The NTA1000 from QA Cafe is a turn-key hardware appliance optimized for use with CDRouter - the CPE industry’s leading functional test verification tool. The NTA1000 is equipped with a variety of test interfaces offering tremendous flexibility in a compact 1U form factor.
If at any time you have additional questions or would like additional assistance, please contact QA Cafe Support.
This document refers to the NTA1000v5. If you are not using an NTA1000v5 or are unsure which version you have, please refer to NTA1000 Versions
Throughout the remainder of this document the NTA1000v5 will be referred to simply as the NTA1000.
What’s in the box?
Here’s what you’ll find in the box:
- (1) NTA1000 system
- (8) ethernet cables
- (6) dual band antennas
- (6) magnetic antenna mounts
- (1) console port cable assembly
- (1) documentation pack
- (1) power cord
- (1) SMA finger wrench
- (1) USB stick for re-imaging the internal drives
The NTA1000 is very easy to install and use. Simply unpack the NTA1000, set it up in a convenient location, plug the power cable in, connect the MGMT port on the front panel to your corporate LAN, and turn it on. When the NTA1000 has fully booted, it will display the MGMT port’s IP address on the LCD screen. At this point you can load CDRouter’s web interface and begin testing, or perform operating system administration and maintenance locally (by connecting a monitor, keyboard, and mouse) or remotely via SSH (credentials provided below).
More detailed information on the NTA1000 is provided in the sections below. If at any point you have any questions, please contact QA Cafe Support.
The NTA1000 is based on an Intel® Core™ i7-4790S CPU @ 3.20GHz CPU with 32GB of RAM, a small 128GB SSD for the operating system, and a larger 4TB hard disk for user data. For a complete list of hardware specifications, please see the NTA1000 data sheet:
The NTA1000 includes a full-range 300W ATX power supply. Specifically, the operating conditions supported by the NTA1000 are:
- Voltage: 100 - 240 VAC
- Frequency: 47 - 63 Hz
- Current demand (max): 2 - 4 A
The NTA1000 is equipped with eight Gigabit Ethernet ports accessible from the front panel. Of these eight ports, seven are available for use as CDRouter test interfaces, and one is reserved for management access.
The seven CDRouter test ports are labeled ETH1 through ETH7. The management port is labeled MGMT. The MGMT port supports both DHCP and static addressing, as discussed in the section below. By default, the MGMT port is configured for DHCP. Ports ETH1 through ETH7 have all been configured for use as CDRouter test interfaces.
Note: The seven test ports map directly to the same interface names within the operating system (eth1 through eth7). The MGMT port maps to eth0 within the operating system.
The NTA1000 includes two wireless interface cards for testing. A SparkLAN WPEA-352ACN (Atheros QCA9880) mini PCIe card provides dual-band 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac wireless functionality. A SparkLAN WPEA-127N (Atheros AR9380) mini PCIe card provides dual-band 802.11 a/b/g/n wireless functionality. The Atheros QCA9880 card is wlan0 within the operating system. The Atheros AR9380 card is wlan1 within the operating system.
Please note that 802.11ac testing requires the use of the Atheros QCA9880 card (wlan0). Also note that testing with multiple wireless clients on a single wireless interface requires the use of the Atheros AR9380 card (wlan1).
The wireless cards have been configured for use as CDRouter test interfaces, and their antenna connections are accessible on the rear panel of the NTA1000 via RP-SMA connectors. Both cards have three RP-SMA connectors emerging from an expansion slot in the back of the unit. Facing the rear panel, the three connectors on the left are for the Atheros AR9380 card (wlan1); the three connectors on the right are for the Atheros QCA9880 card (wlan0).
If you plan to use the NTA1000’s wireless interfaces, you must attach suitable antennas. Six magnetic dual-band antennas with six foot pigtails are provided with the NTA1000. Because of the density of the RP-SMA connectors on the back panel, it’s easier to connect the antennas to the pigtail bases, and the pigtails to the rear connectors. The six foot pigtails also provide some flexibility for antenna placement. Signal quality will generally be better if the antennas are in close proximity to the device under test (DUT).
