Site Planning

Planning an edge site generally happens in three phases:

  1. A BoM of equipment is defined, then purchased.

  2. The equipment is delivered and inventoried. This usually is done by the edge site, and involves collecting information like the serial numbers, MAC addresses and other details about the specific pieces of equipment being installed.

  3. ONF Staff enters this information into Netbox, which is used to generate configuration for the edge site and document the configuration.

This document describes the 3rd phase, and exists primarily as a reference for ONF Staff.

Site Design in Netbox

The Aether project uses Netbox as source of truth, and the automation script uses the Netbox API to create input files for Ansible Playbooks which are used to configure each site.

Once the hardware has been ordered, the installation can be planned. The following information needs to be added to NetBox to describe each edge site:


The bold words represent the models in Netbox.

  1. Add a Site for the edge (if one doesn’t already exist), which has the physical location and contact information for the Aether Edge.

  2. Add equipment Racks to the Site (if they don’t already exist).

  3. Add a Tenant for the edge (who owns/manages it), assigned to the Pronto or Aether Tenant Group.

  4. Add a VRF (Routing Table) for the edge site. This is usually just the name of the site. Make sure that Enforce unique space is checked, so that IP addresses within the VRF are forced to be unique, and that the Tenant Group and Tenant are set.

  5. Add a VLAN Group to the edge site, which groups the site’s VLANs and requires that they have a unique VLAN number.

  6. Add VLANs for the edge site. These VLAN objects should be assigned a VLAN Group, a Site, and a Tenant.

    There can be multiple of the same VLAN in NetBox (VLANs are layer 2, and local to the site), but not within the VLAN group.

    The minimal list of VLANs:

    • ADMIN 1

    • UPLINK 10

    • MGMT 800

    • FAB 801

    If you have multiple deployments at a site using the same management server, add additional VLANs incremented by 10 for the MGMT/FAB - for example, you can create the VLANs for development server as follows:

    • DEVMGMT 810

    • DEVFAB 801

  7. Add IP Prefixes for the site. This should have the Tenant and VRF assigned.

    All IP prefixes of Aether Edge will fit into a /22 sized block.

    The Prefix description field is used to create DNS names for IP addresses in the Prefix. The DNS A records for each IP address start with the name of the Device, and end with the Prefix description.

    For example, if we have a management server named mgmtserver in Prefix, and the management server’s DNS name will be

    Here is an example using the block. Let’s name our deployment as “prod1”, and name our site as “menlo”. Then we define 4 Prefixes with different purposes.


NOTE: You should replace the prod1 and menlo to your deployment name and site name.

  • ADMIN Prefix - (for Lights-out management)

    • Has the Server BMC/LOM and Management Switch

    • Assign with the ADMIN 1 VLAN

    • Set the description to (or

  • MGMT Prefix - (for infrastructure control plane)

    • Has the Server Management plane, Fabric Switch Management/BMC

    • Assign with MGMT 800 VLAN

    • Set the description to (or

  • FABRIC1 Prefix -

    • Compute Nodes’ qsfp0 port which connects to Fabric switches, and other devices (eNB, …) connect to the Fabric switches.

    • Assign with FAB 801 VLAN

    • Set the description to (or

  • FABRIC2 Prefix -

    • Compute Nodes’ qsfp1 port which connects to Fabric switches

    • Assign FAB 801 VLAN

    • Set the description to (or

And we will have an additional parent prefix includes 2 FABRIC Prefix.


    • This is used to configure the correct routes, DNS, and TFTP servers provided by DHCP to the equipment that is connected to the fabric leaf switch that the management server (which provides those services) is not connected to.

Additionally, these edge prefixes are used for Kubernetes but don’t need to be created in NetBox:


    • Kubernetes Pod IP’s


    • Kubernetes Cluster IP’s

  1. Add Devices to the site, for each piece of equipment. These are named with a scheme similar to the DNS names used for the pod, given in this format:




    Note that these names are transformed into DNS names using the Prefixes, and may have additional components - admin or fabric may be added after the <devname> for devices on those networks.

    Set the following fields when creating a device:

    • Site

    • Tenant

    • Rack & Rack Position

    • Serial number

    If a specific Device Type doesn’t exist for the device, it must be created, which is detailed in the NetBox documentation, or ask the OPs team for help.

    See Rackmount of Equipment below for guidance on how equipment should be mounted in the Rack.

  2. Add Service to the management server:

    • name: dns protocol: UDP port: 53

    • name: tftp protocol: UDP port: 69

    These are used by the DHCP and DNS config to know which servers offer DNS or TFTP service.

  3. Set the MAC address for the physical interfaces on the device.

You may also need to add physical network interfaces if they aren’t already created by the Device Type. An example would be if additional add-in network cards were installed.

