RCC-VE (SG) 4860 and 2nd Mini PCIe slot



  • I have an RCC-VE 4860 with a WLE200NX Atheros wifi card factory-installed in the 1st Mini PCIe slot. This is recognized by pfSense as ath0 on boot. I needed a 2nd wifi and decided to install a 2nd WLE200NX in the 2nd Mini PCIe slot. The 2nd card is recognized by pfSense as ath1, but any SSID configured on it is not working (not visible to clients) and I get periodic messages in the console:

    ath1: device timeout

    I also have multiple WLE200NX available so I tried a couple that I know are good in that 2nd Mini PCIe slot and they all had the same behavior. I've read the official RCC-VE manual and could not find any restrictions on this slot.

    Is the 2nd Mini PCIe slot in the RCC-VE 4860 supposed to work with a wifi card?

    <edit>I have re-tested with just a single WLE200NX in the 2nd slot while leaving the 1st slot empty and I am seeing the same issue. To rule out any hardware fault I have recreated the same hardware configuration on my spare 4860 box with a different set of components and I am seeing the same issue.</edit>



  • Here are the miniPCIe slots, and witch one you were using for what please?
    If you have a mSATA in usage you can only try out the other two miniPCIe slots and if there is no
    mSATA in usage you should also using only the other both miniPCIe slots too as I see it right. So
    the mSATA slot is only for the usage with the mSATA drive together and not other cards in my
    understanding.

    ![pfSense SG-2440_2.png](/public/imported_attachments/1/pfSense SG-2440_2.png)
    ![pfSense SG-2440_2.png_thumb](/public/imported_attachments/1/pfSense SG-2440_2.png_thumb)



  • I am using the 2 Mini PCIe slots (the 2 slots on the left in your picture) for the 2x WLE200NX wifi cards. I already have a SSD in the mSATA slot and my pfSense is booting from that SSD.

    Is there any reason why you've tagged the upper Mini PCIe slot (slot B as per the manual) as "Modem and SIM"? I've gone through the official manual and haven't noticed any restrictions on the type of cards that can go into that slot.



  • @bkraptor:

    Is there any reason why you've tagged the upper Mini PCIe slot (slot B as per the manual) as "Modem and SIM"? I've gone through the official manual and haven't noticed any restrictions on the type of cards that can go into that slot.

    There aren't any restrictions AFAIK. It's just labeled that way because if you're using a mini-PCIe modem with SIM it has to be in that slot.



  • I have re-tested with just a single WLE200NX in the 2nd slot (the one with the SIM card slot) while leaving the 1st slot empty and I am seeing the same issue where the card malfunctions and I see "ath0: device timeout" in the console. The same card works fine in the 1st slot. I have tested this setup with 2 different 4860 boxes and several WLE200NX cards, so I am inclined to rule out hardware issues.

    I noticed some jumpers next to the 2nd slot. The manual mentions that they are used for an USB connection between the slot and the CPU. Would these jumpers need to be changed from the factory position to get the card to work in the 2nd slot?



  • Would these jumpers need to be changed from the factory position to get the card to work in the 2nd slot?

    What slot is this exactly? The modem one, the WiFi on or the mSATA one?



  • I am referring to the jumpers next to the slot labelled "Mini PCIe Slot B" in the reference manual.




  • Adding an update for those interested in the outcome of this thread. I've contacted Netgate support and they claim the upper slot (marked as "Mini PCIe Slot B" in the picture above) is compatible only with 3G/4G modems. I respectfully disagree with their point of view based on the stated specifications.

    "2x full length mPCIe slots, one with micro-SIM. Also supports half length cards."
    "Additional communications options are possible with miniPCIe slots for WiFi or 3G/4G/LTE cellular cards."
    

    This is a PSA for anyone looking to buy a RCC-VE – keep in mind that the devices may not meet the specs. I know it may sound like a rant, but this is not the kind of support I expected from a company that wants to break into the Enterprise space.



  • Adding an update for those interested in the outcome of this thread. I've contacted Netgate support and they claim the upper slot (marked as "Mini PCIe Slot B" in the picture above) is compatible only with 3G/4G modems. I respectfully disagree with their point of view based on the stated specifications.

    Ok this might be not really useful for you but if it is so you can not do anything else.

    "2x full length mPCIe slots, one with micro-SIM. Also supports half length cards."

    Ok but what is then not real here? All that is written there is real, or am I wrong with this now.

    "Additional communications options are possible with miniPCIe slots for WiFi or 3G/4G/LTE cellular cards."

    There is standing or and not and, and this indicates for me that one slot is for WiFi and another one for
    the modem (with the SIM).

    This is a PSA for anyone looking to buy a RCC-VE – keep in mind that the devices may not meet the specs.

