The Driver Software

Software Architecture

Intel® PAC
Napatech SmartNIC
Overview Document


Napatech Link™ Software is a software platform, which can scale to new hardware platforms.

Furthermore, the driver software can scale to new features introduced in the SmartNIC hardware as well as in the driver itself – or in a combination of hardware and software to solve more complicated user scenarios.

Major key points of Napatech Link™ Software are ease of use, high performance, low CPU utilization and scalable design.


This drawing illustrates the architecture of the driver software by showing the various parts.

Architecture showing hardware, kernel space, and user space levels


ntservice is the module where most of the functionality is placed and the module that communicates with the SmartNICs.

NT Driver

NT Driver is the kernel space driver, which has a limited functionality. It is used for:

  • ISR handling
  • PCI bar mmap
  • Host buffer allocation/mmap
  • Events/locks
  • NUMA abstraction

NT Driver is GPL-compliant and therefore open source.


LibNTOS is the OS abstraction layer that makes it possible for the driver software to support multiple operating systems based on the same code base.


LibNTAPI is the library for NTAPI, which is the user API (see NTAPI) and the link to the applications.