Writing Device Drivers

GLDv3 Data Paths

Data-path entry points are comprised of the following components:

Transmit Data Path

The GLDv3 framework uses the transmit entry point, mc_tx(9E), to pass a chain of message blocks to the driver. Provide a pointer to the mc_tx() entry point in your mac_callbacks structure. See GLDv3 MAC Registration Data Structures for more information about the mac_callbacks structure.

Example 19–6 The mc_tx() Entry Point

mblk_t *
xx_m_tx(void *arg, mblk_t *mp)
        xx_t    *xxp = arg;
        mblk_t   *nmp;


        if (xxp->xx_flags & XX_SUSPENDED) {
                while ((nmp = mp) != NULL) {
                        mp = mp->b_next;
                return (NULL);

        while (mp != NULL) {
                nmp = mp->b_next;
                mp->b_next = NULL;

                if (!xx_send(xxp, mp)) {
                        mp->b_next = nmp;
                mp = nmp;

        return (mp);

The following sections discuss topics related to transmitting data to the hardware.

Flow Control

If the driver cannot send the packets because of insufficient hardware resources, the driver returns the sub-chain of packets that could not be sent. When more descriptors become available at a later time, the driver must invoke mac_tx_update(9F) to notify the framework.

Hardware Checksumming: Hardware

If the driver specified hardware checksum support (see Hardware Checksum Offload), then the driver must do the following tasks:

Large Segment Offload

If the driver specified LSO capabilities (see Large Segment (or Send) Offload), then the driver must use mac_lso_get(9F) to query whether LSO must be performed on the packet.

Virtual LAN: Hardware

When the administrator configures VLANs, the MAC layer inserts the needed VLAN headers on the outbound packets before they are passed to the driver through the mc_tx() entry point.

Receive Data Path

Call the mac_rx(9F) function in your driver's interrupt handler to pass a chain of one or more packets up the stack to the MAC layer. Avoid holding mutex or other locks during the call to mac_rx(). In particular, do not hold locks that could be taken by a transmit thread during a call to mac_rx(). See mc_unicst(9E) for information about the packets that must be sent up to the MAC layer.

The following sections discuss topics related to sending data to the MAC layer.

Hardware Checksumming: MAC Layer

If the driver specified hardware checksum support (see Hardware Checksum Offload), then the driver must use the mac_hcksum_set(9F) function to associate hardware checksumming metadata with the packet.

Virtual LAN: MAC Layer

VLAN packets must be passed with their tags to the MAC layer. Do not strip the VLAN headers from the packets.