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NdisAllocatePacketPoolEx function

Note   NDIS 5. x has been deprecated and is superseded by NDIS 6. x. For new NDIS driver development, see Network Drivers Starting with Windows Vista. For information about porting NDIS 5. x drivers to NDIS 6. x, see Porting NDIS 5.x Drivers to NDIS 6.0.

NdisAllocatePacketPoolEx allocates and initializes a block of storage for a pool of packet descriptors.


VOID NdisAllocatePacketPoolEx(
  _Out_ PNDIS_STATUS Status,
  _Out_ PNDIS_HANDLE PoolHandle,
  _In_  UINT         NumberOfDescriptors,
  _In_  UINT         NumberOfOverflowDescriptors,
  _In_  UINT         ProtocolReservedLength


Status [out]

Pointer to a caller-supplied variable in which this function returns the status of the packet pool allocation, which can be one of the following:


The driver can make calls to NdisAllocatePacket when it needs packet descriptors to make indications up to higher-level drivers or to send packets down to lower-level drivers.


The attempt to allocate packet pool failed, possibly due to a shortage of memory. This return does not necessarily mean that a subsequent call will fail. However, the caller might attempt to decrease the NumberOfDescriptors and call again immediately.

PoolHandle [out]

Pointer to a caller-supplied variable in which this function returns a handle to the packet pool. This handle is a required parameter to the NdisXxxPacket functions that the driver calls subsequently.

NumberOfDescriptors [in]

Specifies the number of packet descriptors that the pool should contain for anticipated normal use. The maximum NumberOfDescriptors that can be allocated is 0xFFFF. If an attempt is made to allocate more than this, NdisAllocatePacketPoolEx returns a Status of NDIS_STATUS_RESOURCES.

NumberOfOverflowDescriptors [in]

Specifies the number of packet descriptors reserved for an overflow situation (that is, when all the descriptors specified by NumberOfDescriptors are in use). If the sum of this parameter and NumberOfDescriptors exceeds 0xFFFF, NdisAllocatePacketPoolEx reduces the value supplied as this parameter so that the total NumberOfDescriptors and NumberOfOverflowDescriptors equals 0xFFFF.

ProtocolReservedLength [in]

Specifies the number of bytes to be allocated for the ProtocolReserved array of each packet descriptor. When allocating a pool for packets to be used in receive indications, a miniport driver should set this parameter to PROTOCOL_RESERVED_SIZE_IN_PACKET. On 32-bit systems, PROTOCOL_RESERVED_SIZE_IN_PACKET equals 16 bytes. On 64-bit systems, PROTOCOL_RESERVED_SIZE_IN_PACKET equals 32 bytes.''

Return value



A successful call to NdisAllocatePacketPoolEx returns a handle to the packet pool, which the caller should save. Usually, the driver next calls NdisAllocatePacket one or more times with this handle to allocate a set of packet descriptors.

NdisAllocatePacketPoolEx statically allocates only enough memory to accommodate the number of packet descriptors specified by NumberOfDescriptors. The total number of packet descriptors that can be allocated from the pool with calls to NdisAllocatePacket is the lesser of 0xFFFF or the sum of NumberOfDescriptors and NumberOfOverflowDescriptors originally passed to NdisAllocatePacketPoolEx. Overflow descriptors are allocated dynamically only during an overflow situation -- that is, when the given NumberOfDescriptors have already been allocated and are still in use.

The sum of NumberOfDescriptors and NumberOfOverflowDescriptors is the effective limit on how many times the driver can call NdisAllocatePacket before it must call NdisFreePacket to return a packet descriptor to the free list for the packet pool. When no overflow descriptor has yet been allocated, NdisFreePacket returns the packet descriptor to the statically allocated pool. If one or more overflow descriptors have already been allocated, NdisFreePacket returns the packet descriptor to system memory--not to the pool.

The caller of NdisAllocatePacketPoolEx should set NumberOfDescriptors to the number of packet descriptors needed for anticipated normal loads. The driver should set NumberOfOverflowDescriptors to the number of additional descriptors needed to accommodate anticipated peak loads. If the total possible number of packet descriptors ( NumberOfDescriptors plus NumberOfOverflowDescriptors) has been allocated from the pool, a call to NdisAllocatePacket returns NDIS_STATUS_RESOURCES.

As packets sent or indicated are returned to the allocating driver, it can reuse each packet descriptor after calling NdisReinitializePacket and setting it up again with a chain of buffer descriptors, or the driver can call NdisFreePacket to return that packet to the free list. Reinitializing and reusing packets allocated from packet pool is far faster than freeing and, then, having to reallocate them again. Before a driver calls NdisReinitializePacket with a packet descriptor, it must save the pointers to buffer descriptors that are chained to the packet descriptor since NdisReinitializePacket sets the head of the buffer chain to NULL.

When a driver no longer needs packet descriptors, it calls NdisFreePacketPool to release the storage that it allocated with NdisAllocatePacketPoolEx.


Target platform



Not supported for NDIS 6.0 drivers in Windows Vista. Use NdisAllocateNetBufferListPool instead. Supported for NDIS 5.1 drivers in Windows Vista and Windows XP.


Ndis.h (include Ndis.h)



See also




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