21. SNOW 3G Crypto Poll Mode Driver

The SNOW3G PMD (librte_crypto_snow3g) provides poll mode crypto driver support for utilizing Intel IPSec Multi-buffer library which implements F8 and F8 functions for SNOW 3G UEA2 cipher and UIA2 hash algorithms.

21.1. Features

SNOW 3G PMD has support for:

Cipher algorithm:


Authentication algorithm:



The latest v1.3 add ARM64 port of ipsec-mb library support ARM platform.

21.2. Limitations

  • Chained mbufs are not supported.
  • SNOW 3G (UIA2) supported only if hash offset field is byte-aligned.
  • In-place bit-level operations for SNOW 3G (UEA2) are not supported (if length and/or offset of data to be ciphered is not byte-aligned).


AESNI MB PMD also supports SNOW3G cipher and authentication algorithms. It is recommended to use the AESNI MB PMD, which offers better performance on Intel processors. Take a look at the PMD documentation (AES-NI Multi Buffer Crypto Poll Mode Driver) for more information.

21.4. Installation

To build DPDK with the SNOW3G_PMD the user is required to download the multi-buffer library and compile it on their user system before building DPDK.

For x86 system, the multi-buffer library is available here. The latest version of the library supported by this PMD is v1.5, which can be downloaded from https://github.com/01org/intel-ipsec-mb/archive/v1.5.zip.

For Arm system, ARM64 port of the multi-buffer library can be downloaded from https://gitlab.arm.com/arm-reference-solutions/ipsec-mb/-/tree/main/. The latest version of the library supported by this PMD is tagged as SECLIB-IPSEC-2024.03.12.

After downloading the library, the user needs to unpack and compile it on their system before building DPDK:

make install

The library requires NASM to be built on x86. Depending on the library version, it might require a minimum NASM version (e.g. v0.54 requires at least NASM 2.14).

NASM is packaged for different OS. However, on some OS the version is too old, so a manual installation is required. In that case, NASM can be downloaded from NASM website. Once it is downloaded, extract it and follow these steps:

make install

As a reference, the following table shows a mapping between the past DPDK versions and the external crypto libraries supported by them:

Table 21.1 DPDK and external crypto library version compatibility
DPDK version Crypto library version
20.02 - 21.08 Multi-buffer library 0.53 - 1.3
21.11+ Multi-buffer library 1.0 - 1.5

21.5. Initialization

In order to enable this virtual crypto PMD, user must:

  • Build the multi buffer library (explained in Installation section).

To use the PMD in an application, user must:

  • Call rte_vdev_init(“crypto_snow3g”) within the application.
  • Use –vdev=”crypto_snow3g” in the EAL options, which will call rte_vdev_init() internally.

The following parameters (all optional) can be provided in the previous two calls:

  • socket_id: Specify the socket where the memory for the device is going to be allocated (by default, socket_id will be the socket where the core that is creating the PMD is running on).
  • max_nb_queue_pairs: Specify the maximum number of queue pairs in the device (8 by default).
  • max_nb_sessions: Specify the maximum number of sessions that can be created (2048 by default).


./dpdk-l2fwd-crypto -l 1 -n 4 --vdev="crypto_snow3g,socket_id=0,max_nb_sessions=128" \
-- -p 1 --cdev SW --chain CIPHER_ONLY --cipher_algo "snow3g-uea2"