Routing internet traffic takes a vast amount of processing power. Gone are the days of dialup, where data could be processed with relative ease. Now with every connection pumping out data at rates measured in Mbits, high end devices are needed to route, inspect, and shape that traffic. These devices literally inspect, and operate on EVERY packet that goes through them, that require incredible speed to do so without affecting the speed of the data.
Enter such companies as Netronome, a maker of network flow processors, compatible with the Intel IXP28xx series. Each one of these processors has a 700MHz ARM CPU, as well as 8 1.4GHz RISC based Microengines are capable of delivering 56700MIPS. Expect to see more such products as companies work to meet President Obama’s National Broadband Plan.