NIC issues with Hardware Appliance



  • I have a Riverbed Steelhead appliance (DTAAB) with 4 NICs and I was finally able to install pfSense on it. I am running an embedded install, ver 2.0.1. The specs for this appliance is 1.5Ghz CPU, 512MB RAM, 80Gig HDD, a slot for a SD Card and no Video but a serial output. I was unable to install pfSense on the HDD so i went with the SD card install. During the install the auto detect for the NICs would not detect 2 of the 4 interfaces. There is the WAN(fxp0), LAN(fxp1), Auxiliary(fxp2) and Primary(fxp3) interfaces and only the Primary and Auxiliary interfaces will show a link light. I know the interfaces work because when I boot the Steelhead from the HDD I get link lights on all 4 ports. pfSense can see the interfaces too, i can assign them as opt1 and opt2 through the web GUI but when I plug something into them no link.

    This issue is also the same as this one back in 2010:
    http://forum.pfsense.org/index.php/topic,22242.0.html

    Does anyone have any idea on how i can get these working? I wanted the multiple interfaces so I can load balance.


  • Netgate Administrator

    Which model is it you're using? Do you have a link to a spec sheet?
    Just a suggestion but does that unit have LAN bypass functionality? Perhaps it needs to be disabled or reset somehow.

    Steve



  • The model # of the appliance is DTAAB, if you try searching for it you get nothing. The model # for the MB inside is: sbc8a805, again search and find nothing. If you search for sbc8a806 you find another MB that looks exactly the same as the one I have, not sure why the difference of number. Below are 2 links to what looks like what I have.

    If you take a look at the second link it does talk about a LAN bypass option around page 19. I'm not quite sure what that is.

    MB data sheet:
    http://atlantis.com.ua/rpstr/catalog/sbc8a806.pdf

    Some other appliance that looks exactly like mine, minus the branding:
    http://axiomtek.com/Download/Download/NA-100/NA-100.pdf



  • @wacij:

    If you take a look at the second link it does talk about a LAN bypass option around page 19. I'm not quite sure what that is.

    One meaning is that the two sockets are connected (probably with relays) such that initially the two sockets are connected together so that the signals pass directly between them, bypassing the NICs in the box. On suitable stimulus the hardware opens the bypass (e.g. powers the relays forcing them to change state) connecting each socket to a NIC. If power fails the two sockets are connected together allowing a degree of service to continue. Once the software reboots to a suitable stage the bypass is broken and traffic get processed by the software in the box.



  • Hardware like that at times isn't stock to the extent that any OS other than the shipped one will function entirely correctly. At times intentionally so they can't be repurposed, at times inadvertently because of hardware bugs that didn't affect what they were running on it but affects other OSes. In some instances it can just be odd BIOS settings that the appliance used that isn't generally suitable for other software. Resetting the BIOS to defaults if you can get into it may help. One thing that can cause the described symptoms is when a NIC shares an IRQ with something else, it can prevent the NIC from functioning properly. That's not too common though.


  • Netgate Administrator

    The only reason I suggested lan bypass might be causing the problem is that having read through the other thread (assuming it is related to identical hardware) most other things have already been tried. Also it seems like too much of a coincidence that both machines had dead ports on fxp0 and 1.
    The other user had no problems getting into the bios, presumably via console redirect on the serial port. Often you have to press TAB to enter the bios instead of DEL or F*.

    If it is stuck in 'lan bypass' mode that is easy to test. When it goes into bypass mode it physically connects the two ports internally and disconnects them from the internal NICs (matching your symptoms). To test this connect two things, a PC and a switch for example, via the fxp0 and fxp1 connections. You will not see any lights on the box, because these are driven by the NICs, but you will see lights on the PC and switch if it is by passing.

    There might be an option to control the lan bypass in the bios. Disable it. If there isn't there might be a jumper on the motherboard as there is on the NA-100 you linked to.

    Steve



  • Wallabybob: Thank you for the explanation it helped out with what i was looking for.

    stephenw10: That was the issue, it wasn't the LAN by-pass but the LAN by-pass by GPIO option that needed to be disabled. I am getting link lights now. I will test them out later to make sure they work.


  • Netgate Administrator

    For future Riverbed users how did you change the lan-bypass behaviour? In the bios? Jumpers?

    Steve


  • Netgate Administrator

    Just for reference the fix, "LAN by-pass by GPIO", is a jumper on that board. Not a BIOS setting.

    Steve


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