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Nokia IP690 – Hardware


The Nokia IP690 is a 1u form factor rack mount unit. Aside from that the internal hardware is almost shrouded in secrecy it seems as little is known or published about it on the Internet. I hope to shed a little light on that here…

Nokia IP690
Full View

Basic Data:

  • 1u
  • 24.5 inches deep
  • Dual A/C Power Supplies
  • 4 x Card Slots
  • 1 USB Port
  • 1 RJ-45 Serial Console Port

I got my unit from ebay. The auction was a “Buy it now” for 195$, after shipping it landed here for 233$. The hardware inside:

  • 40gb Fujitsu Hard Drive
  • 2gb RAM
  • 128mb CF Card
  • 1 x 4 Port 1000BaseTX Ethernet Card (Intel Based RJ-45 Copper Ethernet)
  • 2 x 2 Port 1000BaseSX Ethernet Cards (Intel Based SFP Fiber)
  • 4 x Finisar FTLF8519P2BNL SFPs (Fiber Optics)
  • 1 x Encryption Accelerator Card

The Front of the Unit:

Nokia IP690 Front
Nokia IP690 Front

Shown above is the front of the IP690 as I received it. Installed are the two 2-Port gigabit fiber cards on the left and the one 4-Port gigabit ethernet card on the right. In the center left is the RJ-45 Serial Console port. To the right of that is a standard USB port. I have read several posts, articles and how-tos on other Nokia IP units that list the USB port on the front as a console port. That is NOT the case here, it is truly a USB port.

The Internals:

The motherboard is proprietary for sure. The chassis has a slide out plate/trey which pulls out the front when the two screws, one on either side, are removed. There is a catch about 4 inches in that prevents the entire plate/trey from sliding all the way out and falling in your lap. Press the catch to release the plate/trey and remove it completely. The power and rear fan assembly are connected via quick-connect molded plugs so there are no cables to remove or undo.

Nokia IP690 Motherboard
Nokia IP690 Motherboard

From poking around inside the chassis we learn the following is available:

  • Intel Xeon(TM) CPU @ 2.00GHz (Dual Core)
  • 2 x SATA Ports with Fixed Drive Mounts
  • 1 x CF Card Slot
  • 4 x Memory slots
  • 4 x External facing Expansion slots
  • 1 x Internal Only Expansion Slot
  • Dual 7-Segment Diagnostic LED
  • An Unknown header

The Intel Xeon CPU is a dual core, Low Voltage model. The product code correlates to a Sossaman core with a max core clock of 2.16GHz. The CPU is parked under the largest heat sink in the rear, center of the motherboard.

Nokia IP690 CPU
Nokia IP690 CPU

The SATA drive mounts provide both mounting and power & data connections. From the factory the drive(s) can only be used for storing logs and other data. They can be used for storing the OS, but in that case are still not used for booting. Instead the CF card contains the boot loader.

Nokia IP690 SATA
Nokia IP690 SATA

The SATA interface is from the first generation and supports only SATA150. The dmesg output indicates the SATA along with a few other devices are on an Intel 6300ESB controller. Be warned, SATA drives should work backwards, such as to say a SATA3 drive should work on SATA150, however in the case of some they do not. I originally tried a pair of OCZ ARC100 SSD drives and was hammered with I/O errors. More on that elsewhere. The replacement drives are a pair of WD Scorpio Blacks:

Replacement WD Drives
Replacement WD Drives

Right next to the two SATA mounting points is the CF Card Slot. This is unfortunately not accessible without removing the system from the chassis. As the default configuration uses this for the boot loader I suspect one could easily flash the CF image to a card and boot from it rather easily. My goal was to use hard drives so this theory is untested. Presently the CF card is removed from the system.

Nokia IP690 CF Card Slot
Nokia IP690 CF Card Slot

On the opposite side of the motherboard lie the 4 memory slots. The RAM modules mine came with were 1gb each. The type is PC2-3200 DDR2 400.

Nokia IP690 Original Memory
Nokia IP690 Original Memory

I replaced the two modules it arrived with using four modules from ebay to max it out at the supported capacity of 8gb (according to Nokia spec). The new modules are HP part numbers, but from the same OEM (Micron) and are PC2-5300 DDR2 667. In both cases it is ECC, Registered memory.

