A Performance Comparison of TCP/IP and MPI on FDDI, Fast Ethernet, and Ethernet

Saurab Nog, Dartmouth College
David Kotz, Dartmouth College

Dartmouth Computer Science Dartmouth Technical Report PCS-TR95-273


Communication is a very important factor affecting distributed applications. Getting a close handle on network performance (both bandwidth and latency) is thus crucial to understanding overall application performance. We benchmarked some of the metrics of network performance using two sets of experiments, namely roundtrip and datahose. The tests were designed to measure a combination of network latency, bandwidth, and contention. We repeated the tests for two protocols (TCP/IP and MPI) and three networks (100 Mbit FDDI (Fiber Distributed Data Interface), 100 Mbit Fast Ethernet, and 10 Mbit Ethernet). The performance results provided interesting insights into the behaviour of these networks under different load conditions and the software overheads associated with an MPI implementation (MPICH). This document presents details about the experiments, their results, and our analysis of the performance. \par Revised on 1/8/96 to emphasize our use of a particular MPI implementation, MPICH.