Good old Quad NIC from SUN Microsytems not working in pfsense 2.1



  • Hi people,
    I have a problem with quad nic, rather than being a very new one I got a hold of a good old quad nic from SUN Microsystems. I installed it on a Pentium 4 machine, installed openBSD on the machine and everything went beautifully well.
    Then I only swaped the IDE harddrive with an empty one and installed pfsense on it.
    Booting pfsense live from the CDROM went good, cards where detected and I was able to configure them. So I installed pfsense and rebooted. After a minute or 2 all nics of the quad nic card are going up and down. CPU usage went to 99%.
    From my point of view, this is some kind of Software bug at pfsense.

    So if someone from the development team could help me here would be great.
    I would be greatful for any feedback at all.

    Thanks in advance.



  • @littlebi:

    installed openBSD

    pfsense is FreeBSD, not OpenBSD, did you test on 8.3?

    Fundamentally if hardware works on 8.3 but not pfsense 2.1 then it is something that the devs here should look at, otherwise it is a FreeBSD issue.

    Keep in mind if it is supported or fixed in a later major version you will most likely just have to wait for pfsense to catch up, or potentially backport the driver if they plan to, going by history network controllers are the most likely candidates for this.



  • you also didnt post which Quad Nic from SUN it is.. there are MANY that have existed over the years.

    we need details to be able to help you better.

    there should be a 501-xxxx number on the card , also is this card PCI-X , PCI-e??
    is it Gigabit or Fast Ethernet or just Ethernet?

    we need DETAILS.


  • Netgate Administrator

    Did you bridge any of the interfaces?

    Steve



  • @SunCatalyst: The network card fits into a PCI slot, BUT is longer than a PCI. I think it is called ISA? But worked fine even though there where pins unconnected from the card. Looking at the 4 network controllers soldered on the card it has the number similar to the pattern of what you posted, but beginns with 100-xxxx-xx.
    The network card is a fast ethernet btw.

    @stephenw10: no they aren't bridged at all. PFsense was freshly installed, and right after the reboot from the harddisk, the network started to go up and down.

    @Aluminum: ok, I will give freebsd a chance to configure my system and I will boot from it and see if the card plays crazy.

    Have a look at the picture that I have uploaded at imagebin, maybe it could help. Click here



  • That is a 64 bit dual voltage PCI-X card.



  • Ok, I solved the problem. I took some time to close up the pc case and was forced to move the quad nic a little closer to the CPU. When I booted the system pfsense was working with the quad nic without any problems.

    Thanks for your support and anttention guys….  :D



  • @littlebi:

    Ok, I solved the problem. I took some time to close up the pc case and was forced to move the quad nic a little closer to the CPU. When I booted the system pfsense was working with the quad nic without any problems.

    Thanks for your support and anttention guys….  :D

    Ok it worked at the beginning but now it just dropped out. I guess that I have to try out freebsd.



  • @littlebi:

    @littlebi:

    Ok, I solved the problem. I took some time to close up the pc case and was forced to move the quad nic a little closer to the CPU. When I booted the system pfsense was working with the quad nic without any problems.

    Thanks for your support and anttention guys….  :D

    Ok it worked at the beginning but now it just dropped out. I guess that I have to try out freebsd.

    Seems to me that it's a hardware problem, with the card going away after it heats up.  Don't think freebsd will do any better; it worked before because that's what you ran booting the cold system.

    If freebsd does work reliably, please post back.



  • @charliem:
    Ok I build a seperate system with the Quad NIC from Sun, and I have installed freebsd 8.3 on it after the system installation.
    Now all I get when I grep through dmesg is the following:

    
     <network, ethernet="">at device 0.1
     <network, ethernet="">at device 1.1
     <network, ethernet="">at device 2.1
     <network, ethernet="">at device 3.1</network,></network,></network,></network,> 
    

    That is it. what I understand from this is that freebsd knows that these are NICs but doesn't know what exactly they are.
    Now here, pfSense is one step ahead compared to freebsd. pfSense detects the NICs and brings them up. pfSense even gives them device names "hmeX'. They also can be configured with absolutely no problem.
    But all of the suddenthey go up and down all the time. This can be even seen from the LED on the back of the card, where a network cable is connected to it, starts blinking. The interval about the blinking is every 1 or 2 seconds.

