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Netronome Flow Processor (NFP) Kernel Drivers

These drivers support Netronome's line of Flow Processor devices, including the NFP4000, NFP5000, and NFP6000 models, which are also incorporated in the company's family of Agilio SmartNICs.

The repository builds the nfp.ko module which can be used to expose networking devices (netdevs) and/or user space access to the device via a character device.

The VF driver for NFP4000, NFP5000, and NFP6000 is available in upstream Linux kernel since 4.5 release. The PF driver was added in Linux 4.11. This repository contains the same driver as upstream with necessary compatibility code to make the latest version of the code build for older kernels. We currently support kernels back to the 3.8 version, support for older versions can be added if necessary.

Compared to upstream drivers this repository contains:

  • non-PCI transport support to enable building the driver for the on-chip control processor;
  • support for netdev-based communication with the on-chip control processor;
  • optional low-level user space ABI for accessing card internals.

For more information, please visit: or Additional driver documentation is also available in tree at /Documentation/networking/device_drivers/netronome/nfp.rst from the Linux kernel 5.4 release.

If questions arise or an issue is identified related the released driver code, please contact either your local Netronome contact or email us on:

Building and Installing

Building and installing for the currently running kernel:

$ make
$ sudo make install

To clean up use the clean target:

$ make clean

To override the kernel version to build for set KVER:

$ make KVER=<version>
$ sudo make KVER=<version> install

The Makefile searches a number of standard locations for the configured kernel sources. To override the detected location, set KSRC:

$ make KSRC=<location of kernel build>

Additional targets:

Command Action
make noisy Verbose build with printing executed commands
make coccicheck Runs Coccinelle/coccicheck (reqires coccinelle)
make sparse Runs sparse, a tool for static code analysis
make nfp_net Build the driver limited to netdev operation

Acquiring Firmware

The NFP4000 and NFP6000 devices require application specific firmware to function. Application firmware can be located either on the host file system or in the device flash (if supported by management firmware).

Firmware files on the host filesystem contain card type (AMDA-* string), media config etc. They should be placed in /lib/firmware/netronome directory to load firmware from the host file system.

Firmware for basic NIC operation is available in the upstream linux-firmware.git repository, and if your distribution kernel is 4.11 or newer you will most likely have it on your system already. For more application specific firmware files please contact

Firmware in NVRAM

Recent versions of management firmware supports loading application firmware from flash when the host driver gets probed. The firmware loading policy configuration may be used to configure this feature appropriately.

Devlink or ethtool can be used to update the application firmware on the device flash by providing the appropriate nic_AMDA*.nffw file to the respective command. Users need to take care to write the correct firmware image for the card and media configuration to flash.

Available storage space in flash depends on the card being used.

Dealing with multiple projects

NFP hardware is fully programmable therefore there can be different firmware images targeting different applications.

When using application firmware from host, we recommend placing actual firmware files in application-named subdirectories in /lib/firmware/netronome and linking the desired files, e.g.:

$ tree /lib/firmware/netronome/
├── bpf
│   ├── nic_AMDA0081-0001_1x40.nffw
│   └── nic_AMDA0081-0001_4x10.nffw
├── flower
│   ├── nic_AMDA0081-0001_1x40.nffw
│   └── nic_AMDA0081-0001_4x10.nffw
├── nic
│   ├── nic_AMDA0081-0001_1x40.nffw
│   └── nic_AMDA0081-0001_4x10.nffw
├── nic_AMDA0081-0001_1x40.nffw -> bpf/nic_AMDA0081-0001_1x40.nffw
└── nic_AMDA0081-0001_4x10.nffw -> bpf/nic_AMDA0081-0001_4x10.nffw

3 directories, 8 files

You may need to use hard instead of symbolic links on distributions which use old mkinitrd command instead of dracut (e.g. Ubuntu).

After changing firmware files you may need to regenerate the initramfs image. Initramfs contains drivers and firmware files your system may need to boot. Refer to the documentation of your distribution to find out how to update initramfs. Good indication of stale initramfs is system loading wrong driver or firmware on boot, but when driver is later reloaded manually everything works correctly.

Selecting firmware per device

Most commonly all cards on the system use the same type of firmware. If you want to load specific firmware image for a specific card, you can use either the PCI bus address or serial number. Driver will print which files it's looking for when it recognizes a NFP device:

nfp: Looking for firmware file in order of priority:
nfp:  netronome/serial-00-12-34-aa-bb-cc-10-ff.nffw: not found
nfp:  netronome/pci-0000:02:00.0.nffw: not found
nfp:  netronome/nic_AMDA0081-0001_1x40.nffw: found, loading...

