Problem with NetGear FA120 as an optional interface.



  • My first post here, so rather than just request help I'd like to quickly thank all concerned with the project, both developers and those responsible for support from this community forum. You have enabled me to build a router using old hardware, with solid state only memory, and the capability to load balance over multiple wans. Thank you for that.

    I have an old first generation shuttle box (FV24) configured thus:

    833Mhz (I think, I'm currently soak testing and don't know how to check without rebooting) Via C3
    256 MB Ram
    512 Mb Compact Flash card (connected via an IDE adaptor)
    HP NC7170 dual port PCI-X 1000T gigabit server adapter

    I have three working lan/wan ports, the port onboard the FV24 and two on the NC7170.

    It is my intention to run the box with a load balanced multi-wan setup.  I have a Netgear FA120 that I would like to potentially use as an additional WAN port (alongside the built in motherboard interface and one of the ports on the NC7170). The Shuttle mainboard does not have any more slots (which is why I hunted out a dual port adaptor).  I also have an old (but previously unused) Netgear FA120 that I would like to use as an additional interface (if possible) - I was aware that it was in the supported hardware list, before attempting to do so.

    I have installed from the live CD to the CF card (without a swap drive) and changed the type to "embedded" (and the webGUI reports the installation as embedded).

    When loading initially from the Live CD with the Netgear FA120 connected I was unable to use it as an interface and while it was connected periodically the following message was echoed repeatedly to the screen:

    axe0: read phy failed

    I aborted this, removed the FA120 and successfully installed PfSense without it connected. If I attempted to connect the interface the following message was echoed to the screen (connected for debugging purposes):

    axe0: vendo 0x0846 product 0x1040, rev 2.00/0.01, addr 2 axe0: read phy failed

    The interface did not appear in the webGUI in order to be able to assign it.

    I would be very appreciative of any help or suggestions, as I have no experience that currently allows me to get beyond this point (and a search has yielded nothing). 
    Thanks in advance.



  • Afaik there is right now little to no support for USB-Ethernet :(
    Maybe there is better support after pfSense switches to FreeBSD 7 (the alphas should appear soon).

    A possible solution is to use a VLAN capable switch. On pfSense created VLAN appears as new interface.
    Two gigabit-links to a 26-port-switch (2x gigabit, 24x 100) will give you 24 interfaces you can use and little trafficloss :)
    But i doubt you would have a bandwidth problem with the link ;)



  • @GruensFroeschli:

    …..A possible solution is to use a VLAN capable switch. On pfSense created VLAN appears as new interface.
    Two gigabit-links to a 26-port-switch (2x gigabit, 24x 100) will give you 24 interfaces you can use and little trafficloss :)
    But i doubt you would have a bandwidth problem with the link ;)

    I appreciate the suggestion, even though I know nothing about vlan.

    I have a switch that has "802.1Q VLAN Tagging".  I suspect this isn't what you call a "VLAN capable switch", rather something that just passes vlan traffic.  Is there somewhere that you could point me to to understand vlan's, what they are for, and how they might help me?
    It's the sort of solution that appeals to me, although I probably only need 3-5 wan connections at a maximum - could you suggest a suitable switch?  If I have, say a 48 port switch that supports vlan's, can I just use 3-5 of the prts for WAN and the rest for internal LAN connections?  I did say I really know little/nothing - but would be happy to learn.

    Thank you again for taking the time to suggest a solution.



  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vlan

    Basically you can think of one physical link that becomes seperated in several virtual links. That is happening by adding vlan tags to the packets that are sent on that link. Often such a link is referred to as a trunkport. You then can make some of the switchports be member of specific vlans with untagged traffic to connect a modem or ordinary lanclients for example that don't understand vlan traffic. This way you only need one physical interface in your pfSense and still have networkseperation between the different networks.



  • Thank you for that. I have some practical questions that are probably trivial. I'll try researching the answers before asking stupid questions. Thank you again for both of your help.



  • Search the forum. I remember a thread where somebody put up some nice images how the network looks with vlans, logical and wired view. It should give you a good starting point.


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