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HCI backend for NFC Core
Author: Eric Lapuyade, Samuel Ortiz
The HCI layer implements much of the ETSI TS 102 622 V10.2.0 specification. It
enables easy writing of HCI-based NFC drivers. The HCI layer runs as an NFC Core
backend, implementing an abstract nfc device and translating NFC Core API
to HCI commands and events.
HCI registers as an nfc device with NFC Core. Requests coming from userspace are
routed through netlink sockets to NFC Core and then to HCI. From this point,
they are translated in a sequence of HCI commands sent to the HCI layer in the
host controller (the chip). The sending context blocks while waiting for the
response to arrive.
HCI events can also be received from the host controller. They will be handled
and a translation will be forwarded to NFC Core as needed.
HCI uses 2 execution contexts:
- one for executing commands : nfc_hci_msg_tx_work(). Only one command
can be executing at any given moment.
- one for dispatching received events and commands : nfc_hci_msg_rx_work().
HCI Session initialization:
The Session initialization is an HCI standard which must unfortunately
support proprietary gates. This is the reason why the driver will pass a list
of proprietary gates that must be part of the session. HCI will ensure all
those gates have pipes connected when the hci device is set up.
HCI Gates and Pipes
A gate defines the 'port' where some service can be found. In order to access
a service, one must create a pipe to that gate and open it. In this
implementation, pipes are totally hidden. The public API only knows gates.
This is consistent with the driver need to send commands to proprietary gates
without knowing the pipe connected to it.
Driver interface
A driver would normally register itself with HCI and provide the following
entry points:
struct nfc_hci_ops {
int (*open)(struct nfc_hci_dev *hdev);
void (*close)(struct nfc_hci_dev *hdev);
int (*hci_ready) (struct nfc_hci_dev *hdev);
int (*xmit)(struct nfc_hci_dev *hdev, struct sk_buff *skb);
int (*start_poll)(struct nfc_hci_dev *hdev, u32 protocols);
int (*target_from_gate)(struct nfc_hci_dev *hdev, u8 gate,
struct nfc_target *target);
int (*complete_target_discovered) (struct nfc_hci_dev *hdev, u8 gate,
struct nfc_target *target);
int (*data_exchange) (struct nfc_hci_dev *hdev,
struct nfc_target *target,
struct sk_buff *skb, struct sk_buff **res_skb);
int (*check_presence)(struct nfc_hci_dev *hdev,
struct nfc_target *target);
- open() and close() shall turn the hardware on and off.
- hci_ready() is an optional entry point that is called right after the hci
session has been set up. The driver can use it to do additional initialization
that must be performed using HCI commands.
- xmit() shall simply write a frame to the chip.
- start_poll() is an optional entrypoint that shall set the hardware in polling
mode. This must be implemented only if the hardware uses proprietary gates or a
mechanism slightly different from the HCI standard.
- target_from_gate() is an optional entrypoint to return the nfc protocols
corresponding to a proprietary gate.
- complete_target_discovered() is an optional entry point to let the driver
perform additional proprietary processing necessary to auto activate the
discovered target.
- data_exchange() must be implemented by the driver if proprietary HCI commands
are required to send data to the tag. Some tag types will require custom
commands, others can be written to using the standard HCI commands. The driver
can check the tag type and either do proprietary processing, or return 1 to ask
for standard processing.
- check_presence() is an optional entry point that will be called regularly
by the core to check that an activated tag is still in the field. If this is
not implemented, the core will not be able to push tag_lost events to the user
On the rx path, the driver is responsible to push incoming HCP frames to HCI
using nfc_hci_recv_frame(). HCI will take care of re-aggregation and handling
This must be done from a context that can sleep.
Most chips use shdlc to ensure integrity and delivery ordering of the HCP
frames between the host controller (the chip) and hosts (entities connected
to the chip, like the cpu). In order to simplify writing the driver, an shdlc
layer is available for use by the driver.
When used, the driver actually registers with shdlc, and shdlc will register
with HCI. HCI sees shdlc as the driver and thus send its HCP frames
through shdlc->xmit.