Nokia IP690 Replacement Memory
Nokia IP690 Replacement Memory

The external facing and internal expansion cards appear to be PCI-X. There are a few lines in the kernel logs noting the presence of PCI-E however all of the network interface cards are reported as PCI-X so I am inclined to say the PCI-E lanes (if really present) were simply not connected. The output for a single interface using “pciconf -lVvbc”:

em7@pci0:7:14:1: class=0x020000 card=0x050613b8 chip=0x10108086 rev=0x03 hdr=0x00
    class = network
    subclass = ethernet
    bar [10] = type Memory, range 64, base 0x80160000, size 131072, enabled
    bar [20] = type I/O Port, range 32, base 0x3000, size 64, enabled
    cap 01[dc] = powerspec 2 supports D0 D3 current D0
    cap 07[e4] = PCI-X supports 133MHz, 4096 burst read, 1 split transaction
    cap 05[f0] = MSI supports 1 message, 64 bit
Nokia IP690 PMC Slots
Nokia IP690 PMC Slots
Un-Populated & Populated

The cards are not hot-swappable. They use 3 long connectors for the electrical connection and are held in place with 4 screws. The four front facing slots are all along the front. The internal slot does not breach the chassis anywhere and is located in the rear of the unit in front of the fan connector. This slot is used for the encryption accelerator which is included in the IP690 by default.

Nokia IP690 Internal Expansion Slot
Nokia IP690 Internal Expansion Slot

The Encryption Accelerator Card is a Cavium Nitrox II. It is recognized by pfsense on boot up but is presently unsupported. In reading several forum posts there is an SDK out that allow it to be supported but this has not be used for BSD so far as I can tell. It would be very nice to be able to use it, but for now, no dice. Below is a picture with the heat spreader removed.

Nokia IP690 Encryption Card
Nokia IP690 Encryption Card
none3@pci0:9:1:0:	class=0x100000 card=0x041013b8 chip=0x0002177d rev=0x01 hdr=0x00
    class      = encrypt/decrypt
    subclass   = network/computer crypto
    bar   [10] = type I/O Port, range 32, base 0x2100, size 256, enabled
    bar   [18] = type I/O Port, range 32, base 0x2000, size 256, enabled
    cap 07[e0] = PCI-X 64-bit supports 133MHz, 4096 burst read, 32 split transactions
    cap 01[e8] = powerspec 2  supports D0 D3  current D0
    cap 05[f0] = MSI supports 1 message, 64 bit

In between the expansion slots in the front of the system is the dual 7-segment diagnostic LED. This is typical of what you may see on standard PC servers/systems. It will display a two character code which indicates the current status. This can be useful when trying to get the system loaded but is not viewable while the system is assembled. To make sure it was what I thought it was I removed the top cover so I can see inside the system while it was running.

Nokia IP690 Diag LED
Nokia IP690 Diag LED

Just above the LED one can see a header. I am not sure what this is for. It is un-labeled and does not fit any standard key patterns I am aware of. It is close to a USB in that it has the right size and almost the right number of pins however most USB headers are keyed where this is not. Measuing the pins I also did not find 5 volts DC which is required for USB. A few of the pins have 3v and the rest I don’t recall.

So, after tearing it apart I re-assembled the machine and upgraded the RAM and hard drives. I removed the CF Card and proceeded with the load/testing phase. Once I finished all my tests and loading efforts I took one last pic before putting it back together for installation in to my network:

Nokia IP690 - Refit
Nokia IP690 – Refit

Have any Question or Comment?

2 comments on “Nokia IP690 – Hardware

Hi there,
it’s a nice platform, albeit incredibly loud thank to its fans…
I bought one recently, and got it to work with OpenWrt 15.05.1 “Chaos Calmer”.
Mine came with two 4x1000BASE-T cards, a 80GB SATA HDD, 2x2GHz Xeon and two 1GB PC2-5300P (old unbuffered ECC chips – not registered, let alone fully buffered!). To my knowledge, the system was disk-based and had a 128MB compact flash card, which I replaced with a 512MB one. The installation process is very simple – just flash the image on the card and put it in the slot, the device should boot right away. Fortunately I’ve got a laptop with a serial interface and made a console cable to control the device when setting it up; it’s a must with no VGA output. The BIOS and original OS works with 9600 8n1, but OpenWrt uses 38400 8n1 by standard, and needs to be tweaked; the i386 image has a separate partition for /boot and uses GRUB as a boot manager, so the kernel command line can be adjusted in grub.conf.
Since the CPU is i386 and not amd64, I had to use the x86 generic OpenWrt image. “cat /proc/cpuinfo” and “cat /proc/meminfo” output was a bit surprising though, as I saw one CPU and 1GB RAM. Turned out the kernel doesn’t support PAE or SMP. I tried building a custom OpenWrt image and failed (the compilation process is very complex and automatically fetches some sources with wget, but they’re are no longer available and 404 leads to errors), then tested a few kernels from other OpenWrt distributions and settled for 4.9.xx from trunk LEDE.
I added another HDD and set up a btrfs RAID1. It’ll be used for logs and a local postgres database for a few systems I have on my network.
Right now I’m keen on getting one or two SFP modules since we’re going to have a fiber WAN connected, and I’d also like to run a length to the other building and terminate it with a smart switch. OpenWrt is pretty easy to configure and after a few hours I got a VLAN trunk over a 802.1d aggregated link up and running.
I even managed to add a backup WAN link on a 3G USB modem.

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