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Brigade Mailing List:


P4 is not a protocol or device API for runtime control or configuration, i.e. once a P4 program is deployed to a device, P4 doesn’t tell us how that device can be controlled, for example, to add or remove entries in match+action tables, or to read the value of a counter. How can ONOS control a P4-enabled device? P4Runtime is an effort in the P4 community to create a standard control-plane API portable across targets, they propose a gRPC-based APIs (p4runtime.proto). The brigade will focus on P4Runtime as a southbound control protocol, however, different devices supporting P4 might expose different APIs. Similarly to how ONOS today deals with different flavors of OpenFlow, heterogeneity of control protocol/APIs should be is abstracted from applications.


The scope of this brigade is to make ONOS aware of this new dimension of programmability, in which support for new forwarding/processing capabilities can be added by writing and deploying P4 programs.

Short-term focus



  • Southbound support for P4RuntimeMinimal amendments to P4 Runtime DONE - Available starting from ONOS 1.11
  • Enable support for existing applications with any P4 program (via manual ONOS-to-P4 mapping) DONE - Available starting from ONOS 1.11
  • Extend northbound APIs to support protocol-independence (e.g . support for non-standard match/actions in flow rules) DONE - Available starting from ONOS 1.11
  • Switch configuration via OpenConfig over gNMI

  • New use cases:

Long-term focus:
  • Rethink northbound APIs to capture P4 enhanced capabilities, e.g. more visibility (via inband network telemetry) and stateful processing.enhanced capabilities of programmable data planes
  • Services to support incremental reprogramming, i.e. deploy a new P4 program to devices while traffic in flowing.
  • Possibility to optimize

    Optimize existing P4 programs or auto-generate new ones based on application needs and traffic workload.

Learn more:

Here are some pointers lo learn more about the work of this brigade and current support for P4 in ONOS:

How to get involved:

Support for P4 will affect the whole ONOS platform, from the southbound to the northbound. The P4 brigade is looking for members willing to contribute! Subscribe to the P4 mailing list and introduce yourself or contact Carmelo Cascone ( or David Boswell ( if you are interested.