Mac Mini Core i5 2.3 Mid 2011 Network adapter issue debug


  • I am having intermittent network disconnect, dropped packets with the built in network adapter.

    The interface does not work at all at 1Gbps and drops to 100 Mbps on physical connection with the problems described above.

    Using a MacOS USB the network seems much more stable, though the link also drops down to 100Mbps.

    My take is that the network interface was damaged by the cable modem in an electric storm, since the hdmi output isn't working either. The thunderbolt output is working both in network adapter mode and in display mode.

    Any recommendations to debug this,so I can rule out software? It might be coincidental, but the update to 2.4.5-p1 and the problems were pretty close in time.

    If my network adapter and hdmi output are fried, how can i go headless and use the thunderbolt as the network port? I guess to use it as a firewall i would have to go the virtual machine way ESxi way?

    8gb of RAM and a 128gb SSD....

    Thanks,

  • Netgate Administrator

    Is there anything logged when it happens?

    What is the NIC in that?

    Steve


  • @rafastari said in Mac Mini Core i5 2.3 Mid 2011 Network adapter issue debug:

    how can i go headless and use the thunderbolt as the network port? I

    I have an 2011 Mac Mini also ... it's the server version. This what I did ... I got a thunderbolt 2 PCI enclosure and put Intel i350 NIC ... talk about awesome. You may find used thunderbolt 2 enclosure on eBay as I did for a reasonable price plus the Intel NIC totalling about $100. The problem going the ESXI route is that model Mac Mini is RAM limited as the ESXI requires 4GB RAM as well as you'll need a monitor to configure, if you believe the HDMI is fried. Using the thunderbolt Ethernet adapter poses another issue if you plan on installing IDS/IPS as it uses the Broadcom that Netmap doesn't agree with.

    Side note: always use surge protectors.


  • Yeah, I’ve gone for the same solution with my Mac Mini Late 2014, a Thunderbolt 2 chassis with an Intel VT Quadport card. Even in Australia the cards are dirt cheap on eBay, the Thunderbolt chassis less so, but worth it.


  • @Vollans Don't you just love the small form factor ... even next to the thunderbolt enclosure is just a beauty to look at ...the best DIY pfSense setup hands down.


  • It’s a great use of a Mac Mini that is now too underpowered for the latest MacOS, but pretty much overkill for pfSense, and as I already had the Mac Mini it works out cheaper than buying a new device. And even better, it’s doing a far better job of connecting to my ISPs IPv6 service and securing my network than the modem ever did. I was pretty much connecting a sieve to the internet before. It is funny to see the network card being bigger than the main computer, though :D


  • @NollipfSense Thanks for the great idea on the thunderbolt enclosure... is there a brand i can look for on ebay?

    I figured out that I can use a usb serial port console on the mini to avoid the fried HDMI... I'm gonna try it tomorrow!!

    so my ethernet provider inputs its signal to the cable modem through a coaxial cable... how do I surge protect that? My mini and the cable modem are connected to a ups with surge protection... but i don't have surge protection on the coax....


  • @stephenw10 Broadcom BCM57765 gigabit ethernet

    Still looking for something interesting in the logs...


  • @rafastari The one I got was a HighPoint RocketStor 6361A. It's a 4-lane PCI-e to Thunderbold enclosure.


  • @rafastari said in Mac Mini Core i5 2.3 Mid 2011 Network adapter issue debug:

    Thanks for the great idea on the thunderbolt enclosure... is there a brand i can look for on ebay?

    The one I got is Aikitio as well as there are Startech, Sonnet and think G-Technology also. You have to find someone, mostly multimedia studio, upgrading to Thunderbolt 3 and getting rid of their two version ... keep search and you'll get lucky.

    @rafastari said in Mac Mini Core i5 2.3 Mid 2011 Network adapter issue debug:

    my ethernet provider inputs its signal to the cable modem through a coaxial cable... how do I surge protect that?

    I had found an APC one on eBay long time ago but after a while, I stop using it and just use the surge protector. I am surprised that even with the UPS protection failed, bummer!


  • I'd say see if you can procure a managed gigabit switch and connect the cable modem to it. Have the switch add a tag (say, 100) to the incoming WAN traffic, and remove it on outgoing WAN traffic.

    Have the switch add another tag (say, 200) to all incoming LAN traffic (and remove it on outgoing LAN traffic).

