters on server, desktop, and mobile computing platforms. By offloading this IPSec processing from software to hardware, throughput is significantly increased, and CPU utilization is significantly decreased. All the adapters tested were capable of offloading IPSec processing from the CPU to the adapter with the exception of the 3Com 10/100 LAN+56* Mobile adapter. Neither 3Com, nor any other vendor, have mobile adapters that support IPSec hardware offload.
We used the Performance Efficiency Index to compare the results from each test case. The Performance Efficiency Index, originally developed by PC Week in 1995 (now eWeek), is determined by dividing network throughput in Mbps by processor utilization as a percentage. This metric shows the overall benefit of a NIC (Network Interface Card). In addition to using the throughput of a NIC as a metric, this method also accounts for a NIC's ability to offload work from the host CPU. Since processor performance is often a bottleneck, any work that can be offloaded from the processor is a benefit to the overall performance of a server. The Performance Efficiency Index accounts for the added benefit that NICs like Intel's PRO/100 S family of network adapters has to offer. Our testing showed that the Intel® PRO/100 S adapters provide better hardware accelerated IPSec performance when compared to the 3Com offerings on all platforms tested. Refer to the test results section for further details. Read the full eTesting Labs Report: Intel® PRO/100 S Network Adapters Brief.