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RARE documentation home


RARE (Router for Academia, Research & Education) is an ongoing effort under the G√ČANT 5th programme which focus on creating an Open Source routing software platform. The project aims to integrate different pieces of software related to building blocks inherent to a routing stack:

Control plane:

  • RARE uses FreeRtr under the hood used as the control plane component

Programmable dataplane

Communication interface

  • This is the interface between the control plane and data plane and it is specific to the target dataplane. For example, BMv2, the open source P4 virtual switch developed by, uses P4Runtime in order to expose internal P4 program's object to an external control plane

P4 and NPL are such languages that allows data plane programmability.


P4 and NPL languages attempt to be as much as possible independent from the target or Programmable Ethernet ASIC architecture. However architecture dependance is still prominent. Code adjustments followed by a target specific compilation is necessary if you want to run your dataplane program on a specific architecture.

How to use this site

You'll find in this page various guides that will help you deploy and use RARE routing platform.

There are 3 categories of documentation:

Reference guides

This section will guide you in configuring freeRtr control plane. In essence, it is similar to freeRtr test cases. While the freeRtr test cases is convenient as it provides an extensive list of all the features in one page, this section will provide a navigation structure that helps you to find your way among the incredible freeRtr feature and interoperability list.

Installation guides

RARE platform has the particularity to be able to run on top of different dataplanes.

  • If you want to deploy a BGP Route Reflector, no need to run RARE & freeRtr with a P4 or DPDK dataplane. You can just use freeRtr native software dataplane
  • At the opposite, if you wish to implement router with 6.4 Tbps capability, your best bet is to run RARE & freeRtr with an INTEL/TOFINO P4 dataplane.
  • RARE with DPDK or P4Emu dataplane is a perfect fit use case such as SOHO router requiring lower switching capability. (nx1GE,nx10GE or a couple of 100GE)


This section corresponds to cookbooks that will guide you in learning how to configure RARE for distinct use cases.