How can we compare a router's performance from different vendors?
Vendors benchmark their own equipment, but generally their goal is to guide you within their own product lines. Getting the information you need to compare across vendors can be a bit challenging.
IETF has a Benchmarking Methodology Working Group (BMWG) among the goals of this group is overcoming a phenomenon they call "specsmaship" engaged in by vendors in the network marketplace. RFC 2544 describes the benchmarking methodology that vendors should use so that apples-to-apples comparisons can be made by technology buyers. RFC 2544 and an IPv6 supplement provide guidance about how to evaluate routers.
Reviewing vendor-provided benchmarks that reference RFCs can give you the common ground you need to compare performance side-by-side. Some independent testing labs publish information that does the side-by-side comparisons for you.
This was first published in November 2007