This is a special blog series called "RARE hardware platform". As its name implies it deals with certified and tested platform on which RARE/freeRouter can run out of the box.


  • Basic Linux/Unix knowledge
  • Service provider networking knowledge


We will deal with a series of article related to APS Networks® BF2556X-1T P4 switch. The key highlight of this box is: 

  • It is a P4 TOFINO NPU based switch
  • TOFINO version has 2 cores (i.e. 2 pipes) and can manage up to 2 Tbps
  • It offers multiple connection types and rates:
    • 48x25GSFP28 and 8x100GQSFP28
      • SFP28 port [1 - 16] can configure into 1G/10G/25G
      • SFP28 port [17 - 48] can configure into 10G/25G
      • QSFP28 port [49 - 56] Each QSFP28 port can configure into 1x100G,2x50G,4x25G, 1x40G or 4x10G Mode.
  • SyncE and 1588 support

Article objective

In this article, we will just do a basic introduction of the BF2556X-1T

[ #001 ] - BF2556X-1T in a nutshell


What's in the box

Included items

Quick Installation guide

Front panel

Back panel

APS Networks® BF2556X-1T Racked

APS Networks® BF2556X-1T alongside to his P4 brothers: Edgecore WEDGE100BF32X

BF2556X-1T specification

The system uses Barefoot BFN-T10-032D-020 (Tofino 2.0T) Switch Chip which can support 20 x 100GE ports.

Major features are:

  • 2.0 Tbps bandwidth
  • One Barefoot BFN-T10-032D-020(Tofino 2.0T) Switch ASIC
    • Ethernet support 80x25G SERDES ports
    • Management SERDES support four ports 10G-KR
    • PCIe Gen3 x 4lanes
  • Eight Marvell 98PX1024
    • Single chip support 4x25G SERDES
  • Network Interface
    • 48x25G SFP28 and 8x100G QSFP28
    • SFP28 port 1~16 can configure into1G/10G/25G.
    • SFP28 port17~48 can configure into 10G/25G.
    • Each QSFP28 port can configure into 1x100G,2x50G,4x25G, 1x40G or 4x10G Mode.
  • CPU Module: Optional Module design for flexibility
    • Intel® Xeon® Processors D1527 (BDXDE)
  • BMC: Base Board Management Controller
    • BMC is a specialized service processor that monitors the physical state of a system.
    • ASPEED AST2520
  • Management Port:
    • 3xRJ45 10/100/1000Mbps OOBM(Out Of Band Management) port
    • 1xConsoleRJ45
    • 1xUSB3.0
  • FAN Tray:
    • Four 40mmx56mm Fan-tray
    • Supporting 3+1 redundancy
    • Support front to back and back to front air direction.
  • PSU:
    • 1+1 redundant PSU
    • Each PSU will be supporting 850W power to system.
    • 12V standby power for system management chips.
    • Support DC power supply
CPU specification
Architecture:        x86_64                                                         
CPU op-mode(s):      32-bit, 64-bit                                                 
Byte Order:          Little Endian                                                  
CPU(s):              16                                                             
On-line CPU(s) list: 0-15                                                           
Thread(s) per core:  2                                                              
Core(s) per socket:  8                                                              
Socket(s):           1                                                              
NUMA node(s):        1                                                              
Vendor ID:           GenuineIntel                                                   
CPU family:          6                                                              
Model:               86                                                             
Model name:          Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU D-1548 @ 2.00GHz                          
Stepping:            3                                                              
CPU MHz:             799.832                                                        
CPU max MHz:         2600.0000                                                      
CPU min MHz:         800.0000                                                       
BogoMIPS:            4000.16                                                        
Virtualization:      VT-x                                                           
L1d cache:           32K                                                            
L1i cache:           32K                                                            
L2 cache:            256K                                                           
L3 cache:            12288K                                                         
NUMA node0 CPU(s):   0-15                                                           
Flags:               fpu vme de pse tsc msr pae mce cx8 apic sep mtrr pge mca cmov pat pse36 clflush dts acpi mmx fxsr sse sse2 ss ht tm pbe syscall nx pdpe1gb rdtscp lm constant_tsc arch_perfmon pebs bts rep_good nopl xtopology nonstop_tsc cpuid aperf mperf pni pclmulqdq dtes64 monitor ds_cpl vmx smx est tm2 ssse3 sdbg fma cx16 xtpr pdcm pcid dca sse4_1 sse4_2 x2apic movbe popcnt tsc_deadline_timer aes xsave avx f16c rdrand lahf_lm abm 3dnowprefetch cpuid_fault epb cat_l3 cdp_l3 invpcid_single pti intel_ppin ssbd ibrs ibpb stibp tpr_shadow vnmi flexpriority ept vpid fsgsbase tsc_ad just bmi1 hle avx2 smep bmi2 erms invpcid rtm cqm rdt_a rdseed adx smap intel_pt xsa veopt cqm_llc cqm_occup_llc cqm_mbm_total cqm_mbm_local dtherm ida arat pln pts md_clear flush_l1d                                                                      


The  APS Networks® BF2556X-1T is a horse power:

  • the usage of 8 cores having each one 2 threads speeds up P4 program compilation. (BF2556X-1T  as 2x more core than the WEDGE100BF32X)
  • SyncE 1588 might be certainly important for you should your P4 application require precise time synchronisation capability 
  • Having 1G/10G/25G/40/50G/100G connectivity via SFP28 and QSFP28 will make the BF2556X-1T ready for multiple use case.
    • In a P/PE architecture MPLS PE proposing 1G/10G connectivity and having uplink toward the core
    • In a collapse core can be used a MPLS PE router
    • Can be used as a leaf or Tor switch/router
    • BRAS/BNG router


In this 1st article you:

  • had a brief description APS Networks® BF2556X-1T hardware platform
  • The hardware provide p4 connectivity at 1GE capacity (16x1GE ports is available)
  • In addition to 1GE it also provide 10/25/40/50/100G connectivity

RARE hardware plarform: [ BF2556X-1T #001 ] - key take-away

  • From RARE/FreeRouter point of view, BF2556X-1T is very good candidate for PE (Provider Edge) router.

The 8x100G ports can make as a strong in a collapse core architecture (P function merge with PE functions), the box can also be used a a BGP route as it boast with 32 GB of RAM (~10 full BGP feeds), but you won't leverage the ports availability. It can be used to implement BRAS/BNG use case but would be also a good candidate as a ToR in Data Center envionment with BGP/MPLS capability and the possibility to provide 1GE connection to existing server purchased beforehand.

  • SyncE 1588 support is a key features if your application needs precision provided by PTP

As we will discover the box, we will explain in further articles how to benefit from this features. 

  • RARE/freeRouter @design can coexist with Virtualisation technology BF2556X-1T

We just started our experience with this box. You'll find further, a series of article dedicated to BF2556X-1T depicting:

  • How to proceed to initial OS installation
  • Proceed to  APS Networks® BF2556X-1T software installation (TOFINO SDE and Gearbox) installation
  • Port operations on TOFINO ports SFP28 port 16-47 and QSFP28 port 48-56  
  • Port operations on GearBox ports SFP28 port 1-16 (1G/10G/25G)
  • How to benefit from SyncE 1588 support
  • RARE/freeRouter effective installation

The installation will be implemented should be compliant to ISP TELECOM standard. (It should survives power outage, easy upgrade features, start automatically at boot time without any human intervention)

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