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Barefoot Preps for 5G and IoT With Its Tofino Chip and the P4 Language

September 27, 2018 / Ali Longwell

Since its founding in 2013 Barefoot Networks has created quite a stir in the networking world. The Silicon Valley-based startup raised over $155 million, launched a programmable Ethernet switch called Tofino, and debuted an analytics software called Deep Insight. It also uses a new programming language, called P4, to redefine the network data plane. Barefoot was founded by Nick McKeown, now chief scientist, Pat Bosshart, now CTO, and Dan Lenoski, now chief development officer. What these three founders saw was a missing element in networking — programmability at the silicon level. “The field of networking has evolved probably the slowest of all the fields in the technology industry,” said Prem Jonnalagadda, Barefoot’s director of product. “Networking is held hostage by the need for interoperability … so evolution and trying out new things has become hard.” He said that fixed function chips that have been around “for ages” don&rsquo...