Advanced Networking Solutions for Artificial Intelligence

Posted on Dec 22, 2023 by

In recent years, large-scale artificial intelligence (AI) models have garnered significant attention within the AI community due to their remarkable capabilities in natural language understanding, cross-media processing, and the potential to advance toward general AI. The parameter scale of prominent industry-leading big models has reached the order of trillions or even tens of trillions.

In 2023, a notable AI product named ChatGPT gained popularity, showcasing the ability to engage in conversations, code generation, question answering, and novel writing. Its underlying technology is grounded in the finely tuned GPT-3.5 large model, boasting 175 billion parameters. Reports indicate that the training of GPT-3.5 utilized a dedicated AI supercomputing system constructed by Microsoft. This system comprised a high-performance network cluster housing 10,000 V100 GPUs, with a cumulative computing power consumption of approximately 3640 PF-days. To put it in perspective, if calculated at a rate of 10 trillion calculations per second, the computation would take 3640 days to complete.

Elevating Networks for AI Excellence

In the era of artificial intelligence, the demand for networks has surged to unprecedented levels, necessitating unparalleled performance and reliability. As AI technologies continue to advance, with large-scale models becoming standard, network infrastructure must evolve to meet these demands and deliver exceptional levels of connectivity and responsiveness. The pursuit of an optimal network experience is paramount, given its direct impact on the seamless execution of AI algorithms, data transfer efficiency, and real-time decision-making. From high-speed data transfer to ultra-low latency connectivity, the quest for an impeccable network stands as the cornerstone of AI success. Only through the harnessing of cutting-edge technologies and the continual push of boundaries in network capabilities can we fully unlock the potential of AI in the digital age.

Network Bottlenecks in Large GPU Clusters

As per Amdahl's Law, the efficiency of a parallel system is determined by the performance of its serial communication. As the number of nodes increases in a parallel system, the proportion of communication also rises, intensifying its impact on overall system performance. In extensive model training tasks involving the computational power of hundreds or even thousands of GPUs, the multitude of server nodes and the requirement for inter-server communication establish network bandwidth as a bottleneck for GPU cluster systems. Notably, the prevalent use of Mixture-of-Experts (MoE) in large model architectures, characterized by sparse gate features and an All-to-All communication pattern, imposes exceptionally high demands on network performance with increasing cluster sizes. Recent industry optimization strategies for All-to-All communication have been centered on maximizing the utilization of the network's high bandwidth to minimize communication time and enhance the training speed of MoE models.

Advanced Networking Solutions for Artificial Intelligence

Stability Challenges in Large GPU Clusters

Once a GPU cluster attains a specific scale, ensuring the stability of the cluster system becomes an additional challenge to address, in addition to optimizing performance. The reliability of the network plays a pivotal role in determining the computational stability of the entire cluster. This is due to the following reasons:

  • Large Network Failure Domains: Unlike a single point of CPU failure, which impacts a small portion of the cluster's computing power, network failures can disrupt the connectivity of dozens or even more GPUs. A stable network is imperative to preserve the integrity of the system's computing power.

  • Significant Impact of Network Performance Fluctuations: In contrast to a single low-performance GPU or server that is relatively easy to isolate, the network is a shared resource for the entire cluster. Fluctuations in network performance can have a substantial impact on the utilization of all computing resources.

Addressing these considerations is essential for maintaining the robustness and consistent performance of large-scale GPU clusters.

Advanced Networking Solutions for Artificial Intelligence

Empowering High-Performance AI Training Networks

In the realm of large-scale model training, where computation iterations and gradient synchronization demand massive communication volumes, reaching hundreds of gigabytes for a single iteration is not uncommon. Moreover, the introduction of parallel modes and communication requirements by acceleration frameworks renders traditional low-speed networks inefficient for supporting the robust computation of GPU clusters. To fully harness the potent computing capabilities of GPUs, a high-performance network infrastructure is essential, providing super-bandwidth computing nodes equipped with high bandwidth, scalability, and low-latency communication capabilities to address the communication challenges inherent in AI training.

The NVIDIA InfiniBand (IB) network stands out by furnishing each computing node with ultra-high communication bandwidth, reaching up to 1.6Tbps. This represents over a tenfold improvement compared to conventional networks. Key features of the NVIDIA InfiniBand network include:

  • Non-blocking Fat-Tree Topology: Employing a non-blocking network topology ensures efficient transmission within the cluster, supporting a single cluster scale of up to 2K GPUs and providing cluster performance at the level of superEFLOPS (FP16).

  • Flexible Network Scalability: The network allows flexible expansion, supporting a maximum of 32K GPU computing clusters. This flexibility enables adjustments to the cluster size based on demand, accommodating large-scale model training at various scales.

  • High-Bandwidth Access: The computing node's network plane is equipped with eight ROCE network cards, facilitating ultra-high bandwidth access of 1.6Tbps. This high-bandwidth design facilitates swift data transmission between computing nodes, minimizing communication latency.

Utilizing the NVIDIA InfiniBand network enables the construction of computing nodes with ultra-high bandwidth, delivering robust communication performance to support AI training. Furthermore, FS offers top-notch InfiniBand switches, InfiniBand network cards, GPU servers, and high-speed products such as InfiniBand HDR AOC and DAC. These products align with the low-latency, high-bandwidth, and reliability requirements of AI high-performance network server clusters.


Looking ahead, with the continuous advancement of GPU computing power and the ongoing evolution of large-scale AI model training, the imperative task of constructing high-performance network infrastructure comes to the forefront. The architecture of GPU cluster networks must undergo continual iteration and enhancement to ensure the optimal utilization and availability of system computing power. It is only through relentless innovation and upgrades that we can address the escalating demands on networks and deliver unparalleled network performance and reliability.

In the era of AI, networks characterized by high bandwidth, low latency, and scalability are poised to become the standard. These attributes are essential for providing robust support for large-scale model training and facilitating real-time decision-making. As a leading provider of optical network solutions, our commitment is unwavering in delivering high-quality, high-performance network connectivity solutions tailored for AI server clusters. Our dedication extends to ongoing innovation, the construction of reliable high-performance network infrastructure, and the provision of stable and dependable foundations for the development and application of AI technology.

Let us collaboratively navigate the challenges of the AI era, working together to script a new chapter for an intelligent future.

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