Chromebox CN60 OpnSense Router | Issues with I210-AT NIC

I’ve revisited a project I was stuck on a year or two ago.
I’m converting Chromeboxes (like my CN60) to other purpose-specific machines.

This particular one, I wanted to see if I could get away with using it as a OpnSense box and 3D print a custom case for it.
The CAD model is still a work in progress, but I was able to successfully get it flashed at least a year ago following the MrChromebox guide.

I ran into an issue with using both an m.2 to RJ45 NIC OR a Mini-PCIe to RJ45 NIC though, bringing the project to a halt.
I had figured it was an issue with it being a Realtek NIC, so I also purchased Intel I210-AT models… same issue… not being recognized by any O.S.

I figured I was just missing drivers since OpnSense/PFSense often aren’t lined up exactly on what they support.
Debian, Ubuntu, Windows… none of them recognize them!?

After revisiting this recently, I had an epiphany… why don’t I test the hardware/O.S. on a device that already has a full-fledged O.E.M. bios?..
Sure enough, it worked without issue.

I’ve determined that the Coreboot version my Bios is based on lacks support for these NIC devices entirely.
My suspicions were only affirmed when the Bios menu didn’t show any helpful information about the hardware.

I plan to try installing a newer version, since there has been a ton of bug-fixes and device support added since I installed this Bios version.

My question for anyone still here:
Have you ran into this issue before?

Intel NICs won’t work due to lack of GbE region in the firmware AFAIK.

You could modify the FW and add it, although I’m not exactly sure why Intel NICs require it. I know that when I tried to install 2.5GbE NIC from Intel in Erying motherboard, it wouldn’t work either in stock or my Coreboot port.

Likewise, they also do not work with AMD systems. Not sure why, so GbE region is the only explanation I came up with.

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Thanks for the reply!
This is interesting and unfortunate, as I’ve been told PFSense/OpnSense prefers Intel NICs.

MrChromebox replied to a CoreBoot reddit post I made regarding this issue and sugguested that my Mini-PCI NICs may work if I bridge Pin 7 & Pin 9 using solder due to a grounding issue.

If that works, I’ll update here.
If not, I will try just using the 1 port seeing as I’ll likely never be both UPLOADING and DOWNLOADING 1Gbps simultaneously.
Most things won’t go over 600Mbps for me anyhow, due to the source server.

Alternatively, I also purchased a Zotax ZBox CI327 that has dual Realtek NICs that purportedly function well with PFSense.

Regardless, I’ll update this post if I find solutions.

Well, nobody says you cannot add GbE region if that really is the solution. You definitely would be a first to try that though :smiley:

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