Intel currently off-loads checksum functionality, which checks each unit of data to be sure it contains the correct number of bits. Intel will also support a new TCP off-load capability called TCP Segmentation, expected to be available for Windows 2000 by the middle of next year. This capability should ease CPU loads and boost the performance of Intel adapters by allowing the operating system to hand larger blocks of data, or frames, to network interface cards for transmission.
Santa Clara, Calif.
While off-loading the entire TCP/IP protocol stack from the main server CPU "is very valuable," 3Com currently has no products that do that, says Doug Moe, product manager for server network interface cards. 3Com is "currently investigating" how to off-load TCP/IP functions from the main server CPU, he says, and will support the checksum, TCP segmentation, transport and tunnel-mode encryption off-load capabilities in Windows 2000.