on the network throughput front, we’re fighting (albeit in distributed manner) for getting throughput from commodity PC hardware on par with dedicated, hardware routing platforms. with OSes like Linux and BSD.
to that end, recent document published after last Linux Congress in Hamburg shows that while it’s important to select proper multi-core CPU and motherboard to do fast traffic forwarding, we’re still hitting bottleneck at around 1Mpps. curiously enough, on one of the slides you can spot information, that large FIB in Linux doesn’t impact performance too much. you can’t say that about some of the older, legacy solutions using different FIB tricks - like for example compression. you can also find some interesting information about Linux kernel tuning. you may remember than years ago NetFPGA was published, using Xilinx chipset. it’s still 4 GE ports, but quite efficient and with readily available SDK.
of course, progress here is great - in the context of openly available networking solutions. BSD systems are quite proficient here - FreeBSD in version 7.0 again brings a lot of improvements in networking code (while being still perceived as very conservative as compared to other BSD families). you can also find some commercial ideas for hardware using ideas to offload forwarding from Linux or BSD-driven control plane to hardware driven data plane. existing commercial vendors selling already such ASICs and SoCs are quite in advantage here - like Broadcom or SwitchCore.
you can also find router-optimized distributions - like Vyatta, about you can read in polish blogs here. of course comparing modern software to old hardware like Cisco 7140 doesn’t make any sense but still… MikroTik seems to be king in small “community” service providers, while there are also other similar projects.
I’m missing wider scale engagement from Polish companies on this front - from developing such systems to driving bigger networks using that gear. we all know that such networks do exist, but encouraging administrators to share their own feedback about doing just that is hard. that’s pity - we all can learn from real operators of real networks. if you’re very shy, please take a look at Wojtek Apel’s presentation. it’s pretty straightforward in the message, but Wojtek keeps himself close to facts.
please consider joining January PLNOG - it’s worth it :)