Nancy Karen Feldman - Nanuet NY
Arun Viswanathan - White Plains NY
Richard M. Woundy - North Reading MA
Richard H. Boivie - Monroe CT
International Business Machines Corporation - Armonk NY
IP based networks use a number of different IP routing protocols to determine how packets ought to be routed. However, due to the rapid growth of the Internet, there is a great need for higher packet forwarding performance. This invention describes a way to map IP routing information onto a technology that uses label switching and swapping, such as ATM, without the need to change the network paradigm. This allows a network to continue to function and appear as a standard IP network, but with much higher performance. In this invention, an Integrated Switch Router (ISR), is a switch that has been augmented with standard IP routing support. The ISR at an entry point to the switching environment performs standard IP forwarding of datagrams, but the "next hop" of the IP forwarding table has been extended to include a reference to a switched path (for example, the VCC in ATM technology). Each switched path may have an endpoint at a neighboring router (comparable to existing IP next hops on conventional routers), or may traverse a series of ISRs along the best IP forwarding path, to an ISR endpoint. This allows datagrams to be switched at hardware speeds through an entire ISR network.