Getting Modem Statistics to Cacti

I’ve been having problems with a flaky DSL connection from CenturyLink. My modem would frequently ‘retrain,’ that is, disconnect and reconnect the DSL session. This is rather annoying, and since I use VoIP for most phone calls when I’m at home, very irritating.

I wanted a method to log the modem’s statistics and see if I could find any correlation with the drops. One of the unfortunate realities with consumer level equipment is the lack of standard monitoring capabilities. Most enterprise level equipment support SNMP, which allows various software programs to request information.

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Project Steelwall – pfSense on a Steelhead

I acquired for a reasonable price an old Riverbed Steelhead SHA-250. These are no longer supported by Riverbed, so they can be fairly inexpensive second hand.

The Steelheads all seem to be x86 based, which makes them a great appliance for pfSense. With just a little bit of work, it is easy to turn one of these appliances into a great firewall.

The SHA-250 I have has the following specs:

  • Intel Celeron-M 1.66GHz Processor
  • 1GB DDR2 RAM
  • 120GB SATA hard drive
  • 2GB flash drive, connected to an internal USB header
  • 4x Intel Gigabit Ethernet ports (*bypass pair not working in pfSense)
  • 2x External USB 2.0 ports
  • 1x DB-9 Serial Port for console

Since this will be used for my firewall at home, I removed the hard drive to conserve power and installed pfSense on the internal flash drive. Also, I can only get two of the four network ports working. The bypass pair seem to be missing some software component for them to work.

Photos can be found at the bottom of the post.

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