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 NTA1000v7-S. If you are not using an NTA1000v7-S or are unsure which version you have, please refer to NTA1000 Versions
Throughout the remainder of this document the NTA1000v7-S 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
- (9) dual band antennas
- (9) magnetic antenna mounts
- (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 ETH0 port on the front panel to your corporate LAN, and turn it on. When the NTA1000 has fully booted, it will display the ETH0 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).
Please note that the NTA1000 does not come with rack rails. In order to install it into a rack, it must sit on a rack shelf.
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™ i7-7700 CPU @ 3.60GHz CPU with 64GB of RAM, a 512GB NVMe SSD for the operating system, and a 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 250W ATX power supply. Specifically, the operating conditions supported by the NTA1000 are:
- Voltage: 100 - 240 VAC
- Frequency: 50 - 60 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 ETH0. The ETH0 port supports both DHCP and static addressing, as discussed in the section below. By default, the ETH0 port is configured for DHCP. Ports ETH1 through ETH7 have all been configured for use as CDRouter test interfaces.
Note: These seven test ports map directly to the same interface names within the operating system (eth0 through eth7).
The NTA1000 includes three wireless interface cards for testing.
A Compex WLE900VX (Atheros QCA9880) mini PCIe card provides
dual-band 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac wireless functionality.
An Intex AX200 mini PCIe card provides dual-band 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax
A Compex WLE1216v5-20 (Atheros QCA9984) mini PCIe card provides
5GHz 802.11 a/n/ac-wave2 wireless functionality.
The Atheros QCA9880 card is wifi0-acn within the operating system.
The Intel AX200 card is wifi1-ax within the operating system.
The Atheros QCA9984 card is wifi2-ac2 within the operating system.
The Atheros QCA9880 card (wifi0-acn) and the Atheros QCA9984 card (wifi2-ac2) both allow for testing with multiple wireless clients.
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. Facing the rear panel, the three connectors on the top left are for the Atheros QCA9880 card (wifi0-acn). The two connectors on the top right are for the Intel AX200 card (wifi1-ax). The four connectors on the bottom are for the Atheros QCA9980 card (wifi2-ac2).
If you plan to use the NTA1000’s wireless interfaces, you must attach suitable antennas. Nine dual-band antennas are provided with the NTA1000. They can be connected directly to the RP-SMA connectors on the back of the unit. Alternatively, they can be connected to the nine included magnetic bases. The ends of the six foot leads from the magnetic bases can then be connected to the RP-SMA connectors on the back of the unit. Using the magnetic bases allows for greater flexibility of 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 buttons. The default screen shows the IP address of the ETH0 interface. Other screens display various system information.
The IP address of the ETH0 port allows you to access the NTA1000 without the use of a monitor. Just connect the ETH0 port to your network and power the NTA1000 on. After the system boots, the ETH0 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 ships with a slightly modified 64-bit CentOS 8 operating system. Some of the changes to the stock CentOS distribution include:
- Custom disk partition layout
- custom kernel
- Custom firmware for the QCA9980 and QCA9984 cards
- Full yum update
- Installation of some packages required by CDRouter
- Removal of some packages and services not required by CDRouter
- Configuration of the ETH0 port, seven Ethernet test interfaces, and three wireless test interfaces
- Cosmetic modifications to the desktop and qacafe home area
- SELinux disabled
- Various other system modifications
The NTA1000 includes two internal disks: one for the operating system and one for data.
The operating system disk (/dev/nvme0n1) is a 512GB SSD, partitioned as follows:
- /dev/nvme0n1p1: 1 GiB; the /boot directory is mounted here
- /dev/nvme0n1p2: 4 GiB; swap
- /dev/nvme0n1p3: rest of disk; the / directory is mounted here
The data disk (/dev/sda) is a 4TB hard drive, partitioned as follows:
- /dev/sda1: entire disk; the /userdata directory is mounted here
The /usr/cdrouter-data directory is bind mounted to the /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 disk crash. All CDRouter devices, configs, packages, and test results are stored in the /usr/cdrouter-data directory on the large 4TB drive.
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 by connecting a standard monitor to the VGA port on the back and a keyboard and mouse to the USB ports on the front.
Remote administration is available via SSH on the ETH0 port. The LCD screen will display the IP of the ETH0 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/8/html/securing_networks/using-and-configuring-firewalls_securing-networks
Management port configuration
The NTA1000 comes configured with NetworkManager controlling the ETH0 interface. All other network interfaces are not under NetworkManager control. By default, the ETH0 interface is configured to use DHCP to automatically obtain IPv4 address information, DNS, default gateway, etc.; IPv6 is disabled. You can change to a static IPv4 address, enable IPv6, and make other changes to the ETH0 interface in one of two ways:
You can make changes to the /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-eth0 file (as root). This file has various sections (most commented out) for IPv4, IPv6, static, DHCP, etc. Simply uncomment the section(s) you want, and comment the ones you don’t. The settings in the file are provided only as an example. If you’re setting a static IP address for instance, 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 either reboot the system or restart the interface (as root) for the changes to take effect:
ifdown eth0 ifup eth0
You can also make changes by connecting a monitor, keyboard, and mouse to the NTA1000, then on the desktop, select Applications -> System Tools -> Settings -> Network. Click on the gear icon in the Wired section. Making changes here will also update the /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-eth0 file described above, but may disrupt the sectioned formatting.
Please note that when CDRouter starts, it tries to bind to the IP address of the ETH0 port. If the ETH0 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
If DHCP is used to get the IP address, you should also change the DHCP_HOSTNAME field in the /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-eth0 file.
You should reboot for these changes 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 operating system 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 operating system 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 (if any) to the /usr/cdrouter-data area.
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 failure.
To be able to completely rebuild an NTA1000 after a data disk failure, it is important to regularly back up the /usr/cdrouter-data directory. The operating system drive 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 ETH0 IP address or simply to localhost:
http://<NTA1000 IP address> http://localhost