The NTA1000 also includes a front panel LCD screen. There are several screens that you can scroll through using the up and down arrow buttons. These screens include information such as: IP address of the MGMT port, CDRouter version, NTA1000 hardware version and disk image version, CDRouter System ID, operating system and kernel version, the package (if any) that CDRouter is currently running, current date/time including system uptime, and the CDRouter license expiration date. The LCD panel backlight will dim after 60 minutes of inactivity (no buttons pressed). Pressing any button will bring the LCD back to full brightness.
The IP address of the MGMT port allows you to install and access the NTA1000 without the use of a monitor. Just connect the MGMT port to your network and power the NTA1000 on. After the system boots the management port’s IP address will be displayed. At this point you can connect to the system remotely via SSH or load the CDRouter web interface to begin testing.
The NTA1000 is also equipped with a front panel serial console port, which can be used for local administration of the operating system. The console port should be connected to a computer running VT100 terminal emulation software. The console port has the following settings:
- Speed: 115200
- Data bits: 8
- Parity: none
- Stop bits: 1
You can connect to the console port to a USB port on your computer using an RJ45 (8P8C) to DB-9 (DE-9) rollover cable followed by a DB-9 (DE-9) to USB serial adapter. This cable assembly is included with your purchase of the NTA1000. The system authentication is the same as the rest of the system, and is listed later in this document.
The NTA1000 ships with a slightly modified 64-bit CentOS 7.2 operating system. Some of the changes to the stock CentOS distribution include:
- Custom disk partition layout
- 4.4 (long-term) kernel
- Full yum update
- The addition of some packages required by CDRouter
- Removal of some packages and services not required by CDRouter
- Configuration of the MGMT port, seven Ethernet test interfaces, and wireless test interfaces
- Minor cosmetic tweaks
- SELinux disabled
- Firmware for the Atheros QCA9880 wireless card installed.
- Newer wireless regulatory database installed.
- TCP congestion control set to reno
The NTA1000 includes two internal disks: one for the OS and one for data.
The OS disk (/dev/sda) is a 128GB SSD, partitioned as follows:
- /dev/sda1: 1 MiB; BIOS Boot partition
- /dev/sda2: 1 GiB; the /boot directory is mounted here
- /dev/sda3: 4 GiB; swap
- /dev/sda4: rest of disk; the / directory is mounted here
The data disk (/dev/sdb) is a 4TB hard drive, partitioned as follows:
- /dev/sdb1: entire disk; the /userdata directory is mounted here
The /usr/cdrouter-data directory is bind mounted to /userdata/cdrouter-data directory, allowing it to make full use of the large data disk.
The /usr/cdrouter-data directory has been isolated from the main operating system to allow for multiple recovery options in the event of a software failure or OS disk crash. All CDRouter devices, configs, packages, and test results are stored in the /usr/cdrouter-data directory.
These partitions require no action on the part of the user. The disk layout and partitioning scheme is presented for information only.
Administration and default login credentials
The NTA1000’s default login credentials are:
- Login: qacafe
- Password: cdrouter
These credentials can be changed at your discretion and are required for local or remote administration of the operating system. Local administration is possible at any time via the front panel console port or by connecting a standard monitor to the front panel VGA port and a keyboard and mouse to the USB ports on the front panel.
Remote administration is available via SSH on the MGMT port. The LCD screen will display the IP of the MGMT port making it possible to remotely administer the system without needing a monitor, keyboard, and mouse.
The NTA1000 is shipped with the firewall completely disabled. We have made this decision because the NTA1000 is often protected in a lab network, and configuring the firewall is an advanced system administration procedure. You are free to implement the firewall according to any corporate guidelines.