    Then connect your mini to another port, configured at the switch to be a member of both the LAN and WAN VLANs. Keep the outgoing tags this time on this trunk port. Configure pfSense accordingly (100 is WAN, 200 is LAN) and see what happens to port speed at the switch over time.

    Just a thought.


  • @NollipfSense Will a Thundebolt 2 dock work properly with pfsense? I see a OWC Thunderbolt dock that has 2 thunderbolt ports, 1 gigabit Ethernet and HDMI... which would solve a lot of my problems...

    So what I'm thinking is one thunderbolt port to connect to the mini, the other one for a thunderbolt etherner adapter, the gigabit ethernet for the second network connection and the hdmi for the install process!!! But they all have to work at once... Will they?

    I also see a PCIe expansion box, that has 2 thunderbolt ports and a PCIe card slot... so I could use one Thunderbolt port to connect to the mini, the other one for a thunderbolt etherner adapter and the thid on put in a Pcie Etehernte adapter and use as second network connection?

    thanks!!


  • You've got feedback here that the pure PCIe Thunderbolt adapters work with network cards no problem. There you are on a known quantity and can control the hardware you choose.

    With the dock it depends a lot on what hardware devices they are. e.g. what chipset is the built in Ethernet port? As for the HDMI port, that's basically DisplayPort over Thunderbolt and I have no idea if FreeBSD supports that. Personally I think the dock is a risk.


  • @Vollans Is it thunderbolt 2 or did you get a thunderbolt 3 and adapter? Thanks, having a lot of fun looking at ebay...


  • Thunderbolt 2, my Mac Mini doesn't do Thunderbolt 3.


  • @Vollans thanks again... I'm just having a hard time finding a Thunderbolt 2 dual Pcie enclosure... but on ebay apparently my vintage Qube 2 is worth more than my mini!!


  • Why not a single Thunderbolt 2 enclosure, then a DisplayPort/Thunderbolt to HDMI adapter? The latter are pretty cheap.


  • @rafastari said in Mac Mini Core i5 2.3 Mid 2011 Network adapter issue debug:

    @Vollans thanks again... I'm just having a hard time finding a Thunderbolt 2 dual Pcie enclosure... but on ebay apparently my vintage Qube 2 is worth more than my mini!!

    Here is one on eBay ... the seller has two available and had sold four; so he is sticking to his current high price and has fourteen buyers watching: https://www.ebay.com/itm/AKiTiO-Thunder2-PCIe-Box-Thunderbolt-2-Enclosure-with-Power-Supply/402381280355?hash=item5dafcb1463:g:5aYAAOSwtjtfRHGp
    Looking back on my eBay history, I got mine for $91.

    Then, you'll need one of Intel i350 NIC, either the two or four ports. Then later when you have gigabit Internet, you'll just need to upgrade the NIC.
    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Intel-I350-T2-V2-Ethernet-Server-Adapter-2-port/264829329245?epid=150014070&hash=item3da90edf5d:g:JRkAAOSwcp5fNerM


  • @NollipfSense I was confused! I was looking for a dual PCIe card box, did not understand it was a box for one card, and the card has two or more ethernet ports... Thanks for the info and links... ! From hanging out at ebay it seems Mac minis mid 2011 are around $150 at the low end ( 4gb RAM and 500 Gb Hard drive) and around $200 at the high end (8gb RAM and 1Tb Hard Drive) ... pretty popular since they are user upgradeable...


  • Yeah, my 2014 one is going for less here than the 2011s for the same reason.

    With it having 2 cores / 4 threads, and being plenty gutsy for pfsense you can easily run it in maximum power saving mode, run it really cool, and still deal with everything I can throw at it on my 100/40 connection.


  • @rafastari said in Mac Mini Core i5 2.3 Mid 2011 Network adapter issue debug:

    @NollipfSense I was confused! I was looking for a dual PCIe card box, did not understand it was a box for one card, and the card has two or more ethernet ports... Thanks for the info and links... ! From hanging out at ebay it seems Mac minis mid 2011 are around $150 at the low end ( 4gb RAM and 500 Gb Hard drive) and around $200 at the high end (8gb RAM and 1Tb Hard Drive) ... pretty popular since they are user upgradeable...

    I went for the 2011 server with the quad core core i7 processor for $200 then upgrade it with dual 128GB SSD and 16GB RAM. I really wanted the 2012 Mac Mini server with the quad core i7 processor ... just didn't want to spend over $200 at the time, since those with 16GB RAM, and SSD was pricey for the seller upgrade.