Intel Tofino IFP Family Overview

Intel® Tofino™ Intelligent Fabric Processors

Accelerated data growth and the rise of demanding distributed workloads bring tough challenges to service providers, telcos, and enterprises. Intel Tofino IFPs aim to solve this challenge with intelligence, programmability, high performance, and real-time telemetry for visibility and manageability. P4-programmable packet processing enhances Ethernet switching for edge and cloud data centers, high-performance computing (HPC), and communications service providers.

Protocol-Independent Switch Architecture (PISA)

Intel Tofino brings unique capabilities beyond any fixed-function Ethernet switch ASICs.

Without hard-backed forwarding logic in the silicon, protocols can be adjusted in software and compiled to the switch.


Intel Tofino also brings unmatched network visibility with its telemetry features, giving unprecedented access to monitor and track each packet in the pipeline.

Data-Plane Programmability allows coding middlebox functions in the P4 logic plane, enhancing regular switching and routing.

Intel Tofino 2 IFP expands this with an improved Traffic Manager. It can service advanced use cases such as congestion-aware routing.
It also offers more resources to generate packet lookup tables at a vast scale and export Ethernet switch metadata to other admin tools.

Intel Tofino 2 Traffic Manager

Tofino and Tofino 2 IFP capabilities comparison

Breakthrough performance and solid resource allocation of Intel Tofino get a serious boost in the second generation Intel Tofino 2 IFP.



Tofino 2 IFP

Max Throughput

Up to 6.4Tbps

Up to 12.8Tbps

Match Action Pipelines



TCAM pre pipe

6.2 Mb

10.3 Mb

MAU Stages per Pipe


Up to 20

Packet Buffer




260 x 25Gbps SerDes, 10/25G NRZ

256x 56Gbps, 10/25G NRZ, 50G PAM4

Ethernet Port Speed

Optimized for 100GE/50GE/40GE/25GE

Optimized for 400/200/100/50 GbE

Intel P4 Studio SDE

The Intel Tofino IFP family’s marvelous capabilities require proper software support to develop, debug, and optimize P4 applications.

Intel P4 Studio is a complete set, from a P4 compiler to a packet test framework, that enables your software development for Intel® Tofino™ Programmable Ethernet Switches.

Intel P4 studio tools

Main features:

  • Low-level APIs for full customization of the Intel® Tofino™ silicon
  • High-level APIs for faster startup of new solutions
  • Development debug tools including Intel® P4 Insight
  • Chip simulation model for development even without hardware access
  • Reference implementations to reduce time to market

Intel®P4 Studio Components

  • P4 simulation (ASIC model)
  • P4 compilation
  • Testing (Packet Test Framework)
  • Resource visualization (P4 Insight)
  • Runtime control plane driver (BFRT)
  • ASIC driver APIs

The reference P4 data plane program, switch.p4, helps faster development of transformative networking solutions and data plane customization to get optimized results.

Its capabilities are quite potent:

  • L3 routing – IPv4/IPv6 support, BGP, OSPFv2, IS-IS, ECMP, VRF, EVPN/VxLAN, BFD
  • L2 switching – LAG, LLDP, VLAN, VLAN Trunk, STP, FBD (MAC Aging/Learning), Storm Control
  • Load balancing – ECMP, LAG, resilient hashing
  • Tunneling – VXLAN, NVGRE, GENEVE, GRE, IP-in-IP, SRv6
  • ACL – MAC/IPv4/IPv6/QoS/System ACL
  • QoS – ECN, WRED, RoCEv2, COS, DSCP, PFC, Asym PFC, Egress shaping
  • Security features – COPP, IP source guard, AAA
  • Mirroring – ingress/egress mirror, ingress/egress mirror meter
  • Counters – route table entry counters, VLAN/Bridge domain counter, Port/Interface counters
  • Operation, Administration, and Management (OAM) – IEEE 802.1ag
  • Multi-chip fabric support
  • Telemetry – DTEL, Dataplane Telemetry
  • Miscellaneous – MLAG, Q-in-Q, PTP, sFlow

It also supports the Switch Abstraction Interface (SAI) API for easy integration with open-source NOS, such as SONiC.

Intel® P4 Insight

The Intel P4 Studio SDE includes a trial license of Intel P4 Insight. This powerful tool gives you unprecedented visibility into your P4 code for fast debugging and robust optimization.

Highlighted Features of Intel® P4 Insight

  • Interactive GUI dashboard view of your software
  • Easy-to-read resource allocation reports
  • Detailed resource mapping for better optimization
  • Powerful diff tools for comparing different P4 programs
  • Dynamically search for tables and other components

Intel® P4 Insight delivers a more streamlined and simplified path to debug and optimize software written in the open-source P4 network programming language. You can analyze the performance of your code in the tool’s interactive, web-based GUI.
Now it’s possible to dynamically search for specific tables, actions, and other components and quickly examine and modify their mapping to the Intel® Tofino™ resources. You can also easily compare versions of your P4 programs to see how your changes affected their performance.


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