Linux 5.14 To Bring Intel IGC Driver Support For AF_XDP Zero-Copy

Written by Michael Larabel in Intel on 24 May 2021 at 08:26 PM EDT. 2 Comments
After Intel originally proposed zero-copy capability for the Linux kernel's AF_XDP high performance packet processing code years ago and implemented for their higher performance network hardware/drivers, with Linux 5.14 the common Intel "IGC" Gigabit Ethernet driver is set to introduce AF_XDP zero-copy support.

AF_XDP support is about allowing said sockets to receive RX packets without any extra copies and for applications to transmit packets without any extra copies necessary. Applications do not need to be modified but the underlying network driver needs to support zero-copy functionality.

Intel found this AF_XDP zero-copy support to greatly improve performance and initially was tailored to their i40e driver for high-end network adapters in the data center while with Linux 5.14 the support is coming to the IGC driver that is common for Intel Gigabit Ethernet adapters used by consumers.

AF_XDP zero-copy support for the Intel IGC Gigabit driver has been queued into net-next ahead of the Linux 5.14 merge window.

More information on AF_XDP is available from the kernel documentation. Embedded below is also a presentation on the driver process for adapting to AF_XDP zero-copy support from the Netdev conference last year in a presentation by NVIDIA engineer Maxim Mikityanskiy.

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