DIY CISCO, or a review of the Lanner FW-7540 network platform

    Yes, yes, you can make a CISCO / Juniper router with your own hands.
    In my posts I will talk about such interesting things as network platforms.

    So, for starters, a small definition of this term:
    Unified Network Platform (from the English Unified Network Platform or UNP) is an open architecture platform that provides convergence of network services, such as:
    • Data network management
    • Network security
    • Network infrastructure
    • Network applications

    UNP provides a set of system-forming network functions through a bunch of open-source operating systems (pfSense, Zentyal, ClearOS, Vyatta, Zeroshell and many others) with general-purpose Intel / AMD equipment (VIA, MIPS, etc.). In this bundle, UNP offers the best of its kind in flexibility, transparency, scalability and extensibility.

    Simply put, a network platform is hardware designed to work in telecommunication networks with installed software tailored for various network tasks (routing, NAT, VPN, proxy, firewall, etc.).

    What does this mean for system administrators / information security specialists of the company? Yes, it’s very simple: now, if you need to build a powerful router for organizing a corporate VPN gateway, or get CISCO / Juniper functionality, only for sane money, this is not possible with the help of something like:
    (photo from my-cool-projects / 2013/03 / replacing-my-ancient-linux-router-with.html )

    and with the help of quite compact and efficient (and sometimes even with passive cooling) iron.

    Today I will talk about the network platform FW-7540 middle-class production of Lanner Inc .:

    The platform has onboard a soldered dual-core Intel Atom D525 Pineview 45nm CPU with support for up to 4GB DDR3 RAM. To control the device, you can use any x86-compatible operating system (Linux, Windows, pfSense and many others).

    Also, despite the low cost of the device, it has four full GbE-interfaces, running Intel 82583V or Intel 82574L controllers:

    Let's move on to a more detailed overview of the platform.
    • The form factor of the Half-rack device, dimensions 215.5 x 44 x 190 mm.
    • Intel ICH8M chipset, support for up to 4GB of DDR3 800Mhz RAM
    • 1x CompactFlash Type II socket; 2x SATA2
    • Passive CPU cooling (heatsink), 1x cooler for system cooling.
    • 1x Mini-PCIe + SIM-reader.
    • 2x USB 2.0
    • 60W power adapter.
    • 4x GbE interface. 4x Intel 82583V / 82574L controllers.
    • 2 pairs of ports with support for G2 Bypass *
    • 1x Console RJ45 port.
    • Weight: 1.2 kg.
    • BIOS: AMI BIOS, 16Mbit SPI Flash ROM

    * Bypass - a function that allows you to switch the input signal directly to the output bypassing all the functional blocks. (If the device “hangs”, the traffic switching on these interfaces will continue without interruption).

    The body of the device is made with high quality, rather thick walls and edges do not cut fingers. On the sides of the case there are holes for fasteners in a 19 ”rack.

    The standard package includes:
    1. Platform FW-7540B (Modification B indicates Bypass * feature)
    2. 60W power adapter, power cable.
    3. Factory patch cord 2m.
    4. Console wire DB9-RJ45.
    5. Sticker on the front side.
    6. A disk with drivers.
    7. Rubber feet.

    From the expansion interfaces on the board there is a Mini-PCIe with a SIM reader for connecting embedded 3G modems. To control the device, the RJ45 console port is used, but the board also has pins for connecting a cable with a VGA connector (DB15), which can be installed in place of the plug on the device wall.
    To cool the CPU, a radiator is used, which is quite enough for the “baby” with TDP 13W. And the only cooler cools the system, expelling heated air.

    To manage network platforms, they usually use free open-source software (which is often configured not only from the console, but also via the web interface):
    pfSense is a powerful multi-functional router based on FreeBSD,
    Vyatta is a router with JunOS interface, based on Debian,
    Asterisk - allows you to make a full-fledged IP - PBX, it can be part of pfSense,
    ClearOS , FreeNAS , Zeroshell , etc.

    This device is ideal for small and medium-sized businesses. With its help, you can build a high-performance distribution node of the corporate network. For example, when installing on the Vyatta OS platform, you get CISCO / Juniper class equipment many times cheaper.

    In the future, I will talk about other models of network platforms (for example, the Swiss company PC Engines), and also describe an interesting experience in their application, configuration, problem solving and, of course, performance testing in comparison with the aforementioned giants (CISCO / Juniper).

    PS. Thank you for your attention, I will be glad to wish you on the topic of the next article.

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