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Driver Stack

This document briefly describes Terragraph's driver stack.


The driver stack consists of the Terragraph driver and a wireless ("backhaul") driver. Terragraph implements its datapath using DPDK, a framework for fast packet processing in user space, along with its own implementation of a wil6210 Poll Mode Driver (PMD). These components are described below.

Kernel Modules

The Terragraph driver communicates with underlying hardware using a particular type of interface, and compiles into a corresponding kernel object file:

  • dhd: terragraph-dhd.ko using the BCM20130 API ("dongle host driver")
  • qwilvendor: terragraph-qca.ko using the wil6210 API

Similarly, there are several wireless drivers available:

  • wil6210.ko - Wilocity wil6210 kernel driver
  • bcmdhd.ko - Broadcom BCM20130 driver
  • dpdk-dhd.ko - DPDK driver (with wil6210 PMD, described below)

The kernel modules loaded for each Terragraph hardware type are listed below:

  • Rev5: terragraph-dhd.ko+bcmdhd.ko
  • Puma:terragraph-qca.ko+wil6210.ko (Linux kernel-based datapath) ORterragraph-dhd.ko+dpdk-dhd.ko (DPDK-based datapath)

Poll Mode Driver (PMD)

DPDK utilizes Poll Mode Drivers (PMD), which run in the user-space DPDK environment and continuously poll for data packets.

Terragraph has its own PMD implementation, wil6210, for the Talyn2 chip (wil6436) used by Puma. This is a partial port of the corresponding Linux kernel driver wil6210.ko, and only implements features that are strictly needed.

DPDK Applications

DPDK relies on user-space applications to link with its libraries and the wil6210 PMD. For production, Terragraph uses VPP (Vector Packet Processing framework). For more details, see VPP Implementation.

Other DPDK applications include:

  • Pktgen: Traffic generator
  • Testpmd: Reference application that forwards packets between Ethernet ports
  • wiltest: Test application that forwards packets from Linux terraX netdev interfaces to the appropriate wireless link and back

Code Structure

The sections below provide an overview of the driver stack's code structure.

Kernel Modules

The Terragraph driver sources are located in recipes-radio/wireless-mod/files/fb_terragraph/. These are installed as follows:

  • terragraph-qca.ko via recipes-radio/wireless-mod/
  • terragraph-dhd.ko via recipes-radio/wireless-mod/

The API between the Terragraph and wireless drivers is defined in the header file recipes-radio/wireless-mod/files/nl-driver-if-hdr/fb_tg_backhaul_if.h.

The wireless drivers are installed as follows:

  • wil6210.ko via meta-qca/recipes-radio/wigig-utils-oss/
  • bcmdhd.ko via recipes-radio/broadcom-dhd/

The dpdk-dhd.ko module sources are fetched with the PMD sources and are located the in the directory dpdk/modules/dpdk-dhd/. The module is installed along with the wil6210 PMD.

Poll Mode Driver (PMD)

The wil6210 PMD sources are fetched from the same upstream repository as the wil6210.ko kernel driver. PMD sources are in the directory dpdk/drivers/wil6210/ while kernel driver sources are in the directory wil6210/. PMD sources are compiled into librte_pmd_wil6210.a and installed via meta-qca/recipes-radio/wigig-dpdk/

The source files for the PMD are prefixed with wil6210_, many of which are modified copies of similarly-named files (without the prefix) in the original wil6210.ko Linux kernel driver. A compatibility layer, wil6210_compat.h, provides implementations for some Linux-specific APIs since the PMD runs in a non-Linux environment; this makes it possible to take the upstream kernel driver code with minimal changes.

A subdirectory, dpdk-dhd-ctrl/, contains code to send ioctl commands to /dev/dhd, and also to set up AF_PACKET queues and required machinery to exchange requests between kernel and user space.

DPDK Applications

The DPDK user-space applications are installed as follows:

  • VPP: Installed via meta-qoriq/recipes-extended/vpp/ For more details, see VPP Implementation.
  • Pktgen: Installed as dpdk-pktgen via meta-qca/recipes-extended/pktgen-dpdk/
  • Testpmd: Not installed by default; part of dpdk-utils (see meta-qoriq/recipes-extended/dpdk/
  • wiltest: Installed via meta-qca/recipes-radio/wigig-dpdk/ The sources are located in src/dpdk/examples/wil6210-test/.