  1. Add any virtual interfaces to the Devices. When creating a virtual interface, it should have it’s label field set to the name of the physical interface that it is assigned

    These are needed for two cases of the Pronto deployment:

    1. On the Management Server, there should bet (at least) two VLAN interfaces created attached to the eno2 network port, which are used to provide connectivity to the management plane and fabric. These interfaces should be named <name of vlan><vlan ID>, so the MGMT 800 VLAN would become a virtual interface named mgmt800, with the label eno2.

    2. On the Fabric switches, the eth0 port is shared between the OpenBMC interface and the ONIE/ONL installation. Add a bmc virtual interface with a label of eth0 on each fabric switch, and have the OOB Management checkbox checked.

  2. Create IP addresses for the physical and virtual interfaces. These should have the Tenant and VRF set.

    The Management Server should always have the first IP address in each range, and they should be incremental, in this order. Examples are given as if there was a single instance of each device - adding additional devices would increment the later IP addresses.

    • Management Server

      • eno1 - site provided public IP address, or blank if DHCP provided

      • eno2 - (first of ADMIN) - set as primary IP

      • bmc - (next of ADMIN)

      • mgmt800 - (first of MGMT)

      • fab801 - (first of FAB)

    • Management Switch

      • gbe1 - (next of ADMIN) - set as primary IP

    • Fabric Switch

      • eth0 - (next of MGMT), set as primary IP

      • bmc -

    • Compute Server

      • eth0 - (next of MGMT), set as primary IP

      • bmc - (next of ADMIN)

      • qsfp0 - (next of FAB)

      • qsfp1 -

    • Other Fabric devices (eNB, etc.)

      • eth0 or other primary interface - (next of FAB)

  3. Add IP address to the Prefix to represent reserved DHCP ranges. We use a single IP address which Status is set to DHCP to stand for the DHCP range, the DHCP server will consume the entire range of IP address in the CIDR mask (includes first and last IP addresses).

    For example, IP with DHCP status in Prefix, the IP will be a DHCP block, and allocate IP address from to

  4. Add IP address to the Prefix to represent route IP reservations for both Fabric prefixes. These are IP addresses used by ONOS to route traffic to the other leaf, and have the following attributes:

    • Have the last usable address in range (in the /25 fabric examples above, these would be and

    • Have a Status of Reserved, and the VRF, Tenant Group, and Tenant set.

    • The Description must start with the word router, such as: router for leaf1 Fabric

    • A custom field named RFC3442 Routes is set to the CIDR IP address of the opposite leaf - if the leaf’s prefix is and the router IP is then RFC3442 Routes should be set to\25 (and the reverse - on the RFC3442 Routes would be set to be This creates an RFC3442 Classless Static Route Option for the subnet in DHCP.

  5. Add Cables between physical interfaces on the devices

    The topology needs to match the logical diagram presented in the Production Environments. Note that many of the management interfaces need to be located either on the MGMT or ADMIN VLANs, and the management switch is used to provide that separation.

Rackmount of Equipment

Most of the switch and server equipment used for Aether is available in the 19” rackmount form factor, but care needs to be taken in mounting this equipment to ensure proper airflow. Please follow these guidelines:

  • The EdgeCore Wedge Switches have a front-to-back (aka “port-to-power”) fan configuration, so hot air exhaust is out the back of the switch near the power inlets, away from the 32 QSFP network ports on the front of the switch.

  • The full-depth servers (such as the 1U and 2U Supermicro servers used in Pronto) also have front-to-back airflow but have most of their ports on the rear of the device.

  • Airflow through the rack should be in one direction to avoid heat being pulled from one device into another. This means that to connect the QSFP network ports from the servers to the switches, cabling should be routed through the rack from front (switch) to back (server). Empty rack spaces should be reserved for this purpose.

  • The short-depth management switches and management servers should be mounted on the rear of the rack. They don’t generate an appreciable amount of heat, so the airflow direction isn’t a significant factor in racking them.


Once equipment arrives, any device needs to be recorded in inventory if it:

  1. Connects to the network (has a MAC address)

  2. Has a serial number

  3. Isn’t a subcomponent (disk, add-in card, linecard, etc.) of a larger device.

The following information should be recorded for every device:

  • Manufacturer

  • Model

  • Serial Number

  • MAC address (for the primary and any management/BMC/IPMI interfaces)

This information should be be added to the corresponding Devices within the ONF NetBox instance. The accuracy of this information is very important as it is used in bootstrapping the compute systems, which is currently done by Serial Number, as reported to iPXE by SMBIOS.

Once inventory has been completed, let the Infra team know, and the pxeboot configuration will be generated to have the OS preseed files corresponding to the new servers based on their serial numbers.