PE2950 Broadcom Interface problems : discard frame w/o leading ethernet header



  • Upgraded to current today from an rc2 version.

    Now whenever I plug in either of my supermicro systems (broadcom chipsets) I get thousands of this error on the pfs console.

    bce0: discard frame w/o leading ethernet header (len 4294967292 pkt len 429496792)

    over and over. it will intermittently lock up pfs now too.

    HELP HELP HELP.

    this was never a problem with the prior versions of pfs. I'd downgrade but i cant find the firmware images for the old versions.

    EDIT ::

    For more clarification….... PFS is running on a Dell PE2950. It contains an Intel dual-gig-nic and the 2 onboard Broadcom gig interfaces. My WAN and LAN1 are on the intel nics. I wanted to turn up a LAN2 on one of the broadcom interfaces. Both systems on this subnet have broadcom interfaces in them. Initially I thought the problem was something to do with the interfaces in those 2 servers. --- after much troubleshooting and using other systems on that subnet with intel NIC's I've realized the problem is with PFS/BSD support of the broadcom interfaces onboard the Dell2950 system.

    So I'm stuck. Instead of the little picture of a penguin getting screwed by a devil, it's me getting screwed. sigh



  • btw, previous version was 1.2rc2



  • Have you tried 1.2.3 prerelease? See http://blog.pfsense.org/?p=377
    and download from http://snapshots.pfsense.org/FreeBSD7/RELENG_1_2/



  • Yes I have that 1.2.3pre running now.

    This seems to be a problem with the driver for the broadcom nic onboard. System is a Dell Poweredge 2950. It has 2 onboard broadcom NIC's and also an Intel dual adapter installed. Intel interfaces work fine as always. As soon as I cable an active system on the subnet attached to the broadcom interfaces it just blows up the console of pfsense with that error. It's so bad that it obliterates traffic on the intel interfaces too. More than once its actually hard locked pfsense altogether requiring a powercycle.

    Now to be fair I made the mistake of assuming that the problem was related to the pfsense upgrade I did. It never occurred to me that something as common as a PowerEdge2950 would have unsupported hardware for BSD. These broadcom interfaces were never utilized until the day that I upgraded. I needed to turn up another subnet on an extra interface and since I had scheduled downtime I wanted to update the firmware version at the same time. It was a mistake on my part to immediately assume that it was related to the upgrade itself.

    I still find it pretty unbelievable that these interfaces arent supported given how commonplace they are.

    dmesg reports

    bce0: <broadcom netxtreme="" ii="" bcm5708="" 1000base-t="" (b1)="">mem 0xf4000000-0xf5ffffff irq 16 at device 0.0 on pci9

    and this is what I see literally nonstop as soon as plug in anything with net traffic to the interface

    bce0: discard frame w/o leading ethernet header (len 4294967292 pkt len 4294967292)
    bce0: discard frame w/o leading ethernet header (len 4294967292 pkt len 4294967292)
    bce0: discard frame w/o leading ethernet header (len 4294967292 pkt len 4294967292)
    bce0: discard frame w/o leading ethernet header (len 4294967292 pkt len 4294967292)
    bce0: discard frame w/o leading ethernet header (len 4294967292 pkt len 4294967292)
    bce0: discard frame w/o leading ethernet header (len 4294967292 pkt len 4294967292)
    bce0: discard frame w/o leading ethernet header (len 4294967292 pkt len 4294967292)
    bce0: discard frame w/o leading ethernet header (len 4294967292 pkt len 4294967292)
    bce0: discard frame w/o leading ethernet header (len 4294967292 pkt len 4294967292)
    bce0: discard frame w/o leading ethernet header (len 4294967292 pkt len 4294967292)

    that continues forever or until it locks up the firewall. Does not matter what other device I put on that network. Anything with net traffic causes the error.</broadcom>



  • I don't know why you keep saying the broadcom NICs are unsupported. They are listed in the FreeBSD supported hardware list at http://www.freebsd.org/releases/7.1R/hardware.html

    There is apparently a bug in the bce driver. If you were to do a google search on "discard frame w/o leading ethernet header" broadcom freebsd you would find that others have encountered similar problems. I don't know the resolution of your particular problem but the revision history of the bce driver shows that it is being worked on (last change 27-Feb-2009)

    It would appear there is a change that might address your problem that was added to the driver in revision 1.34.2.2 in Nov 2008 which was later backed out on 28-Dec-2008 in revision 1.34.2.3.2.5. The revision history doesn't really explain why.

    I would guess if you want to use the bce interfaces you may need to work with the FreeBSD developers supporting the bce driver and a good place to begin would probably be to lodge a FreeBSD problem report. You are probably most likely to get prompt attention if the problem is reported against FreeBSD 7.1 the current "non-legacy" release and the base of pfSense 1.2.3.



  • Let me rephrase…. the broadcom NICs are not -properly- supported. :)

    I guess technically they are supported since I can turn up the interface. It's just what it does to an otherwise stable system when you actually connect it to anything that is the problem.

    My needs for capacity handling have changed a bit over time anyways and I might just replace this big power hungry machine with something lighter and cheaper. We'll see.



  • Those Broadcom NICs suck (everywhere, not just under pfSense).  I just had a conversation about that yesterday afternoon with a couple Dell reps during a presentation on their upcoming servers.  I mentioned how they just start to drop packets under load and then eventually take out the system.  I use the 2900/2950 systems for my ESXi boxes and I've disabled all the Broadcom parts and replaced them with Intel Server NICs.


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