    Please let me know what else to do, in order to help to solve this problem.



  • As other people have said, sounds like a hardware issue. Either the slot or the card could be bad. Could very well also be an IRQ issue depending on what else you have plugged in.


  • Netgate Administrator

    The reason I asked about bridging is that there is an issue with flapping interfaces with certain drivers involving interfaces that do not have an IP. There could be situations other than bridging where this applies. JimP made a patch for it that you can easily apply using the system patches package.
    https://forum.pfsense.org/index.php/topic,66908.msg367991.html#msg367991

    The interval between blinking you describe could be a flapping interface.

    Steve



  • @stephenw10: I don't know if you are a developer of pfSense, but I'am assuming that you are. Could you explain for my understanding how does this "flapping" comes to life? And are there any plans to fix that?
    I mean openBSD really understands what is meant with 'plug and play'. I do hope that this will be fixed soon.


  • Netgate Administrator

    Nope, I'm not a developer just someone with more spare time than he should have ;)

    That particular problem, for which flapping was the symptom, has been fixed by JimP's patch as linked to above. It is in the source now so will be included in the next release be that 2.2 or a bug fix release 2.1.1.

    The problem, as I understand it, is that some code that reloaded the interfaces when a change had been made was not correctly filtering which interfaces needed reloading. It should have been reloading only interfaces that had an IP assigned but was reloading every interface including bridge members, VLAN parents, PPPoE parents etc. It then got stuck in a loop as those interfaces did not get an IP. The patch exluded non addressed interfaces.

    I take it you tried the patch and it didn't work?

    Steve



  • @stephenw10: It is my very first time that need to patch something so I don't know how it works. Maybe you could guide me in the process?


  • Netgate Administrator

    There are many ways to do this but the easiest and least prone to error is to install the 'system patches' package from System: Packages: like any other pfSense package. Now you have a new menu item in the System: menu, Patches:. Go to Patches: and enter the URL of the git commit you want to use, in this case:
    https://github.com/pfsense/pfsense/commit/f3a4601c85c4de78caa4f12fefd64067fd83dbe8

    Apply the patch. You may have to reboot.

    Steve



  • I installed the patch package as you said. But it doesn't appear in the System's dropdownlist.


  • Netgate Administrator

    You may have to clear your browser cache or something similar.
    If it installed without errors it should be there.

    Steve




  • @stephenw10:
    ok I have cleared the chache, reinstalled the package and rebooted the system.
    Then I applied the patch, which was very straight forward, rebooted the system again, and the old quad NIC is now stable.
    Thanks for the help :D



  • @littlebi:

    @stephenw10:
    ok I have cleared the chache, reinstalled the package and rebooted the system.
    Then I applied the patch, which was very straight forward, rebooted the system again, and the old quad NIC is now stable.
    Thanks for the help :D

    :o
    I will have to take back my resume. The flapping just started again. The patch was no success.  :(


  • Netgate Administrator

    :( Well it was a long shot. How are you using the NICs on the card?

    Steve



  • After posting my last post, I turned off the machine and took a cup of coffee and let things settle down because I was pretty pissed who things went.
    Then I took myself together and turned on the machine and as usual all NICs were stable. Then I started off from the shell a ping for 1 hour and there was no flapping. Then I was encouraged to download an iso. That also went well,  ;D so now I'm very happy that it had a happy ending.  8)

    Again thanks for your help…



  • I have a fix that came from an eBay member.  I tried this and it works perfectly for the Sun Quad 10/100 interface.  This person told me it was a known issue, but I sure haven't found any reference to his fix in the forums so here goes:

    Just set the speed manually in the advanced options of the interface.  Works like a charm.

    The bouncing problem only happens when link is lost then resumed, such as unplugging the cable and plugging it back in.  Plug the cable in again and the interface bounces up and down.  Set the speed manually, and the problem disappears.
    This applies to the Sun 501-5406 Quad Port PCI/PCI-x board.

    Hope this helps.  It is just a work-around.  It may just be a driver issue but it would be nice if the php code in pfSense could be more forgiving of this kind of thing.  After all, the interface will initially link and be stable on boot.  Why can't it do the same thing on a hot plug?



  • Thanks for the tipp. I made it working by manually patching it. Maybe this is something for the development team to consider to try out your trick…


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