Based on kernel version 4.15. Page generated on 2018-01-29 10:00 EST.
1 Checksum Offloads in the Linux Networking Stack 2 3 4 Introduction 5 ============ 6 7 This document describes a set of techniques in the Linux networking stack 8 to take advantage of checksum offload capabilities of various NICs. 9 10 The following technologies are described: 11 * TX Checksum Offload 12 * LCO: Local Checksum Offload 13 * RCO: Remote Checksum Offload 14 15 Things that should be documented here but aren't yet: 16 * RX Checksum Offload 17 * CHECKSUM_UNNECESSARY conversion 18 19 20 TX Checksum Offload 21 =================== 22 23 The interface for offloading a transmit checksum to a device is explained 24 in detail in comments near the top of include/linux/skbuff.h. 25 In brief, it allows to request the device fill in a single ones-complement 26 checksum defined by the sk_buff fields skb->csum_start and 27 skb->csum_offset. The device should compute the 16-bit ones-complement 28 checksum (i.e. the 'IP-style' checksum) from csum_start to the end of the 29 packet, and fill in the result at (csum_start + csum_offset). 30 Because csum_offset cannot be negative, this ensures that the previous 31 value of the checksum field is included in the checksum computation, thus 32 it can be used to supply any needed corrections to the checksum (such as 33 the sum of the pseudo-header for UDP or TCP). 34 This interface only allows a single checksum to be offloaded. Where 35 encapsulation is used, the packet may have multiple checksum fields in 36 different header layers, and the rest will have to be handled by another 37 mechanism such as LCO or RCO. 38 CRC32c can also be offloaded using this interface, by means of filling 39 skb->csum_start and skb->csum_offset as described above, and setting 40 skb->csum_not_inet: see skbuff.h comment (section 'D') for more details. 41 No offloading of the IP header checksum is performed; it is always done in 42 software. This is OK because when we build the IP header, we obviously 43 have it in cache, so summing it isn't expensive. It's also rather short. 44 The requirements for GSO are more complicated, because when segmenting an 45 encapsulated packet both the inner and outer checksums may need to be 46 edited or recomputed for each resulting segment. See the skbuff.h comment 47 (section 'E') for more details. 48 49 A driver declares its offload capabilities in netdev->hw_features; see 50 Documentation/networking/netdev-features.txt for more. Note that a device 51 which only advertises NETIF_F_IP[V6]_CSUM must still obey the csum_start 52 and csum_offset given in the SKB; if it tries to deduce these itself in 53 hardware (as some NICs do) the driver should check that the values in the 54 SKB match those which the hardware will deduce, and if not, fall back to 55 checksumming in software instead (with skb_csum_hwoffload_help() or one of 56 the skb_checksum_help() / skb_crc32c_csum_help functions, as mentioned in 57 include/linux/skbuff.h). 58 59 The stack should, for the most part, assume that checksum offload is 60 supported by the underlying device. The only place that should check is 61 validate_xmit_skb(), and the functions it calls directly or indirectly. 62 That function compares the offload features requested by the SKB (which 63 may include other offloads besides TX Checksum Offload) and, if they are 64 not supported or enabled on the device (determined by netdev->features), 65 performs the corresponding offload in software. In the case of TX 66 Checksum Offload, that means calling skb_csum_hwoffload_help(skb, features). 67 68 69 LCO: Local Checksum Offload 70 =========================== 71 72 LCO is a technique for efficiently computing the outer checksum of an 73 encapsulated datagram when the inner checksum is due to be offloaded. 74 The ones-complement sum of a correctly checksummed TCP or UDP packet is 75 equal to the complement of the sum of the pseudo header, because everything 76 else gets 'cancelled out' by the checksum field. This is because the sum was 77 complemented before being written to the checksum field. 78 More generally, this holds in any case where the 'IP-style' ones complement 79 checksum is used, and thus any checksum that TX Checksum Offload supports. 80 That is, if we have set up TX Checksum Offload with a start/offset pair, we 81 know that after the device has filled in that checksum, the ones 82 complement sum from csum_start to the end of the packet will be equal to 83 the complement of whatever value we put in the checksum field beforehand. 84 This allows us to compute the outer checksum without looking at the payload: 85 we simply stop summing when we get to csum_start, then add the complement of 86 the 16-bit word at (csum_start + csum_offset). 87 Then, when the true inner checksum is filled in (either by hardware or by 88 skb_checksum_help()), the outer checksum will become correct by virtue of 89 the arithmetic. 90 91 LCO is performed by the stack when constructing an outer UDP header for an 92 encapsulation such as VXLAN or GENEVE, in udp_set_csum(). Similarly for 93 the IPv6 equivalents, in udp6_set_csum(). 94 It is also performed when constructing an IPv4 GRE header, in 95 net/ipv4/ip_gre.c:build_header(). It is *not* currently performed when 96 constructing an IPv6 GRE header; the GRE checksum is computed over the 97 whole packet in net/ipv6/ip6_gre.c:ip6gre_xmit2(), but it should be 98 possible to use LCO here as IPv6 GRE still uses an IP-style checksum. 99 All of the LCO implementations use a helper function lco_csum(), in 100 include/linux/skbuff.h. 101 102 LCO can safely be used for nested encapsulations; in this case, the outer 103 encapsulation layer will sum over both its own header and the 'middle' 104 header. This does mean that the 'middle' header will get summed multiple 105 times, but there doesn't seem to be a way to avoid that without incurring 106 bigger costs (e.g. in SKB bloat). 107 108 109 RCO: Remote Checksum Offload 110 ============================ 111 112 RCO is a technique for eliding the inner checksum of an encapsulated 113 datagram, allowing the outer checksum to be offloaded. It does, however, 114 involve a change to the encapsulation protocols, which the receiver must 115 also support. For this reason, it is disabled by default. 116 RCO is detailed in the following Internet-Drafts: 117 https://tools.ietf.org/html/draft-herbert-remotecsumoffload-00 118 https://tools.ietf.org/html/draft-herbert-vxlan-rco-00 119 In Linux, RCO is implemented individually in each encapsulation protocol, 120 and most tunnel types have flags controlling its use. For instance, VXLAN 121 has the flag VXLAN_F_REMCSUM_TX (per struct vxlan_rdst) to indicate that 122 RCO should be used when transmitting to a given remote destination.