ARM support



  • Hello.
      Was wondering if there is a build for ARM as the target processor. I have successfully run embedded linux on a few Intel XScale development boards I have and would love to try out NanoBSD/pfSense on it.


  • Netgate Administrator

    There isn't. It would be nice though.  :P
    Feel free to start coding!

    A lot of Arm hardware wouldn't meet the minimum memory/flash requirements.

    Steve



  • @stephenw10:

    There isn't. It would be nice though.  :P
    Feel free to start coding!

    A lot of Arm hardware wouldn't meet the minimum memory/flash requirements.

    Steve

    Hi Steve – I have a Intel XScale dev board that runs a Intel PXA270 and another board that runs a Intel IXP425. The IXP425 actually is a network processor that is more of a system on chip. Supports up to 256Mb ram (newer IXPs I believe much more), has built in hardware acceleration for VPN, 2 integrated 10/100 MACs, core up to 533Mhz (kind of old now), 33/66mhz PCI 2.2 bus, 16 GPIO lines, USB, 2 serial ports and some other stuff all onboard the IXP.  Power consumption only 1.5-1.9watts. The PXA270 has speed stepping up to about 600mhz fanless.

    Intel site on the IXP425:
    "The high-
    performance architecture of the Intel IXP425 network processor can
    support bulk encryption/decryption rates of up to 70 Mbps for DES, 3DES and AES algorithms."

    ftp://download.intel.com/design/network/ProdBrf/27905105.pdf

    This is old by now too -- by now they have ghz+ embedded ARM processors.

    Pretty sure I can get NanoBSD on the ARM no problem but as far as using integrated hardware on-board the IXP425 that would be tricky. Intel has their own libraries for everything.

    I also have a Linksys WRV54G that has the above IXP425 in it, though I would probably have to check the ram/flash because it's not enough. Right now I believe it runs embedded linux as is from Linksys.

    Like you said, a ton of work. I will look at some newer ARM technologies because the above might not be manufactured anymore.

    It's probably not worth the time either for pfSense because of all the wide support/options for x86. For example Intel now offers a integrated/embedded processor
    compatible with x86 offering 3 LAN interfaces, 1.2ghz and much more: ftp://download.intel.com/design/intarch/ep80579/320453.pdf


  • Netgate Administrator

    I have played around with a few of these boxes myself.
    You don't need much power for what they are designed for. The two boxes I have used had 266MHz IXP425 chips in and ran just fine.
    The problem is that a lot of SOHO routers of this type are typically 32MB ram 8MB flash. That's never going to be pfSense territory. Monowall would be a better target.
    There is an Arm port of FreeBSD.

    See my adventures with a 128MB ram /64MB flash box here.

    Steve



  • @stephenw10:

    I have played around with a few of these boxes myself.
    You don't need much power for what they are designed for. The two boxes I have used had 266MHz IXP425 chips in and ran just fine.
    The problem is that a lot of SOHO routers of this type are typically 32MB ram 8MB flash. That's never going to be pfSense territory. Monowall would be a better target.
    There is an Arm port of FreeBSD.

    See my adventures with a 128MB ram /64MB flash box here.

    Steve

    That looks great, they're very powerful little devices. I am guessing the WRT54G and the WRV54G are similar products.:
    http://phj.hu/wrv54g/

    Inside of the WRV54G:

    The dev board I also have with a IXP425 has 64Mb flash and 32Mb ram but I can easily upgrade the on-board ram/flash. If I got NanoBSD running on this hardware with all of the on chip devices would it be easy to port pfSense? I can build NanoBSD with xscale as the target but the ethernet and other on chip devices might be tricky.



  • Got my hands on a loaner ARM Cortex development board for a project we're doing. I will work on it during the weekends and see what I can get going. The IXP4XX is probably a waist of time because it's a SoC processor, I will experiment with a pure ARM processor.



  • Boundary Devices makes a bunch of likely candidates http://boundarydevices.com/products.php



  • Ohh just signed up to say ARM support would rock
    http://www.newit.co.uk/shop/proddetail.php?prod=DreamPlug
    I'm probably going to buy one anyway as a mpd server & webcam streamer but it'd make a fine router.



  • Certainly i would give this test if i had the test hardware, which i don't.

    If someone wants to donate an IX… for testing it certainly would help.


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