DPDK Device Arguments

The wil6210 PMD exposes a set of DPDK device arguments (or "devargs") for configuration, defined in wil6210_pcidev.c. These are described in the table below. Note that flags are set/enabled with a value of 1 and unset/disabled with a value of 0.

crash-on-fw-err0*Flag to crash if a firmware error occurs. Note that this is enabled by default in the driver, but is disabled in Terragraph's VPP configuration.
fw-core-dump-path/var/volatile/cores/wil6210_fw_coreFile path prefix to write core dump to after a firmware crash. The PCI ID and date are appended to the provided path.
fw-log-level0Log level of both firmware and microcode logs (0: ERROR+WARN+INFO, 1: ERROR, 2: +WARN, 3: +INFO, 4: +VERBOSE).
fw-log-pathnullFile path to write logs to while device runs (enables PMD log polling thread).
fw-strings/data/firmware/wil6210/fw_image_trace_string_load.binFile path of firmware binary strings file to read logs.
mac-addressnullThe MAC address to be used by the device, overriding the MAC address read from OTP.
mtu-max1986Maximum MTU. The default value is computed as TXRX_BUF_LEN_DEFAULT (2048) - WIL_MAX_MPDU_OVERHEAD (62).
no-fw-recovery1*Flag to disable firmware recovery. Recovery is currently supported only in VPP, and not in other DPDK applications. Note that this is disabled by default in the driver (i.e. enabling recovery), but is enabled in Terragraph's VPP configuration (i.e. disabling recovery).
non-commercial-rf1*Flag to determine if non-commercial RF is attached to the device. Note that this is disabled by default in the driver, but is enabled in Terragraph's VPP configuration.
opaque-log0Flag to enable collection of opaque logs without binary strings file (requires fw-log-path/ucode-log-path).
p2mp-capable1Flag to enable sending a particular WMI command to firmware for P2MP-capable devices.
pcie-expected-gen0Expected PCIe gen value. If it is nonzero and does not match the value read from the device PCIe link status, the driver will retrain the PCIe link before rereading and sending PCIe information to firmware as usual.
pcie-expected-lanes0Expected PCIe lane count. If it is nonzero and does not match the value read from the device PCIe link status, the driver will retrain the PCIe link before rereading and sending PCIe information to firmware as usual.
pmc-ext-host1*Flag to enable firmware logging to go into the host buffer from the very beginning of firmware initialization. Otherwise the firmware will use device memory for logging initially until the host configures it to use the ring buffer in host memory. Ensures early boot logs are fully captured. Note that this is disabled by default in the driver, but is enabled in Terragraph's VPP configuration.
pmc-ext-ring-order10Determines the size of the ring in host memory used for recording logs (in 2^order units).
ucode-log-pathnullFile path to write microcode logs to while device runs (enables PMD log polling thread).
ucode-strings/data/firmware/wil6210/ucode_image_trace_string_load.binFile path of microcode binary strings file to read logs.

To manually set devargs when running VPP, add them under the VPP configuration option dpdk dev <pci_id> devargs in the VPP startup configuration file (/var/run/vpp/startup.conf). Multiple devargs can be provided as a comma-separated list. Example:

dpdk {
dev 0000:01:00.0 {
devargs fw-core-dump-path=/tmp/fw_dump.core,fw-strings=/data/fw_string.bin

When using other DPDK applications (e.g. pktgen, wiltest), devargs can be passed as part of the "PCI whitelist" (--pci-whitelist or -w) EAL argument, also in a comma-separated list. Example:

$ wiltest -w 0001:01:00.0,fw-log-path=/tmp/fw_logs,opaque-log=1

Initialization Procedure

The sections below summarize the driver stack initialization and shutdown processes using DPDK and the wil6210 PMD.


1. Load kernel modules

Initially, the terragraph-dhd.ko and dpdk-dhd.ko kernel modules are loaded:

$ modprobe terragraph-dhd && modprobe dpdk-dhd

dpdk-dhd.ko registers /dev/dhd, a miscellaneous device instance, during startup (in dhd_init()). It then waits for a user-space DPDK application to open /dev/dhd and issue ioctl commands (handled in dhd_ioctl()).

The pci_order module parameter can be used to specify indexing of PCI devices for bringing up dhdX and terraX devices (the first device gets dhd0, next dhd1, etc.). When no ordering is specified, naming follows PCI enumeration order. The parameter value should be comma-separated domain:bus:device.function PCI addresses passed as a string and include all PCI devices being used. For Puma, the default is:

$ modprobe dpdk-dhd pci_order="0000:01:00.0,0001:01:00.0,0002:03:00.0,0002:04:00.0"

2. Configure hugepages

DPDK requires hugepages for the large memory pool allocation used for packet buffers.

