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Build Advice pfSense Router Hardware?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Bitwacker, 24 Feb 2014.

  1. Bitwacker

    Bitwacker C# forever

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    Calling all gurus?

    I want to build a pfsense router (2xNIC + Wifi). Small form factor. Preferably fanless.

    What components would you use?

    I was looking at this, it has only PCI slot; so I cannot add a NIC + WIFI cards.
    http://www.scan.co.uk/products/msi-...-847-ddr3-sata-iii-6gb-s-d-sub-dvi-d-mini-itx

    This looks perfect (if over powered/expensive)
    http://www.scan.co.uk/products/giga...ta-iii-6gb-s-raid-pcie-30-dvi-i-hdmi-mini-itx

    Strangely, I cannot find Atom systems or router-friendly hardware.

    Edit: I currently run pfSense on a i7-2600K, which seems a waste. Experience has taught me that pfSense is extremely sensitive to the NIC/WIFI hardware in terms of support.

    Any suggestions?
     
    Last edited: 24 Feb 2014
  2. faugusztin

    faugusztin I *am* the guy with two left hands

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  3. TheStockBroker

    TheStockBroker Modder

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    Having used Pfsense before, the first thing I'll say at this point is that I strongly recommend getting supported PCI-E (pref Intel) NICS... Don't try to rely on using the onboard NIC + a card, even if it is listed as being supported. Headaches will ensue otherwise!

    Of course, I may have misunderstood, but your comment about "another NIC" is a little ambiguous as I don't know if the 'C' is controller or card :) In the instance you meant you couldn't use the first motherboard because you intend to use 2 cards as I suggest - then it's possible get a supported dual port card. This will come as a cost premium, but so will everything at this form-factor sadly!

    Regarding wireless, I believe it's generally recommended to just use an external access point, due to the complexities and lack of support the underlying FreeBSD has.

    Going up a size to micro atx will open up a lot more possibilities and reduce costs, would you consider this?

    May I ask why you picked Pfsense?

    TSB
     
  4. Bitwacker

    Bitwacker C# forever

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    I currently run pfSense, which I chose as a have a little experience with FreeBSd. I am open to alternatives. My experience with NICs/WIFI is similar to yours.

    Moving to a larger form-factor is not a problem.

    My current router is 2xNIC + WIFI, which is nice as I don't need to plug in another device. But it took a while to get setup.
     
  5. Bitwacker

    Bitwacker C# forever

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  6. faugusztin

    faugusztin I *am* the guy with two left hands

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  7. law99

    law99 Custom User Title

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    Mate... Hold fire. I have dual intel nic dual core atom powered itx 12v DC in machines in my loft at home at the moment. Would you be interested? You'd only have to sort out WiFi. But I use one for pfsense and it is a beaut.

    In fact, anyone interested should contact me... They are basically left over VoIP PBX units. Some have sangoma fxo cards in with 8ports and echo cancellation. Some had scuffed chassis and dents though... Very tough chassis. Was for maritime use. Not high IP rating... Just rugged.
     
  8. jinq-sea

    jinq-sea 'write that down in your copy book' Super Moderator

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    law99 - this is very interesting! I've got an old ALIX machine that I was going to pfSense on, but this would be WAY better!
     
  9. dancingbear84

    dancingbear84 error 404

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    Law - That does sound interesting, depending on the price, since my net gear POS is causing me hassle at the moment.

    Sent from my GT-I9505 using Tapatalk
     
  10. IvanIvanovich

    IvanIvanovich будет глотать вашу душу.

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    Not sure what your budget is... but something like a Norco/Habey MITX-6932 sound like exactly what you are looking for. There is another motherboard that is much newer with a bay trail quad with 4x GbE and a side mounted pci-e slot but I can't seem to remember who makes it at the moment... I thought it was MSI but I can't find it.
     
  11. Xlog

    Xlog Minimodder

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    if sub 500mbps internet:
    NUC + managed/smart switch.

    Personally, I have pfSense running in VM on my main rig. It might seem wasteful, but last time I did the math, it would take me 5+ years to recoup the cost of hardware (dedicated pfSense box) from electricity savings.
     
    Last edited: 24 Feb 2014
  12. Bitwacker

    Bitwacker C# forever

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    I hear you. But I had huge trouble running pfSense in VMs (VirtualBox, HyperV) all gave issues with NIC recognition and max speeds (virtual NICs ran very, very slowly).

    What do you run?
     
  13. Xlog

    Xlog Minimodder

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    pfSense 2.1 x64

    Virtualbox
    PIIX3
    PAE/NX, vtx, nested paging enabled
    1G ram
    1 CPU core
    virtio-net virtual <-> marverl 88E8056 physical as trunk
    SCSI storage adapter

    Can saturate 100mbps line without much trouble.

    HW specs:
    i7 920
    Asus p6t deluxe v2
    18GB ram
    separate hdd for VMs
     
  14. law99

    law99 Custom User Title

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    Essentially I'd sell one for about £70... I'd even leave the fxo card in because I'm lazy.

    Tell you what, I'll do a "stock take" on Wednesday, as time is pressing, and tell you what I've got exactly. (They are in my loft and I was unsure if I would ever summon the effort to do anything with them other than my own ridiculous home network - I was planning on using carp for my nas4free to create some HA home server bs... ???? Really not needed)

    They have 2gb of ram, which is massive overkill for a router/fw and 120gb hdd for home use.

    I use another one for a mirror of my nas.

    The only bummer with them is the wifi... you'd have to use a dongle or wifi card. Oh... and the fact that they are socket p... which although means you can whack a quad in there, also means buying coolers is a bit of a bitch. (You'd have to do some modding.)

    TBH it is probably worth £50 mobo alone.
     

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