Pfsense on ALIX-3D - Adding mini-pci 10/100 LAN cards

  • Hi - First post on the boards. Been using pfsense for 2 years and very happy with it.

    Recently I got given an ALIX 3D very small cased single lan box.

    It's 6 inches long and about an inch high, single VIA VT6105M lan, serial, two mini pci slots, compactflash, 256mb ram, 2xUSB and 12v 3a power.

    I thought it wouldn't be hard to find a mini-pci lan card - I thought wrong. Apart from some seriously overpriced realtek rubbish with the rj45 port attached the only other devices I could find was the 3com 3CNAC1556B lan/modem combo & the intel pro 100 lan/modem combo mini pci cards.

    These cards were designed back when lan was an option for many business laptops, and could be easily added. Trouble is that the cable from the card to the ports was mostly built-in to the laptops and finding the cable meant purchasing one of these old laptops and pulling it apart.

    After much searching the connector is part of the early mini-pci specification and I found the pinouts. Out of 14 pins we only need to connect 4.

    Pin 1 is located here

    RJ45 uses pins 1,2,3,6 for 10/100 lan.

    The pinouts for the card are as follows :

    CARD 11 - 1 RJ45
    CARD 10 - 2 RJ45
    CARD 09 - 3 RJ45
    CARD 06 - 6 RJ45

    Finished product here - Just need to route the rj45 port (robbed from an old PCMCIA card) externally, and cover the soldered areas.

    My only question is - as these cards have a built in modem, could this interfere with anything that I hadn't considered?

    I intend on adding another to hopefully do some gateway group stuff.

    I hope this information helps someone - It took me quite a while to find the correct pinouts so posted it here for reference.

  • Wow, that's a lot of work for an additional NIC on an end of life platform. :) Neat project for the hack value though, thanks for sharing.

    The modem may not have a driver at all in FreeBSD (some searching seems to indicate people have trouble finding one for Windows for that matter), or if it does, it'll just show up as an additional serial port. It won't interfere with anything either way.

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