In this case if file (or link) called serial-00-12-34-aa-bb-5d-10-ff.nffw or pci-0000:02:00.0.nffw is present in /lib/firmware/netronome this firmware file will take precedence over nic_AMDA* files.

Note that serial-* and pci-* files are not automatically included in initramfs, you will have to refer to documentation of appropriate tools to find out how to include them.

TC Flower Usage

The nfp.ko module provides offload capabilities for several TC flower features (with flower firmware loaded). The list of features include:


  • Ingress Port.
  • MAC source and destination address.
  • VLAN tag control information.
  • IPv4 and 6 source and destination address.
  • Transport source and destination port.
  • VXLAN header fields.
  • MPLS header fields.


  • Push/Pop Vlan.
  • Drop.
  • Output to Port.
  • VXLAN Entunnel.
  • Set MAC source and destination address.
  • Set IPv4 and 6 source and destination address.
  • Set transport source and destination port.

Before configuring filters, it is vital to remember to set up a queueing discipline. A simple example making use of the ingress qdisc follows:

tc qdisc add dev <ifcname> handle ffff: ingress

Some filter examples follow: Match ipv4 type and output:

tc filter add dev <ifcname> parent ffff: protocol ip flower action mirred \
egress redirect dev <ifcname>

Match destination MAC address and drop:

tc filter add dev <ifcname> parent ffff: protocol ip flower dst_mac \
02:12:23:34:45:56 action drop

Match vlan id, pop vlan and output:

tc filter add dev <ifcname> parent ffff: protocol 802.1Q flower vlan_id 600 \
action vlan pop pipe mirred egress redirect dev <ifcname>

Match source IPv6 address, push vlan and output:

tc filter add dev <ifcname> parent ffff: protocol ipv6 flower src_ip 22::22 \
action vlan push id 250 pipe mirred egress redirect dev <ifcname>

Match destination IPv6 address, set source MAC address and output:

tc filter add dev <ifcname> parent ffff: protocol ipv6 flower dst_ip 11::11 \
action pedit ex munge eth src set 11:22:33:44:55:66 pipe mirred egress \
redirect dev <ifcname>

Match source IPv4 address, set source IPv4 address and output:

tc filter add dev <ifcname> parent ffff: protocol ip flower src_ip \ action pedit ex munge ip src set pipe mirred \
egress redirect dev <ifcname>

Match TCP type, set source TCP port and output:

tc filter add dev <ifcname> parent ffff: protocol ip flower ip_proto tcp \
action pedit ex munge tcp sport set 4282 pipe mirred egress redirect \
dev <ifcname>

Match UDP type, set destination UDP port and output:

tc filter add dev <ifcname> parent ffff: protocol ip flower ip_proto udp \
action pedit ex munge udp dport set 4000 pipe mirred egress redirect \
dev <ifcname>

Match VXLAN Key ID and Outer UDP destination port and output:

tc filter add dev <ifcname> parent ffff: protocol ip flower enc_dst_port \
4789 enc_dst_ip enc_key_id 123 action mirred egress redirect \
dev <ifcname>

Match TCP type, encapsulate in VXLAN and output:

tc filter add dev <ifcname> parent ffff: protocol ip flower ip_proto tcp \
action tunnel_key set id 123 src_ip dst_ip dst_port 4789 \
action mirred egress redirect dev vxlan0

Helpful tips: Dump filter, example:

tc -s filter show dev <ifcname> parent ffff:

Keep an eye on filters:

tc -s monitor

Remove filter, example:

tc filter del dev <ifcname> parent ffff:

Ask for help:

tc filter add flower help
tc actions help
tc qdisc help


If you're running the driver with user space access enabled you will be able to use all Netronome's proprietary nfp-* tools. This section only covers standard debugging interfaces based on kernel infrastructure and which are always available.

Probing output

Most basic set of information is printed when driver probes a device. These include versions of various hardware and firmware components.

Netdev information

ethtool -i <ifcname> provides user with basic set of application FW and flash FW versions. Note that driver version for driver built in-tree will be equal to the kernel version string and for out-of-tree driver it will either contain the git hash if build inside a git repository or contents of the .revision file. In both cases out of tree driver build will have (o-o-t) appended to distinguish from in-tree builds.


nfp_net directory contains information about queue state for all netdevs using the driver. It can be used to inspect contents of memory rings and position of driver and hardware pointers for RX, TX and XDP rings.