$ mkdir /mnt/hugepages
$ mount -t hugetlbfs none /mnt/hugepages

3. Bind wireless devices via dpdk-devbind

DPDK requires the wireless devices (i.e. baseband cards) to be made available in user space (and unbound from the Linux kernel), by binding them to either the VFIO or UIO kernel driver. The baseband cards are PCIe devices, so they are bound to the vfio-pci driver:

$ echo "vfio-pci" > "/sys/bus/pci/devices/<pci_id>/driver_override"
$ echo "<pci_id>" > "/sys/bus/pci/drivers/vfio-pci/bind"

The role of vfio-pci is to provide the necessary kernel support to drive the hardware from a user-space process safely and efficiently. Specifically, vfio-pci puts the device behind IOMMU (I/O Memory Management Unit) so that it cannot use DMA to access arbitrary physical memory, and provides ioctl commands to reflect interrupts from the kernel into the DPDK process. This is well abstracted by DPDK libraries.

4. Start the DPDK application

At this point, a DPDK application is started and loads the wil6210 PMD, which looks for all available Talyn PCI devices. The PMD defines the net_wil6210 PCI device in wil6210_pcidev.c, containing the PCI ID table along with probe/remove routines.

During the probe, the PMD invokes wil6210_dev_init() (resembling wil_pcie_probe() from the wil6210.ko kernel driver). Among other tasks, this loads the firmware, performs other low-level initialization, and invokes wil_register_slave() in wil6210_slave.c to expose the qwilvendor platform device. The PMD implements its own platform_device_* functions (declared in the Linux API compatibility layer, wil6210_compat.h) in wil6210_control.c to use on this qwilvendor device (instead of having it attached to terragraph-qca.ko).


Next, the PMD opens /dev/dhd and invokes the ioctl command DPDK_DHD_ATTACH (using dhd_attach() in dpdk-dhd-ctrl.c). In response, dpdk-dhd.ko creates a Linux network interface (dhd0, dhd1, dhd2, or dhd3) and returns this information back to user space. The PMD uses this information to set up AF_PACKET queues for the interface.


The PMD then invokes the ioctl command DPDK_DHD_START (using dhd_start() in dpdk-dhd-ctrl.c). In response, dpdk-dhd.ko registers the terragraph_bh platform device, which gets attached to terragraph-dhd.ko (via tg_bh_probe() in fb_tgd_terragraph_linux.c).

Upon attach, the Terragraph driver creates all of the terraX devices, and registers itself with the Netlink subsystem to handle Terragraph-specific requests targeting the backhaul device instance. The Terragraph driver also uses an API defined in fb_tg_backhaul_if.h to request services, and dpdk-dhd.ko converts these function calls into control request packets with codes DHD_CMDOP_REGISTER and DHD_CMDOP_IOCTL and sends them back to the DPDK application. The PMD spawns a separate thread to handle these control messages.

This concludes the startup process. The driver stack is ready to accept Netlink requests from driver-if.


The ioctl command DPDK_DHD_STOP undoes DPDK_DHD_START by unregistering the terragraph_bh platform device. This in turn causes terragraph-dhd.ko to detach from it, shutting down and destroying all terraX interfaces and deregistering from Netlink.

The last close() on the /dev/dhd file handle undoes DPDK_DHD_ATTACH (there is no special "detach" ioctl command).

MAC Address Assignment

When using the PMD, the default MAC address of each baseband card will be the MAC address read from its one-time-programmable (OTP) memory. This is a unique MAC address assigned during manufacturing. It is also possible to assign a different MAC address by passing in a value to the devarg mac-address when starting DPDK applications. To do this for VPP using the MAC address read from EEPROM, set the node configuration flag envParams.VPP_USE_EEPROM_MACS.

When using the Linux kernel driver, the default MAC address assigned to each baseband card is the MAC address read from EEPROM.

Example Message Path

The example below highlights the message path for a user-initiated command, e.g. from the r2d2 CLI or e2e_minion.

  1. driver-if receives a message and uses Netlink to send it to the kernel.
  2. The terragraph-dhd.ko Netlink handler receives the request, extracts the firmware parameter blob, and uses an ioctl command to send it to dpdk-dhd.ko.
  3. dpdk-dhd.ko wraps the request into a control packet and puts it on the AF_PACKET queue for the PMD.
  4. The PMD event handler thread wakes up, reads the packet data, and hands the DHD_CMDOP_IOCTL message to wil_sync_handler() in wil6210_control.c. This will invoke the ioctl method as implemented by the driver, which uses a WMI (Wireless Module Interface) control queue to hand the data to the firmware.
  5. Eventually, firmware responds with the results, and the reverse process occurs: the response is placed into the PMD's TX AF_PACKET queue, then dpdk-dhd.ko receives it and returns from the ioctl call, and finally terragraph-dhd.ko sends the associated response back to driver-if over Netlink.


The following sections outline how to obtain logs and crash dumps, specifically with QTI firmware (where applicable).

