In this paper, we have given an overview of VIA and Gigabit Ethernet technology. The performance of TCP, M-VIA, LAM, MPICH, and MVICH using three types of Gigabit Ethernet NICs, the GNIC-II, the ACEnic, and the SK-NET on a PC cluster were presented. We evaluated and compared the performance of TCP, LAM, MPICH, and MVICH. In order to achieve high TCP/IP performance on a high speed network, we indicated that one has to tune certain network parameters such as RFC1323, socket buffer size, and MTU. We attempted to explain the poor performance of LAM and MPICH and show MVICH as a promising communication library for MPI based applications running on a high speed network. We remark that we tested M-VIA v0.01 and MVICH v0.02 which are very early implementations and the performance is likely to improve further with further development.
Further investigation of the effects of tuning the MPICH implementation is also warranted. In addition, ANL is currently in the process of modifying MPICH to provide a device independent layer which will permit easy addition of device driver modules for various networks. This may also lead to further improvements in performance. SysKonnect is currently writing a VIA driver for the SK-NET card. It will be of some interest to compare the throughput and, in particular, latency achievable with this implementation.