P4I/O: Intent-Based Networking with P4

M. Mohammad Riftadi, Fernando Kuipers

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
568 Downloads (Pure)


Switches that can be (re)programmed through the network programming language P4 are able to completely change – even while in the field – the way they process packets. While powerful, P4 code is inherently static, as it is written and installed to accommodate a particular network requirement. Writing new P4 code each time new requirements arise may be complex and limits our agility to deal with changes in network traffic and services.
In this paper, we present P4I/O, a new approach to data- plane programmability based on the philosophy of Intent-Based Networking. P4I/O provides an intent-driven interface that can be used to install and/or remove P4 programs on the switches when needed and which is easy to use. In particular, to realize P4I/O, we (1) describe an extensible Intent Definition Language (IDL), (2) create a repository of P4 code templates, which are parsed and merged based on the intents, (3) provide a technique to realize the resulting P4 program in a programmable switch, while accommodating intent modifications at any time, and finally (4) implement a proof-of-concept to demonstrate that intent modifications can be done on-the-fly.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2019 IEEE Conference on Network Softwarization
Subtitle of host publicationUnleashing the Power of Network Softwarization, NetSoft 2019
EditorsChristian Jacquenet, Filip De Turck, Prosper Chemouil, Flavio Esposito, Olivier Festor, Walter Cerroni, Stefano Secci
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-5386-9376-6
ISBN (Print)978-1-5386-9377-3
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Intent-based networking
  • P4
  • Self-driving networks


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