Last edited 4 years ago

How to exchange large data buffers with the coprocessor - principle

1. Introduction[edit source]

As explained in "Exchanging_buffers_with_the_coprocessor", the RPMsg protocol may be not efficient enough to directly exchange large buffers between the Cortexes. In this case implementing the indirect buffer exchange mode is recommended:

  • allocate contiguous buffers to store the data to exchange
  • use RPMsg to exchange references to these buffers with the remote processor.

This article gives an example mechanism that can be implemented to exchange indirect buffers between a main processor and a coprocessor.

2. Architecture overview[edit source]

This architecture example relies on the rpmsg_sdb linux driver.


  • On Cortex-A:
  • The rpmsg_sdb Linux driver implements the service to allocate and share buffers with the Cortex-M.
  • The Linux application requests and memory-maps (mmap) the buffers needed to access the associated memory.
  • On Cortex-M:
  • The application has to implement the "rpmsg-sdb-channel" RPMsg service to manage the buffer information.
  • A DMA can be used to transfer data to/from DDR.

Refer to How to exchange large data buffers with the coprocessor - example for an example.

3. rpmsg_sdb driver[edit source]

The RPMsg shared data buffer driver example is in charge of:

  • Allocating large buffers in contiguous memory (DDR) and memory mapping them (mmap) for use by an application.
  • implementing the RPMsg service to share buffer information (address, size) with the coprocessor.
  • Sending events to a Linux application (relying on the eventfd interface) when buffers are available (on RPMsg message reception).
Info white.png Information
This driver is provided as example. It implements only the transfer from Cortex-M to cortex-A

3.1. Configuration[edit source]

3.1.1. Kernel configuration[edit source]

No kernel configuration is needed. The rpmsg_sdb Linux driver is proposed as module and can be installed using the associated Yocto recipe.

3.1.2. Device tree[edit source]

No device tree declaration is needed. The rpmsg_sdb driver is registered as an RPMsg driver. it is probed when the remote processor creates the "rpmsg-sdb-channel" service.

3.1.3. Source code[edit source]

The source code is available in the rpsmg-sdb-mod Yocto recipe.

3.2. How to use[edit source]

3.2.1. User space interface[edit source]

The rpmsg_sdb driver exposes a "/dev/rpmsg_sdb" sysfs that offers an interface to allocate and manage the shared buffers.

  • open/close: get/release file descriptor.
  int fd;
  fd= open('/dev/rpmsg_sdb');
  • mmap: allocate and map memories
  void *buff0_id, *buff1_id;
  buff0_id = mmap(NULL, size,  PROT_READ | PROT_WRITE, 	MAP_PRIVATE, fd, 0);
  buff1_id = mmap(NULL, size,  PROT_READ | PROT_WRITE, 	MAP_PRIVATE, fd, 0);
  • RPMSG_SDB_IOCTL_SET_EFD ioctl: register event for a buffer
  typedef struct
  	int bufferId, eventfd;
  } rpmsg_sdb_ioctl_set_efd;
  int efd[NB_BUF];
  rpmsg_sdb_ioctl_set_efd q_set_efd;

  for (i=0;i<NB_BUF;i++){
	/* Create the evenfd, and sent it to kernel driver, for notification of buffer full */
	efd[i] = eventfd(0, 0);
  q_set_efd.bufferId = i;  /* i is the index of the buffer */
  q_set_efd.eventfd = efd[i];
  ioctl(fd, RPMSG_SDB_IOCTL_SET_EFD, buff0_id, &q_set_efd);
  • RPMSG_SDB_IOCTL_GET_DATA_SIZE ioctl : get the size of a buffer
  typedef struct
  	int bufferId;
  	uint32_t size;
  } rpmsg_sdb_ioctl_get_data_size;
  rpmsg_sdb_ioctl_get_data_size q_get_data_size;

  ioctl(fd, RPMSG_SDB_IOCTL_GET_DATA_SIZE, buff0_id, eventfd);

p*manage event

  while (1) {
	ret = poll(fds, NB_BUF, TIMEOUT * 1000);
	if (ret < 0) {
	} else if (ret) {
		printf("Data is available now.\n");
	} else if (ret == 0) {
		printf("No data within five seconds.\n");
	for (j=0;j<NB_BUF;j++){
		if (fds[j].revents & POLLIN) {
			/* Event received for the buffer j: New data is available for buffer j */

3.2.2. RPMsg messaging[edit source]

The RPMsg protocol is used for communication with the Cortex-M:

  • Information about the buffer allocated and mmaped is sent to the Cortex-M.
The message is structured in a string with following format: "BxAyyyyyyyyLzzzzzzzz"
  • x: buffer index (32 bits, decimal format, no leading zero)
  • yyyyyyyy: physical address of the buffer in DDR (32 bits, 8-digit hexadecimal format, leading zero)
  • zzzzzzzz: length of the buffer (32 bits, 8-digit hexadecimal format, leading zero).
  • Buffer filled event received from the Cortex-M:
When the Cortex-M4 has filled a buffer it can inform the Linux application by sending an RPMsg with following string format : "BxLzzzzzzzz"'.
  • x: buffer index (32 bits, decimal format, no leading zero)
  • zzzzzzzz: length of the buffer (32 bits, 8-digit hexadecimal format, leading zero).
On reception of this message the rpmsg_sdb driver sends an event to the application.