PCI BAR access

ethtool -d <ifcname> can be used to dump the PCI netdev memory.

NSP logs access

tools/ script can be used to dump the logs of the Service Processor. The script will read the log using standard ethtool APIs, however, if system is unable to initialize fully it can also use the Netronome vendor debug tools (if installed).

Control messages

Control messages which driver is exchanging with the FW on the card are sent to the devlink_hwmsg tracepoint. Note that trace_printk will only display first 64 bytes of the buffers. You can use the script from this repo to display the full messages, dump them to wireshark etc.:

Operation modes

The nfp.ko module provides drivers for both PFs and VFs. VFs can only be used as netdevs. In case of PF one can select whether to load the driver in netdev mode which will create networking interfaces or only expose low-level API to the user space and run health monitoring, diagnostics and control device from user space.

NOTE: if you're using Netronome-provided driver packages some of the defaults mentioned in this document may have been changed in the /etc/modprobe.d/netronome.conf file.

PF netdev mode

In this mode module provides a Linux network device interface on the NFP's physical function. It requires appropriate FW image to be either pre-loaded or available in /lib/firmware/netronome/ to work. This is the only mode of operation for the upstream driver.

Developers should use this mode if firmware is exposing vNICs on the PCI PF device.

By default (i.e. not make nfp_net build) low-level user space access ABIs of non-netdev mode will not be exposed, but can be re-enabled with appropriate module parameters (nfp_dev_cpp).

PF non-netdev mode

This mode is used by the out-of-tree Netronome SDN products for health monitoring, loading firmware, and diagnostics. It is enabled by setting nfp_pf_netdev module parameter to 0. Driver in this mode will not expose any netdevs of the PCI PF.

Developers should use this mode if firmware is only exposing vNICs on the PCI VF devices.

This mode provides a low-level user space interface into the NFP (/dev/nfp-cpp-X file), which is used by development and debugging tools. It does not require a NFP firmware be loaded at device probe time.

VF driver

The nfp.ko contains a driver used to provide NIC-style access to Virtual Functions of the device when operating in PCI SR-IOV mode.

For example, if a physical NFP6000 device was running Netronome SDN, and had assigned a rule matching 'all received' to VF 5, then the NFP6000's SR-IOV device #5 would use this driver to provide a NIC style interface to the flows that match that rule.

nfp6000 quirks

NFP4000/NFP5000/NFP6000 chips need a minor PCI quirk to avoid system crashing after particular type of PCI config space addresses from user space. If you're using the NFP on an old kernel you may see this message in the logs:

Error: this kernel does not have quirk_nfp6000
Please contact for more information

Suggested solution is to update your kernel. The fix is present in upstream Linux 4.5, but major distributions have backported it to older kernels, too. If updating the kernel is not an option and you are certain user space will not trigger the types of accesses which may fault - you can attempt using the ``ignore_quirks'" parameter although this is not guaranteed to work on systems requiring the fix.

Module parameters

NOTE: modinfo nfp.ko is the authoritative documentation, this is only presented here as a reference.

Parameter Default Comment
ignore_quirks false Ignore the check for NFP6000 PCI quirks
nfp_pf_netdev true PF driver in Netdev mode
nfp_fallback true In netdev mode stay bound even if netdevs failed
nfp_dev_cpp true Enable NFP CPP user space /dev interface
fw_load_required false Fail init if no suitable FW is present
nfp_net_vnic false vNIC net devices [1]
nfp_net_vnic_pollinterval 10 Polling interval for Rx/Tx queues (in ms)
nfp_net_vnic_debug false Enable debug printk messages
nfp_reset false Reset the NFP on init [2]
nfp_reset_on_exit false Reset the NFP on exit
hwinfo_debug false Enable to log hwinfo contents on load
hwinfo_wait 10 Wait N sec for board.state match, -1 = forever
nfp6000_explicit_bars 4 Number of explicit BARs. (range: 1..4)
nfp6000_debug false Enable debugging for the NFP6000 PCIe
nfp6000_firmware (none) NFP6000 firmware to load from /lib/firmware/


  1. The vNIC net device creates a pseudo-NIC for NFP ARM Linux systems.
  2. Reset on init will be performed anyway if firmware file is specified.


Drivers for Netronome Flow Processor devices, including the NFP4xxx and NFP6xxx models.




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