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Hi. I'm a Unix Administrator, mathematics enthusiast, and amateur philosopher. This is where I rant about that which upsets me, laugh about that which amuses me, and jabber about that which holds my interest most: Unix.
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EdgeRouter Lite + OpenBSD + Goal Zero Yeti solar power pack

Posted 08-10-2017 at 02:23 AM by rocket357

A lot has changed in my home network since I last wrote here on LQ. I moved to a new rental and during the course of re-arranging everything on my network countless times, I started to get a bit irritated with having to constantly shutdown/startup my new firewall. The new firewall, speaking of, is an octeon low-power box, specifically the EdgeRouter Lite, running OpenBSD. Rebooting it is relatively painless, unless you include the speed at which my kids report internet issues (It's an entirely different topic of conversation, but this summer has been a fight to get them to go outside to play).

Before I delve into the latest network fiasco, a few thoughts on the EdgeRouter Lite/OpenBSD combination. For starters, the traffic to internet caps at around 130 Mbps, which is around half of what my connection is rated at =\. I'm not 100% certain, as I haven't performed any real testing yet, but I have traffic going through a group of vlan interfaces hanging on the physical cnmac1, routed through pf to cnmac0, which has a public IP (courtesy of my "dumb" SB6141). Whether or not the vlans influence speed testing, I can't say. I wouldn't imagine they do, but those are the numbers I'm seeing with this configuration. Again, no real testing has been performed in an alternate configuration, as this has worked "well enough" as long as I can keep the firewall from having to be rebooted to move.

Now then, back to the fun network issue. I got tired of rebooting my network devices, so I pulled a Goal Zero Yeti 400 out of my garage and plugged in the SB6141, EdgeRouter, and my Buffalo n600. The n600 is hanging off of cnmac2, so no vlans for it. All told, the three pull around 25W from a 400Wh power pack (which I have plugged in to wall power to keep it topped off, per the manufacturer's instruction). I should, in theory, have at least 8 hours of runtime before the battery in the Yeti hits 50%. This is more than sufficient for my needs, and will keep me from having to re-arrange console cables and such =)

Now the fun part...in an unrelated series of actions, I swapped a monitor around on my desk and ended up with two monitor power plugs in hand (the monitor I moved, and the other monitor which now doesn't reach the power strip). The Yeti is on my desk, and the power strip is under my desk. I didn't feel like bending down to plug them in to the power strip, as I recently pulled a muscle in my neck. I plugged them both in to the strip plugged in to the Yeti.

A few moments later, my son pipes up with "Dad, the internet is broken."

"Oh? Let me..." I started to say.

"Dad! Alexa is broken! I can't listen to music!" my daughter yells from the other room.

Sigh. I broke something. My brain starts back through all of the recent changes I've made to the firewall config.

Troubleshooting: Cisco switch has zero light for the cnmac1 trunk port. The cnmac1 port on the EdgeRouter is blinking yellow. Yep, I broke stuff. Console in to the EdgeRouter and reboot it.

A few minutes later, I'm logged back in on the EdgeRouter, and now both cnmac1 and cnmac2 are blinking yellow. I suspect that cnmac2 was blinking yellow prior to the reboot, as that's the WAP port, and the Alexa devices in my house are all wireless, but I can't confirm as I didn't happen to notice before the reboot. OpenBSD reports no carrier for cnmac1. I start wondering whether or not I bricked the EdgeRouter. Ping to the internet from the EdgeRouter is ok, though...so it really appears to just be an issue with the ports. I swap the cable to a new port on the Cisco switch, which produces no change. I reboot the n600, again, no change. The EdgeRouter is starting to scare me, but at $100 a pop I did happen to purchase two of them, and the backup is sitting on top of my desk (thankfully it wasn't *beneath* my desk heh).

As a last ditch effort, thinking perhaps I caused the EdgeRouter to partially brown out when I plugged the monitors in to the Yeti, I remove the monitors from the Yeti power strip, and perform a full power cycle of the EdgeRouter.

This goes down in my book of odd network problems I've caused, as I've not seen that before. cnmac0 was alive and well, sending and receiving traffic, but cnmac1 and cnmac2 were both out of service. OpenBSD remained responsive through the entire ordeal, dmesg reported no oddities with the hardware, but the ports were completely useless. A reboot did nothing, and only a full power cycle restored the ports.
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