Thinkpad T43 throughput limited to 8mbps



  • I actually posted this problem many years ago here:
    https://forum.pfsense.org/index.php?topic=37694.msg194601#msg194601

    I recently moved, started using xfinity router, but it decided to be flakey pos and forget custom settings, so now back to the T43 and pfsense.

    However I find again my throughput is limited. I have tracked it down to the builtin Broadcom 5751 NIC (bge0 WAN) interrupt requesting the crap out of the CPU. The PCMCIA 3COM NIC for LAN doesn't seem to be sending any interrupt requests at all that I could see.

    So is there any kind of tweak or fix for the Broadcom NIC?

    I can't seem to find any expresscard 54 NICs either. I guess my only other option is to get a managed switch and try to VLAN the single 3COM card?

    I like using the T43 for pfsense, also interested in pfsense appliances, but the cost would have to be pretty close to a managed switch…which doesn't seem possible lol.




  • Well I bought a Managed Switch since it was 30 bux and seems to be the way to go.

    It seems like the T43 was THE ONE MODEL YEAR of the T-Series that didn't have an Intel NIC onboard lol. Other than that I've been using T43 for pfsense for 6 years and it has been great.


  • Banned



  • Polling might work better than interrupts.



  • I purchased this card in 2015 for a ThinkPad R60, I am using as a firewall and works great as an expresscard.  It served fine from 2.2.x and still works with  2.4.x:

    SD-EXP24010
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004M18EDI/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
    https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16839328041

    But unfortunately now it is really no longer available. It works great becasue it has the Realtek RTL8111 Chipset, which is fully suppored in pfSense / FreeBSD, so all you need to do is get a Exprescard that runs with a supported chipset.

    Now if I was looking for another ExpressCard, I would find the chipset and cross-reference to see if it works with  with BSD, and thus pfSense.  The newest Startech card is EC1000S.  I tried to check the vendor site for the chipset, but is down right now.  Another thing to check to see if someone else says the card works with pfSense, and it looks like it does, so I would consider this a good place to start.  Hope this helps your problem or gets you closer to a solution.

    https://forums.freebsd.org/threads/39207/

    I also remember I could not use the StarTech card as a WAN port, only LAN port, but that might be something with my peculiar setup.



  • Thanks, I'm going to give the Startech ECS1000S a try since i can get it on Prime and I found reports that the chipset works fine.

    It turns out that I couldn't use the VLAN method as the 3COM NIC doesn't support tagging.



  • @zephxiii:

    Thanks, I'm going to give the Startech ECS1000S a try since i can get it on Prime and I found reports that the chipset works fine.

    It turns out that I couldn't use the VLAN method as the 3COM NIC doesn't support tagging.

    StarTech also makes a model with two gigabit ports on one express card module, so if you need an additional non-3Com port, that might be useful.



  • @johnkeates:

    @zephxiii:

    Thanks, I'm going to give the Startech ECS1000S a try since i can get it on Prime and I found reports that the chipset works fine.

    It turns out that I couldn't use the VLAN method as the 3COM NIC doesn't support tagging.

    StarTech also makes a model with two gigabit ports on one express card module, so if you need an additional non-3Com port, that might be useful.

    Yeah, i was looking at that but I found a post about someone not being able to use the 2nd port due to a driver issue in pfsense. I'm not sure if that has been resolved or not.



  • @johnkeates:

    StarTech also makes a model with two gigabit ports on one express card module, so if you need an additional non-3Com port, that might be useful.

    If i'm not wrong, the Thinkpad T43 uses a PCMCIA or Cardbus slot.
    PCMCIA or cardbus has wider dimensions then a express card.
    Also, the PCMCIA or Cardbus can't provide the bandwith thats needed for true Gigabit speed,
    the only Dual LAN cards for the wide PCMCIA slot are only 2x 100Mbps.

    A another option is to use USB to LAN adapters, if you have 2 USB ports available,
    but don't expect very high throughput speeds.

    Grtz
    DeLorean



  • @DeLorean:

    @johnkeates:

    StarTech also makes a model with two gigabit ports on one express card module, so if you need an additional non-3Com port, that might be useful.

    If i'm not wrong, the Thinkpad T43 uses a PCMCIA or Cardbus slot.
    PCMCIA or cardbus has wider dimensions then a express card.
    Also, the PCMCIA or Cardbus can't provide the bandwith thats needed for true Gigabit speed,
    the only Dual LAN cards for the wide PCMCIA slot are only 2x 100Mbps.

    A another option is to use USB to LAN adapters, if you have 2 USB ports available,
    but don't expect very high throughput speeds.

    Grtz
    DeLorean

    It has dual slots: http://www.thinkwiki.org/wiki/Category:T43 and it's one of the larger ExpressCard/54 types too.



  • Well i tried out the Startech ECS1000S in the T43 and it ran like total shit, even worse actually as it seemed to top out at 5mbit/s and cause more lag in the system etc.

    SO I figure alright, might be time to retire the T43 from pfsense duties…and move to a Thinkpad T410 I have which is the first model with Core i5/i7 architecture (meets AES-NI requirement). Luckily these can be had for pretty cheap, I think I paid right at 100 for this one.

    After moving the Startech to the T410, swapped out the SSD i had in it to spinny drive for testing, swiftly got pfsense 2.4.1 installed and results are:

    It rocks it out. Full download speed, CPU load was 4% during test DL, web configurator super responsive. General web browsing seems snappier as well. I guess I'll just stick with this then.

    The other major advantage of T410 is that it does have Power On after AC attach option in BIOS which the T43 does not have. I discovered this last night only because I had a series of power outages in a row which forced me manually startup the T43 each time as its battery was completely shot. I was about to order a new one too but I held off to see how the Startech worked.



  • So the StarTech works well in the newer T-series. Maybe it's the chipset PCIe revision or something. Anyway, good to know it works now!



  • I've always thought the t series with Intel NICs were an excellent choice for sub gigabit WAN pfSense.



  • Having just come across this thread, I'd be interested to know how exactly I should set up a ThinkPad as a pfSense box… and would a T42 suffice?



  • You use VLANs on a switch.



  • @belt9:

    You use VLANs on a switch.

    Is there any guidance on doing this?

    I've never figured out how to use a VLAN…



  • @Balanga:

    Having just come across this thread, I'd be interested to know how exactly I should set up a ThinkPad as a pfSense box… and would a T42 suffice?

    If you have one already you can try it out. What kind of bandwidth?


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