    There are three miniPCIe slots;

    • one is shared with the SATA port with mSATA support
    • one is for WiFi cards
    • one is for modems + SIM cards

    I know it may sound like a rant, but this is not the kind of support I expected from a company that wants to break into the Enterprise space.

    Not really and for sure perhaps annoyed for you personally and yes it could be written more specific or clear
    in that manual or at the website of this unit(s), but on the other side it has nothing to do with the enterprise
    area or field. This would be in my eyes more coming together with the XG- Series and the Xeon D-15xx
    platform or custom made boards such as the XG-2758. Something likes the N3050, N3150 and N3700
    as the entry level and the SG units as the mid ranged level and on top of this as pro series the XG Series
    then we are talking not really in any kind of that about the enterprise market, its a part of that all but not
    more for me. Together with the fully new written version 3.0 this could be making then more sense or
    is coming nearly that.



  • We're looking into the issue.


  • Netgate

    As Chris states, we're looking into the issue (I just got back from the gym, and this started to go down about the time I left for the gym).

    This bit:

    @bkraptor:

    <edit>I have re-tested with just a single WLE200NX in the 2nd slot while leaving the 1st slot empty and I am seeing the same issue. To rule out any hardware fault I have recreated the same hardware configuration on my spare 4860 box with a different set of components and I am seeing the same issue.</edit>

    Helps, and I agree that you shouldn't be seeing that.

    This bit:

    @bkraptor:

    This is a PSA for anyone looking to buy a RCC-VE – keep in mind that the devices may not meet the specs. I know it may sound like a rant, but this is not the kind of support I expected from a company that wants to break into the Enterprise space.

    Is, explicitly as you state, a rant.  There is no "may" about it.  You didn't even attempt to escalate with Netgate (and I would know).

    In any case, purely as an aside, and as the source of the "is compatible only with 3G/4G modems" comment, running two 802.11 radios in that kind of proximity is stupid.  Yes, I said stupid.  I've ranted online about the subject at length for (over) a decade now.  All you really need to do is use Google for "jim thompson" "802.11" and "adjacent channel rejection" to find these.



  • @cmb:

    We're looking into the issue.

    Thank you for looking into it. I can provide access to one of the affected boxes if needed.

    @jwt:

    This bit:

    @bkraptor:

    <edit>I have re-tested with just a single WLE200NX in the 2nd slot while leaving the 1st slot empty and I am seeing the same issue. To rule out any hardware fault I have recreated the same hardware configuration on my spare 4860 box with a different set of components and I am seeing the same issue.</edit>

    Helps, and I agree that you shouldn't be seeing that.

    Thanks for looking into it.

    @jwt:

    This bit:

    @bkraptor:

    This is a PSA for anyone looking to buy a RCC-VE – keep in mind that the devices may not meet the specs. I know it may sound like a rant, but this is not the kind of support I expected from a company that wants to break into the Enterprise space.

    Is, explicitly as you state, a rant.  There is no "may" about it.  You didn't even attempt to escalate with Netgate (and I would know).

    I'm not a native English speaker, so the subtleties of words and phrases sometimes escape me, apologies for that. I thought that phrases like "please escalate this issue internally" and "I'd like to have this case transferred to your supervisor" would count as attempting to escalate. What triggered the rant in the end was the support person saying there's nothing more they can do for my case. I can provide full conversation logs over PM if that helps fill in any gaps.

    @jwt:

    In any case, purely as an aside, and as the source of the "is compatible only with 3G/4G modems" comment, running two 802.11 radios in that kind of proximity is stupid.  Yes, I said stupid.  I've ranted online about the subject at length for (over) a decade now.  All you really need to do is use Google for "jim thompson" "802.11" and "adjacent channel rejection" to find these.

    I don't have the RF background necessary to judge one way or the other, but given the number of consumer routers equipped with multiple radios I'd suspect this should not be a problem for my use case – running the two radios in different frequency bands. Thanks for the suggestion though, I will look into it.

    Again, thanks for looking into this issue.


  • Netgate

    I've looked into it.  You can see the notes in the ticket.  Yes, there is a issue with the miniPCIe socket that has the uSIM on it.

    We'll investigate the actual cause.


  • Netgate

    We understand the issue now, and the good news is that it can be fixed by a change to coreboot.

    I've tested a preliminary fix.

    Now we just have to do the engineering / testing of same to get it to production.



  • @jwt:

    We understand the issue now, and the good news is that it can be fixed by a change to coreboot.

    I've tested a preliminary fix.

    Now we just have to do the engineering / testing of same to get it to production.

    Thanks for the update. I'm really pleased with this news and look forward to the coreboot update.

    @bkraptor:

    This is a PSA for anyone looking to buy a RCC-VE – keep in mind that the devices may not meet the specs. I know it may sound like a rant, but this is not the kind of support I expected from a company that wants to break into the Enterprise space.

    Wanted to update on this because jwt has provided excellent support since my last post here. I am happy with the outcome of my support case.


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