Please note that the firewall must be started before it can be configured. To enable the firewall, enter this command as root in a terminal:
systemctl enable firewalld.service
This will enable the service to start at the next reboot. To start the service now, enter:
systemctl start firewalld.service
You can refer to this document for information related to the firewall: https://access.redhat.com/documentation/en-US/Red_Hat_Enterprise_Linux/7/html/Security_Guide/sec-Using_Firewalls.html.
Management port configuration
By default, the NTA1000 does not use the NetworkManager service; it has been disabled. When the NTA1000 boots, it does an ifup on the MGMT interface (eth0). The ifup command with read configuration from the /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-eth0 file to determine how the interface should behave. By default, this file is configured to run a DHCP client to automatically obtain IP address information, DNS, default gateway, etc.
If instead you’d like to assign a static IP address to the MGMT port, you can do this by commenting out the DHCP section in the /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-eth0 file, and uncommenting the section for static IP information. The settings in the file are provided only as an example. The IPADDR, NETMASK, GATEWAY, and DNS1 values must all match your desired static IP configuration.
After making any changes to this file, you’ll need to restart the interface (as root) for the changes to take effect:
ifdown eth0 ifup eth0
Please note that when CDRouter starts, it tries to bind to the IP address of the MGMT port. If the MGMT port does not have an IP address when CDRouter starts, or if it changes once CDRouter has started, you will not be able to access CDRouter via the new IP address. The localhost URL will still work however. You will need to restart CDRouter (as root) in order to get it to bind to the new IP address:
systectl restart cdrouter
By default, the hostname of the NTA1000 is nta1000. You can change this (as root) with the following command:
hostnamectl set-hostname newname
You might need to reboot for this to take effect.
Operating system updates
QA Cafe maintains a separate software repository for security and feature updates. QA Cafe’s Support Team may advise you to perform a specific update that utilizes this repository.
It is of particular concern that Linux kernel updates may break the functionality of your CDRouter software. CDRouter interacts with the kernel directly, and the specific version shipped with your NTA1000 has been verified as compatible. QA Cafe will publish newer kernels to its software repository as security and feature requirements are determined.
CDRouter software updates
The NTA1000 ships with the most recent released version of CDRouter pre-installed and ready to run. QA Cafe periodically makes new major, minor, and maintenance releases of CDRouter available. QA Cafe’s Support Team will notify all active customers of new CDRouter software releases via email. Updated CDRouter software can be downloaded from the Customer Lounge (login required). Upgrade instructions can be found here.
The initial factory configuration of your system was installed using a set of disk images, one for each disk. If for some reason you need to revert either of your disks back to their original state e.g., due to a disk failure, you can use these same disk images. A USB stick was included in your NTA1000 shipment. You can also download the USB image and create your own recovery USB stick. Please refer to this document for more details.
If the OS disk is rebuilt, it will be necessary to reinstall CDRouter. The CDRouter installer is available from the QA Cafe Customer Lounge. It is a binary installer that will automatically discover and index all previous CDRouter data.
WARNING: Please be aware that the process of replacing the OS hard drive will change the system-id, and CDRouter will not load until QA Cafe’s Support Team has been alerted and the new system-id is registered. Please contact QA Cafe Support before opening or replacing any of the NTA1000’s hardware components.
If the data disk is rebuilt, you will then need to restore previously backed up data to the /usr/cdrouter-data areas.
The necessity of performing regular backups
The NTA1000, like any industrial tool, is not immune to software or hardware failure, and it is the responsibility of the customer to perform regular backups of all user data on the system to ensure quick, complete recovery in the aftermath of a system incident.
To be able to completely rebuild an NTA1000 after a data disk failure, it is important to regularly back up the /usr/cdrouter-data area. The OS disk should have no user data on it, so rebuilding that should not involve restoring data after the rebuild.
Refer here for more information on backups.
Getting started with CDRouter
Getting started with CDRouter is easy! You can start exploring by opening a web browser and pointing it to your NTA1000’s MGMT port IP address or simply to localhost:
http://<NTA1000 IP address> http://localhost