Driver Logs

Logs from the Terragraph driver can be found in syslog files (/var/log/kern.log) or via the dmesg command. Logging verbosity is controlled by the node configuration field envParams.FB_DRIVER_VERBOSE (see E_DBG_ENABLE_VALUE in fb_tgd_debug.h). This bitmask can be viewed and set dynamically with the following commands, respectively:

$ cat /sys/module/terragraph_{dhd,qca}/parameters/dbg_mask
$ echo 0x10001 > /sys/module/terragraph_{dhd,qca}/parameters/dbg_mask

Poll Mode Driver (PMD) Logs

Logs from the PMD are contained within the DPDK application logs. For example, when using VPP, the PMD logs captured by VPP are extracted from syslog and written to /var/log/vpp/vnet.log.

Firmware/Microcode Logs

There are several methods for collecting firmware and microcode logs:

  • host_manager_11ad - This service runs automatically and writes logs to /var/log/wil6210/ when the envParams.FW_LOGGING_ENABLED node configuration field is set. This is done through, which uses the shell_11ad CLI to configure the host_manager_11ad daemon. Logs are rotated and compressed, with retention set by the node configuration fields envParams.FW_LOGGING_FILE_COUNT and envParams.FW_LOGGING_FILESIZE_MB.
  • PMD thread - When using VPP, a separate log polling thread can be enabled in the PMD by passing the devargs fw-log-path and ucode-log-path for firmware and microcode logs, respectively.
  • wil_fw_trace - An alternative logging utility. To collect logs for all Talyn devices, use the script Example usage:
$ wil_fw_trace -d 0001:01:00.0 -s /data/firmware/wil6210/fw_image_trace_string_load.bin -v VERBOSE

When no strings file is present, logs can be collected in opaque/binary form instead, then decoded later using a matching strings file. To enable collection of opaque logs, either omit the strings parameter (-s) to wil_fw_trace, or pass the devarg opaque-log=1 (along with fw-log-path) when using the PMD log polling thread. Decode the opaque logs using the -O flag to wil_fw_trace:

$ wil_fw_trace -m /path/to/opaque_logs -s /data/firmware/wil6210/fw_image_trace_string_load.bin -O

Separate settings control the verbosity of QTI firmware logs and Facebook firmware logs (categorized as FW_3P):

  • QTI firmware verbosity is set statically using the "DefaultVerbosity" parameter in shell_11ad, or the --verbosity flag in wil_fw_trace. When using envParams.FW_LOGGING_ENABLED, the host_manager_11ad service sets the verbosity according to the node configuration field envParams.FW_LOG_VERBOSE.
  • Facebook firmware verbosity can be changed during runtime via the FW_SET_LOG_CONFIG command, e.g. using the CLI command tg2 minion fw_set_log_config.

Firmware Core Dumps

When using the PMD, core dumps are automatically written to /var/volatile/cores/wil6210_fw_core_<pci>_<date> after a firmware crash occurs. This path is configurable via the devarg fw-core-dump-path.

Firmware logs will automatically be read from the core dump, if possible, into the file <core-name>_trace.log. This uses the default strings file /data/firmware/wil6210/fw_image_trace_string_load.bin, which can be changed via the devarg fw-strings. Microcode logs cannot be read from the core dump. To manually read firmware logs from a core dump, use the following wil_fw_trace command:

$ wil_fw_trace -m /path/to/core -s /data/firmware/wil6210/fw_image_trace_string_load.bin -o 0x1a01c0 -l 2

When using the kernel driver, firmware core dumps must be manually generated by running the script after a firmware crash is observed.

Kernel Crashes

Terragraph handles kernel crashes (panics) by saving the kernel message log (dmesg) to log files and rebooting. The logs are saved under /data/kernel_crashes/vmcore.<date> (configured via meta-qoriq/recipes-kernel/kexec/files/kdump.conf).

This works using kexec/kdump as follows. As part of a normal startup sequence, the /etc/init.d/kdump script is executed. It registers a dump kernel (also called crashkernel, located at /boot/Image-<version>-kdump) with the running (original/regular) kernel to be executed in case of a crash. When a crash happens, the original kernel executes the registered crashkernel using kexec, without rebooting, which means that the memory contents of the original kernel remains available to the crashkernel. The crashkernel runs a regular userspace, including the /etc/init.d/kdump script. The script notices that it's running as part of a crashkernel (by the presence of a /proc/vmcore file), gets the original kernel messages (dmesg) from memory, saves them to /data/kernel_crashes and reboots. This time, it's a regular reboot that goes through the boot loader (rather than kexec), and loads the original kernel as usual.


  • DPDK - Data Plane Development Kit
  • VPP - Vector Packet Processing
  • Pktgen - DPDK Packet Generator
  • Testpmd - DPDK Testpmd Application
  • hugepages - Linux hugetlbpage support
  • VFIO - Virtual Function I/O
  • UIO - Userspace I/O