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Date:   Wed, 14 Aug 2019 10:31:38 +0200
From:   Antoine Tenart <>
To:     Igor Russkikh <>
Cc:     Andrew Lunn <>,
        Antoine Tenart <>,
        "" <>,
        "" <>,
        "" <>,
        "" <>,
        "" <>,
        "" <>,
        "" <>,
        "" <>,
        "" <>,
        "" <>,
        Simon Edelhaus <>,
        Pavel Belous <>
Subject: Re: [PATCH net-next v2 6/9] net: macsec: hardware offloading

Hi Igor,

On Tue, Aug 13, 2019 at 04:18:40PM +0000, Igor Russkikh wrote:
> On 13.08.2019 16:17, Andrew Lunn wrote:
> > On Tue, Aug 13, 2019 at 10:58:17AM +0200, Antoine Tenart wrote:
> >> I think this question is linked to the use of a MACsec virtual interface
> >> when using h/w offloading. The starting point for me was that I wanted
> >> to reuse the data structures and the API exposed to the userspace by the
> >> s/w implementation of MACsec. I then had two choices: keeping the exact
> >> same interface for the user (having a virtual MACsec interface), or
> >> registering the MACsec genl ops onto the real net devices (and making
> >> the s/w implementation a virtual net dev and a provider of the MACsec
> >> "offloading" ops).
> >>
> >> The advantages of the first option were that nearly all the logic of the
> >> s/w implementation could be kept and especially that it would be
> >> transparent for the user to use both implementations of MACsec.
> > 
> > We have always talked about offloading operations to the hardware,
> > accelerating what the linux stack can do by making use of hardware
> > accelerators. The basic user API should not change because of
> > acceleration. Those are the general guidelines.
> > 
> > It would however be interesting to get comments from those who did the
> > software implementation and what they think of this architecture. I've
> > no personal experience with MACSec, so it is hard for me to say if the
> > current architecture makes sense when using accelerators.
> In terms of overall concepts, I'd add the following:
> 1) With current implementation it's impossible to install SW macsec engine onto
> the device which supports HW offload. That could be a strong limitation in
> cases when user sees HW macsec offload is broken or work differently, and he/she
> wants to replace it with SW one.
> MACSec is a complex feature, and it may happen something is missing in HW.
> Trivial example is 256bit encryption, which is not always a musthave in HW
> implementations.

Agreed. I'm not sure it would be possible to have both used at the same
time but there should be a way to switch between the two
implementations. That is not supported for now, but I think that would
be a good thing, and can probably come later on.

> 2) I think, Antoine, its not totally true that otherwise the user macsec API
> will be broken/changed. netlink api is the same, the only thing we may want to
> add is an optional parameter to force selection of SW macsec engine.

I meant that we can either have a virtual net device representing the
MACsec feature and being the iface used to configure it, or we could
have it only when s/w MACsec is used. That to me is part of the "API",
or at least part of what's exposed to the user.

> I'm also eager to hear from sw macsec users/devs on whats better here.

I'd like more comments as well :)


Antoine Ténart, Bootlin
Embedded Linux and Kernel engineering

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