PIX port connectivity issues

Unanswered Question
Jun 9th, 2010

Hello all...first post to these forums.

I have two issues.  Hopefully all of the below is explained coherently, please let me know where I might need to provide better clarity. Here is the setup:

Cable Modem --> PIX 501 ---> Patch Panel ---> workstation1 (PIX p1)

                                                               \ ---> workstation2 (PIX p2)

                                                                \____Netgear switch (PIX p3) -->  workstation3 & 4

                                                                 \____Netgear switch (PIX p4) --> workstation 5 & 6

Both Netgear 5port switches are the FS-105 model.

Problem 1:  PIX WAN Port auto sensing.  My Cable connection is 20Mb down/ 4Mb up.  But the PIX WAN port is autosensing to 10half.  But to take of advantage of my higher bandwidth I need to get the PIX WAN port to 100full...or at least 100half.  When I set it to 100Full the WAN port starts tracking frame/crc errors; which I assume is a result of a duplex mismatch.  I think the problem is this: I don't think the Cable modem is intelligent and thus isn't responding to the WAN auto sensing packets thus the PIX is defaulting to 10half.  Am I correct?  Either way, how can I get around this and get my WAN port clean to 100half or 100full?

Problem 2: In the brief diagram above all the PIX to Workstation connections work just fine...but the PIX to Netgear Switches are not working.  When the PIX LAN ports are connected to the Netgear switches I get link light on both ends, if the workstations off of the Netgear have a hard IP then the IP arp registers in the PIX but the workstations are not able to ping the PIX internal gateway (192.168.4.1).  If the workstations off of the Netgear are dhcp then they don't even get an IP address from the PIX.  If I remove the Netgear switches and connect a single PC then that PC works just fine.

Now...the Netgear switch ports are cable auto-sensing.  I can put a straight through or reverse cable from the switch to a PC and the PC will always connect.  But a striaght through or reverse cable from the PIX to the Netgear switches ends in the same result - link lights on both ends, hard IP workstations will register ARP in the PIX (dhcp stations won't get an IP) but none of those workstations can get out to the net.

The last thing to note here is this:  I just recently moved...my previous home had the PIX using a single connection to a 16port HUB, and the everyting else connected to the HUB.  But in my, there is no HUB and the PIX connects into everything as diagram'd above.

For Problem 2, even though the Netgear switches are cable sensing...I figured it was straight/reverse cable issue - but it doesn't matter - the results are the same.   Thoughts?!

PS: At my disposal I have a Cisco 2507 (running 11.1 code, it only has 8Mb RAM) and a Catalyst 2940 running 12.1...but I wanted to keep this simple and use that equipment for other things in my lab.

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rolinger1 Wed, 06/09/2010 - 06:34

One other thing to note.  As I mentioned above, workstations with a hard IP off of the Netgear swtiches are getting ARP registers in the PIX...but those PCs are unable to ping the PIX internal gateway.  In my experience I would have assumed the PIX would register "incomplete" arps for those PCs...but they appear to be clean arps - and I can't ping in either direction; pix to pc or pc to pix.  I am left scratching my head on this one.

rolinger1 Wed, 06/09/2010 - 07:04

i "think" I resolved problem one.  I am now using 100basetx for half-duplex setting and thus far it appears to be working without any errors.  I think the bigger problem I had with this one was just knowing the correct interface syntax.  I've looked at countless docs and none seem to state what the appropriate interface settings/syntax are.  I finally found it referenced in another blog.  Will keep an eye on it though.

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