BittWare announces SmartNIC shell for building FPGA-powered 100G NICs

March 23, 2018


BittWare announces SmartNIC shell for building FPGA-powered 100G NICs

Building a 100G network interface (NIC) using an FPGA is easier by starting with SmartNIC Shell from BittWare.

March 22, 2018 09:39 AM Eastern Daylight Time

CONCORD, N.H.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--BittWare today announced SmartNIC Shell, a suite of IP modules for building 100G network interface controllers (NICs) using FPGAs for hardware packet processing. Users can fully customize Shell components, including a Match/Action pipeline with features including Xilinx SDNet support and the P4 network programming language. For host application interaction the Arkville DPDK IP is integrated for kernel bypass. SmartNIC Shell allows teams to avoid the time-consuming process of building core NIC functions into an FPGA, allowing them to focus resources on their own application.

Building 100G #FPGA NICs (w/ @DPDKProject and @XilinxInc SDNet support) just got easier with SmartNIC Shell by @BittWareInc

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“We built the SmartNIC Shell because we noticed that many of our customers spend half their development time creating a networking shell,” said Craig Lund, Vice-President Network Products, BittWare. “All of that development time should be going into their own product’s unique value instead.”

The SmartNIC Shell is targeted at low-profile and standard-height BittWare boards using Xilinx UltraScale+ FPGAs. The initial release provides 1x 100GbE and DPDK host interaction through the PCIe Gen3 x16 interface. DPDK kernel bypass utilizes the Arkville IP core and provides dropless data transfer though an UltraRAM FIFO buffer on the FPGA. Precision timestamping is also provided including 1588-compatible clock adjustments using TimeServo IP.

Unique to SmartNIC shell is the Match/Action pipeline. This area has several built-in functions and users can build their own. Packets are labelled in metadata in the Match blocks, and then Actions are applied based on those labels. Included functions are a DPDK-compatible L2 match for ultra-low latency pattern matching and the Xilinx SDNet environment with support for the P4 network programming language.

With the rapid growth in demand for high-bandwidth networking, more FPGA solutions will be required for applications like cyber security and 5G. BittWare’s new SmartNIC Shell offers teams creating solutions for these applications a new alternative to creating their own network stack, allowing them to better focus their resources and get to market faster.

SmartNIC Product page:

BittWare boards with Xilinx FPGAs:



Marcus Weddle, 603-226-0404 x541

[email protected]