Recently I had an idea to replace my temporary firewall with a Nokia IP-650. I had read many posts on the internet of people using a Nokia IP-330 with Endian or other *nix based firewall distributions. Since an IP-330 is a bit low powered for me I looked for e higher end piece of gear, enter the IP-650.
A 50 dollar run through ebay landed an IP-650 on my doorstep shipping included. There seems to be little out there on the web about this unit aside from reviews using the default operating system. The internal hardware list was found in a product document I found after a large amount of searching. The system is Intel based hardware using a Pentium III at 450 MHz. It has dual redundant power supplies, multiple expansion slots and a 2u form factor. The motherboard has a full compliment of features under the case to include an additional Intel 10/100 ethernet port, audio I/O ports and USB. On the underside of the board which has the flash ROM is a 44 pin header similar to that used for laptop hard drives.
Since I am fond of Endian Community Edition and it has served me very well this was my target operating system. I searched for several days before deciding to skip finding more documentation and just try to make things happen. Pulling off the case I learned this was not going to be as easy as I had hoped. The system has no IDE interface on the motherboard and will not boot from USB. To make things a bit more complex the system has a flash ROM it boots from which shows up as the primary master IDE device.
Having had to load a drive on a system with limited options before I jumped right in by loading the hard drive in another system. When I moved it in to place in the IP-650 things failed to boot. The flash ROM being ahead of the HD in drive order was enough to hose the grub configuration which was now on the primary slave drive instead of primary master where it was loaded. Loading the hard drive as primary slave fared no better.
Since I had no documentation on the device and nothing else to go on I decided to put some hardware tinkering to the test. Surveying the boards I located one jumper on the flash ROM board. The jumper was not labeled but as it was the system was no use to me so of course I moved the jumper and booted things up, going straight into the BIOS. To my astonishment the laptop drive I had loaded was not the primary master and the flash ROM the primary slave. No joy however as it failed to boot once I exited the BIOS configuration.
Since I had moved things all over in trying to load it before I figured one more pass couldn’t hurt. I did a clean install with the hard drive as the primary master in my load system. When I placed it back into the Nokia it again failed to load and be accessible via the web interface on any of the network interfaces.
I was a bit aggravated but it had at least boot. To test things out I put a network card into the load system and loaded it once more. This time I went all the way up to initial configuration using the web interface using the load system. Once the initial configuration was done I move the drive over to the Nokia and to my amazement it came up and the web interface was accessible via the on board Intel ethernet port. Checking the configuration showed the 4 additional interfaces on the expansion card.
Now that the system was loaded and would boot and run fine I needed to find a way to mount the laptop drive in a permanent fashion. One option was to order a drive trey from ebay. The other was to fabricate a bracket that attached to the underside of the flash ROM card. Since a drive trey was about 50 bucks delivered it was out. I could get a whole unit for that cost. I got out the Dremel and some 2.5 to 3.5 drive brackets… With the drive a little bit off of the board I had to run a cable to the drive. Luckily I had a short 50 pin cable used in an old Panasonic Toughbook. The cable is about 2 inches in length and covers the drive jumpers as well as all 44 pins. Worked perfect.
I set up the firewall to operate inside my current network and ran it for a few days. During this time I checked on possible options to upgrade the system to specs that would suit my needs. The processor has a limit around 850 MHz being it is a slot 1 style Pentium III with a 100 MHz bus speed. Also considering the age of the system and dual power supplies it was not going to be cheap on feeding. The best option for me was to not use it. I chalked it up to a learning experience and donated to a gentleman at work who needed a device like that to serve as the firewall for a church he was helping to build.