Revolutionizing InfiniBand Networking for HPC Clusters

Posted on May 15, 2024 by

High-performance computing (HPC) clusters require robust networking solutions to handle the immense data processing demands of scientific research, simulations, and data analysis. InfiniBand technology has emerged as a powerful solution, offering unparalleled high-speed networking capabilities. This article explores the potential of InfiniBand in unleashing the true power of HPC clusters and showcases the InfiniBand products provided by FS.

Understanding InfiniBand

One of the key aspects of InfiniBand is its diverse range of link rates at the physical layer. Each link consists of a four-wire serial differential connection (two wires in each direction).

Link rate

These link rates, such as Single Data Rate (SDR), Double Data Rate (DDR), Quad Data Rate (QDR), and more, offer varying levels of raw signal bandwidth and data bandwidth. Over time, the network bandwidth of InfiniBand has evolved significantly, introducing faster and more efficient link rates, including the latest Next Data Rate (NDR), which provides a staggering 100 Gb/s (400 Gb/s for 4X link rates). The following diagram illustrates the progression of InfiniBand's network bandwidth, with the speed based on 4X link rates.

progression of InfiniBand's network bandwidth

InfiniBand Network Topology-Fat Tree

InfiniBand networking utilizes a cost-intensive approach called Fat Tree topology for achieving lossless communication between compute nodes. This topology, depicted in the diagram below (squares represent switches and ellipses represent compute nodes.), comprises two layers: the core layer, dedicated to traffic forwarding, and the access layer, connecting compute nodes.

Fat Tree


Implementing a Fat Tree in InfiniBand networks incurs high costs. For instance, if a convergence switch has 36 ports, half of them (18 ports) must connect to compute nodes, while the remaining half connects to the core switches in the upper layer.

Unleashing the Power of InfiniBand in HPC Clusters

  • 1. Increased Bandwidth: InfiniBand provides higher bandwidth for faster data transfer, improving system performance and reducing processing times in HPC clusters.

  • 2. Reduced Latency: IB minimizes communication delays, enabling real-time interactions between nodes in time-sensitive applications.

  • 3. Enhanced Scalability: InfiniBand's scalability supports the expansion of HPC clusters to handle larger datasets and growing workloads, facilitating parallel processing and distributed computing.

  • 4. Improved Efficiency: IB optimizes data transfer and communication protocols, maximizing network resource utilization and enhancing overall system efficiency and application performance.

FS InfiniBand Products at a Glance

Below are the original IB products available from FS.

InfiniBand product

InfiniBand Cables and Modules

In InfiniBand networks, specialized cables are employed for different connection scenarios, distinguishing them from traditional Ethernet and optical fiber cables. These cables encompass Direct Attach Copper (DAC) cables, Active Optical Cables (AOC), and optical modules.

FS can provide InfiniBand cables and modules from 56G FDR speed to 800G NDR speed. You can place an order according to your equipment speed requirements. Please pay attention to whether the equipment is compatible.

InfiniBand Adapters

InfiniBand adapters are optimized for high-performance computing, providing low latency and high throughput for data center connectivity. It offers significantly higher throughput rates than Ethernet and connects a computer's PCI Express bus to the InfiniBand network, allowing it to communicate with other nodes within the InfiniBand fabric.

InfiniBand Switches

NVIDIA provides a range of powerful InfiniBand switches based on its knowledge and technological strength. These InfiniBand switches, which provide basic features like routing, forwarding, and data flow management, allow for efficient data transmission and communications.


InfiniBand's high-speed networking solution is revolutionizing the way HPC clusters operate. With its exceptional bandwidth and low latency, it empowers organizations to leverage the full capabilities of HPC, enabling faster processing, seamless data transfer, and improved overall performance. As HPC continues to reshape industries, InfiniBand stands at the forefront, driving innovation and transforming the landscape of high-performance networking for HPC clusters.

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