SHDLC adds a new execution context (nfc_shdlc_sm_work()) to run its state
machine and handle both its rx and tx path.
Included Drivers
An HCI based driver for an NXP PN544, connected through I2C bus, and using
shdlc is included.
Execution Contexts
The execution contexts are the following:
- IRQ handler (IRQH):
fast, cannot sleep. stores incoming frames into an shdlc rx queue
- SHDLC State Machine worker (SMW)
handles shdlc rx & tx queues. Dispatches HCI cmd responses.
- HCI Tx Cmd worker (MSGTXWQ)
Serializes execution of HCI commands. Completes execution in case of response
- HCI Rx worker (MSGRXWQ)
Dispatches incoming HCI commands or events.
- Syscall context from a userspace call (SYSCALL)
Any entrypoint in HCI called from NFC Core
Workflow executing an HCI command (using shdlc)
Executing an HCI command can easily be performed synchronously using the
following API:
int nfc_hci_send_cmd (struct nfc_hci_dev *hdev, u8 gate, u8 cmd,
const u8 *param, size_t param_len, struct sk_buff **skb)
The API must be invoked from a context that can sleep. Most of the time, this
will be the syscall context. skb will return the result that was received in
the response.
Internally, execution is asynchronous. So all this API does is to enqueue the
HCI command, setup a local wait queue on stack, and wait_event() for completion.
The wait is not interruptible because it is guaranteed that the command will
complete after some short timeout anyway.
MSGTXWQ context will then be scheduled and invoke nfc_hci_msg_tx_work().
This function will dequeue the next pending command and send its HCP fragments
to the lower layer which happens to be shdlc. It will then start a timer to be
able to complete the command with a timeout error if no response arrive.
SMW context gets scheduled and invokes nfc_shdlc_sm_work(). This function
handles shdlc framing in and out. It uses the driver xmit to send frames and
receives incoming frames in an skb queue filled from the driver IRQ handler.
SHDLC I(nformation) frames payload are HCP fragments. They are aggregated to
form complete HCI frames, which can be a response, command, or event.
HCI Responses are dispatched immediately from this context to unblock
waiting command execution. Response processing involves invoking the completion
callback that was provided by nfc_hci_msg_tx_work() when it sent the command.
The completion callback will then wake the syscall context.
Workflow receiving an HCI event or command
HCI commands or events are not dispatched from SMW context. Instead, they are
queued to HCI rx_queue and will be dispatched from HCI rx worker
context (MSGRXWQ). This is done this way to allow a cmd or event handler
to also execute other commands (for example, handling the
NFC_HCI_EVT_TARGET_DISCOVERED event from PN544 requires to issue an
ANY_GET_PARAMETER to the reader A gate to get information on the target
that was discovered).
Typically, such an event will be propagated to NFC Core from MSGRXWQ context.
Error management
Errors that occur synchronously with the execution of an NFC Core request are
simply returned as the execution result of the request. These are easy.
Errors that occur asynchronously (e.g. in a background protocol handling thread)
must be reported such that upper layers don't stay ignorant that something
went wrong below and know that expected events will probably never happen.
Handling of these errors is done as follows:
- driver (pn544) fails to deliver an incoming frame: it stores the error such
that any subsequent call to the driver will result in this error. Then it calls
the standard nfc_shdlc_recv_frame() with a NULL argument to report the problem
above. shdlc stores a EREMOTEIO sticky status, which will trigger SMW to
report above in turn.
- SMW is basically a background thread to handle incoming and outgoing shdlc
frames. This thread will also check the shdlc sticky status and report to HCI
when it discovers it is not able to run anymore because of an unrecoverable
error that happened within shdlc or below. If the problem occurs during shdlc
connection, the error is reported through the connect completion.
- HCI: if an internal HCI error happens (frame is lost), or HCI is reported an
error from a lower layer, HCI will either complete the currently executing
command with that error, or notify NFC Core directly if no command is executing.
- NFC Core: when NFC Core is notified of an error from below and polling is
active, it will send a tag discovered event with an empty tag list to the user
space to let it know that the poll operation will never be able to detect a tag.
If polling is not active and the error was sticky, lower levels will return it
at next invocation.