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Hardware Probes

Technical Description

MoQoS Open Nettest Hardware probes are based on a powerful hardware and open source software project named Turris Omnia. Turris Omnia is a product of CZ.NIC, a non-profit association running the .cz top level domain of the Czech Republic.

Table 1 shows a list of its most important specifications:

Parameter

Value

CPU

1.6 GHz dual-core ARMv7

RAM

1/2 GB DDR3

Storage

8 GB flash

LAN

5× Gbit port

WAN

1× Gbit port

SFP

available

USB

2× 3.0

Mini PCI Expres

mSATA / mini PCI Express

1× (Optional)

Wi-Fi (mini PCIe)

3×3 MIMO 802.11ac

2×2 MIMO 802.11b/g/n

Figure 1: Turris Omnia router, V2017– Outside

Turris Omnia also has SIM card slot, RTC with battery backup, crypto chip for secure random number generation, dimmable RGB LEDs, pin headers with GPIO, I²C, SPI and more.

8 GB Flash Memory

A common home router has between 4 and 32 MB of flash memory. This is usually enough, but it may be a problem when you try to install extra software. You may quickly reach the limit of the flash storage capacity. To prevent this Omnia has 8 GB - hundred times more. This storage enables you to install additional programs and still have space left for logs and your data.

User Interface for Configuration

SPECURE Hardware Probe will come with a common graphical user interface to configure all parameters to connect the router to the internet. These parameters have to be known from ISP. It is possible to connect Turris Omnia to a wide range of DSL and DOCSIS modems as well as to use the probe in the local area network behind another router connected via ethernet or fiber.
Additionally there is a possibility to configure all necessary parameters for the measurements. This will be at least:

  • Interval for measurement delay
  • Maximum number of measurements
  • QoS 
  • Operator
  • Advertised speed
  • Connection technology

Figure 2: Turris Omnia router, V2017 – Inside


User Interface for Measurement Results

All hardware probes have, as all other devices, a unique device-ID. For that reason they can be synchronized (see above). Then it’s possible to see all measurements done by hardware probes in real-time on any other specific PC and/or mobile device. Therefore all measurement results can be seen as described above. 
This device-ID will be written outside on the hardware probe allowing user to synchronize these measurements with their PC, too.

As a second part there will be a secured website for agencies personnel showing additional graphic and tabular statistics about the performance of each hardware probe over time.

Operating system

Omnia uses Turris OS, an operating system based on open Linux distribution OpenWrt. It is possible to use automatic updates of the system for the lifetime of the device. The updates are done in the background.

Virtual server

Virtualization is a common feature on modern servers. It helps organize software, improves security by splitting important and less important systems. Turris Omnia has enough power and RAM to support virtualization. Thanks to comfortable LXC integration, the virtual server serves as a normal LAN connected computer and is able to run another instance of Linux of your choice. This gives us the ability to customise the device probes and make experimentation with new software without making compromises on security and availability.

RAM

Most common home routers do not have more than 128 MB of RAM which is normally enough for most applications. However, for the need of extra processing capability and virtualisation power, more RAM is required. Turris Omnia has up to 2 GB which brings it closer to a small server than a mere router.

SFP connector

Modern network backbones are built almost exclusively on fiber optic basis. But this technology is also used for fast local connections and can even go directly into your home (FTTH, Fiber To The Home). Omnia can be used to directly connect to this network without middleboxes, just with the proper SFP module.

High throughput network setup

The chip which forms the heart of Omnia has three gigabit Ethernet lines, all of which are utilised. Thus, Omnia has a dedicated WAN port and the switch which takes care of LAN ports is connected using two lines at once. This means that a full gigabit speed in full duplex mode between WAN and LAN can be reached. It is also possible to prioritise a single LAN port to guarantee its speed in presence of other traffic thanks to VLAN and QoS support.

Cryptochip

Random number generation is very important when it comes to security. And to get really random numbers, one needs a good source of randomness (entropy). It has been shown many times that embedded devices, such as SOHO routers, do not have enough sources of entropy, which can lead to security weaknesses. This is why there is a dedicated chip in Omnia, which can serve as a high quality entropy source.

RTC with battery backup

When cryptography is used, exact time may be of utmost importance. Without proper time and date, electronic signatures cannot be correctly verified because all certificates have limited validity. This is true for HTTPS certificates as well as for DNSSEC. This is why, unlike other routers, Omnia has an RTC chip with battery backup which ensures that even after loss of power, the date and time are properly preserved. This mitigates one particular type of security attacks.

Project coordinator:

CZ.NIC, z.s.p.o.
Milesovska 1136/5,
130 00 Praha 3, CZ

Tel.: +420 770 125 720
Email: michala.radotinska@nic.cz