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PFQ v6.2

Stability Gitter


PFQ is a functional framework designed for the Linux operating system built for efficient packets capture/transmission (10G, 40G and beyond), in-kernel functional processing, kernel-bypass and packets steering across groups of sockets/end-points.

It is highly optimized for multi-core architecture, as well as for network devices equipped with multiple hardware queues. Compliant with any NIC, it provides a script that generates accelerated network device drivers starting from the source code.

PFQ enables the development of high-performance network applications, and it is shipped with a custom version of libpcap that accelerate and parallelize legacy applications. Besides, a pure functional language designed for early stages in-kernel packet processing is included: pfq-lang.

Pfq-Lang is inspired by Haskell and is intended to define applications that run on top of network device drivers. Through pfq-lang it is possible to build efficient bridges, port mirrors, simple firewalls, network balancers and so forth.

The framework includes the source code of the PFQ kernel module, user-space libraries for C, C++11-14, Haskell language, an accelerated pcap library, an implementation of pfq-lang as eDSL for C++/Haskell, an experimental pfq-lang compiler and a set of diagnostic tools.


  • Data-path with full lock-free architecture.
  • Preallocated pools of socket buffers.
  • Compliant with a plethora of network devices drivers.
  • Rx and Tx line-rate on 10-Gbit links (14,8 Mpps), tested with Intel ixgbe vanilla drivers.
  • Transparent support of kernel threads for asynchronous packets transmission.
  • Transmission with active timestamping.
  • Groups of sockets which enable concurrent monitoring of multiple multi-threaded applications.
  • Per-group packet steering through randomized hashing or deterministic classification.
  • Per-group Berkeley and VLAN filters.
  • User-space libraries for C, C++11-14 and Haskell language.
  • Functional engine for in-kernel packet processing with pfq-lang.
  • pfq-lang eDLS for C++11-14 and Haskell language.
  • pfq-lang compiler used to parse and compile pfq-lang programs.
  • Accelerated pcap library for legacy applications (line-speed tested with captop).
  • I/O user<->kernel memory-mapped communications allocated on top of HugePages.
  • pfqd daemon used to configure and parallelize (pcap) legacy applications.
  • pfq-omatic script that automatically accelerates vanilla drivers.


  • "PFQ: a Novel Engine for Multi-Gigabit Packet Capturing With Multi-Core Commodity Hardware": Best-Paper-Award at PAM2012, paper avaiable from here
  • "A Purely Functional Approach to Packet Processing": ANCS 2014 Conference (October 2014, Marina del Rey)
  • "Network Traffic Processing with PFQ": JSAC-SI-MT/IEEE journal Special Issue on Measuring and Troubleshooting the Internet (March 2016)
  • "Enabling Packet Fan--Out in the libpcap Library for Parallel Traffic Processing": Network Traffic Measurement and Analysis Conference (TMA 2017)
  • "A Pipeline Functional Language for Stateful Packet Processing": IEEE International Workshop on NEtwork Accelerated FunctIOns (NEAF-IO '17)
  • "The Acceleration of OfSoftSwitch": IEEE Conference on Network Function Virtualization and Software Defined Networks (NFV-SDN '17)

Invited talks

  • "Functional Network Programming" at Tyrrhenian International Workshop on Digital Communication - (Sep. 2016)
  • "Software Accelerations for Network Applications" at NetV IRISA / Technicolor Workshop on Network Virtualization (Feb. 2017)


The PFQ kernel module is distributed with GPL license. User-space libraries and tools, instead, are distributed with a dual license scheme, so they are available either as GPL or with a Commercial License. For more information contact the author.


Nicola Bonelli

Contributors (in chronological order)

Andrea Di Pietro

Loris Gazzarrini

Gregorio Procissi

Giacomo Volpi

Luca Abeni



Andrey Korolyov


Paul Emmerich

Bach Le

Marian Jancar


Giuseppe Sucameli

Sergio Borghese

Fabio Del Vigna


PFQ home-page is