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Intel® Introduces the P4 Suite for FPGA

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Intel® recently introduced plans to support FPGAs with an impressive 200 Gbps and higher data rates through its Intel P4 Suite for FPGA. This development opens the door for various networking applications such as virtual cell site routers (vCSR). 

Intel P4 Suite for FPGA is a high-level design tool that has the potential to revolutionize the networking industry. It automates the generation of packet-processing RTL IP from a P4 description and includes a software API that controls the P4-generated RTL during runtime. This innovative tool allows you to implement your P4 architecture with the versatility of an FPGA, forever changing the interaction between networking hardware and software. 

The key features of Intel P4 Suite for FPGA include simplified hardware abstraction, customization capabilities, and cost reduction with Intel FPGAs. The suite offers full support for custom architectures enabling the RTL IP to easily integrate with arbitrary RTL blocks. This enhances the flexibility and customization of the tool, allowing for optimized performance and cost efficiency. 

Software developers have a novel opportunity to leverage the Intel P4 Suite for FPGA. Using this tool, they can abstract away the complexities of low-level hardware programming and focus on the packet processing logic. This results in many benefits, including protocol independence, rapid development, customizable networking functions, and cross-platform portability, all implemented with the efficiency of an FPGA. 

For hardware developers, the Intel P4 Suite for FPGA offers an intuitive method to generate RTL IP for complex network protocols. This powerful tool directly translates the industry-standard P4 domain-specific programming language for network devices into RTL IP. The added support for P4 custom architectures allows hardware developers to create optimized network platforms swiftly. 

Intel P4 Suite for FPGA is a comprehensive tool that offers a wide range of functionalities in different areas of digital networking. 

  • The suite supports edge gateways with custom protocols, low latency, advanced security, and resource efficiency, ideal for Industrial IoT, Smart Cities, Healthcare, Retail, and Smart Homes. 
  • It excels in dynamic traffic management, customizable data processing, and traffic consolidation, optimizing applications like Data Center Aggregation, Telecommunications, Large Enterprise Networks, Cloud Services, and IoT Networks. Its scalability and cost-effectiveness add value. 
  • For network security, it allows customized policies, dynamic threat detection, and improved performance, creating adaptable and efficient security measures. It benefits Firewalls, IDS/IPS, VPNs, DLP, Network Segmentation, and SASE. 

In networking design, the Intel P4 Suite for FPGA is a game-changer, particularly in the design of edge gateways, aggregation platforms, UPF gateways, and network security applications. Its adaptability, performance, functionality, and cost-effectiveness offer advantages that keep pace with the growing complexity and constantly evolving threat landscape of digital networks. 

Learn more here for more comprehensive information about the Intel® P4 Suite for FPGA. 

About the Author
Duncan Mackay is the Product Manager for the Intel High-Level Design tools including Intel oneAPI, DSP Builder and HLS Compiler. He has over 25 years’ experience supporting customers with High-Level Synthesis (HLS) design tools and has evangelized HLS throughout his career by authoring comprehensive HLS training, documentation and examples. He was a leading contributor and manager at three successful HLS start-ups: Calypto, AutoESL and Silexica. Duncan is currently focused on the dual goals of making Intel oneAPI the highest quality RTL and the easiest-to-use HLS tool in the industry. He graduated from University of West of Scotland with a master’s degree in Electrical and Electronic engineering.