GnuBee Personal Cloud 2

A low-cost, low-power NAS for 3.5" drives

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Oct 17, 2017

Project update 2 of 6

Beta Boards, 4-byte Mode, and Ethernet Bonding

In this update, we show off some pics of the beta versions of the GnuBee Personal Cloud 2 PCB assembly, give an update on 4-byte mode, and discuss Ethernet bonding.

Latest Prototype

After a few misfires with our manufacturer, we finally got a working version of the latest GB-PC2 prototype.

GB-PC2 beta board (top)
GB-PC2 beta board (bottom)

Test results and benchmarks will be forthcoming.

4-byte Mode: What and Why?

The GnuBee Personal Clouds (both 1 and 2) use the Das U-Boot bootloader stored on a Serial Peripheral Interface (SPI) NOR flash memory chip. The chip used on the GnuBee Personal Cloud 1 is a 32 MB Winbond W25Q256FV, which does not support the full 4-byte address command set and requires a SPI reset patch to reboot cleanly.

This is annoying, so we’ve sourced another 32 MB SPI NOR flash memory chip that does support the full 4-byte address command set. This new chip will be used on all GB-PC2 boards and all subsequent manufacturing runs of the GB-PC1 boards.

If that wasn’t esoteric enough for you, a more detailed description of the problem can be found in a thread about a LEDE project pull request.

Ethernet Bonding

As described on the main campaign page, two of the three Gigabit Ethernet ports on the GB-PC2 support Ethernet bonding. Broadly speaking, Ethernet bonding is the ability to join two or more network connections so they work together and appear as a single network connection, providing protection against cable or port failures, and optionally increased speed, depending on the desired configuration.

There are several possible configurations, which are well explained in this Debian Admin article. The bonding itself is implemented in kernel space. Each bonding configuration requires a separate kernel module to operate. We will compile and include modules for all bonding configurations in the default firmware, so the end user will have their pick of Ethernet bonding configuration options.

Thanks for all your support and stay tuned for more updates. In the meantime, be sure to check out the main campaign page as well.

Larry and GnuBee Team

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