Ethernet Channel Bonding (ECB)

Martin Siegert siegert at
Mon Apr 22 20:45:41 EDT 2002

On Mon, Apr 22, 2002 at 06:01:22PM -0600, Timothy W. Moore wrote:
> I am new to the Beowulf cluster computing and am awaiting UPS to deliver 
> my systems.  I have been researching ECB and it seems to have mixed 
> reviews regarding performance enhancement.  Would/Could someone shed 
> some light on this topic to the following effect:
> [1] Is it truly necessary?

That depends on the programs you are planning to run your cluster. With
respect to performance: I am getting 269Mbit/s bandwith with 3-way
channel bonded fast ethernet (using 3Com NICs). This is almost exactly
three times as much as I get from a single NIC. The latency is not quite
as good as with a single NIC: 55us vs. 43us (all numbers measured with
netpipe). Thus if your program doesn't need the bandwith or if your
program is extremely sensitive to latencies then you don't need channel

> [2] If using RedHat 7.2, should I re-compile the kernel?

Not necessarily. The bonding.o module is part of all RedHat kernels.
However, I strongly recommend upgrading the kernel to 2.4.18 - I had
problems with all earlier 2.4.x versions.


Martin Siegert
Academic Computing Services                        phone: (604) 291-4691
Simon Fraser University                            fax:   (604) 291-4242
Burnaby, British Columbia                          email: siegert at
Canada  V5A 1S6
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