Via PCI Quad 10/100/1000 NIC $99 + Intel 201GLY2 $65 = PfSense low power unit ?

  • Hey all,
    Very new to pfsense and have been wanting to build a low cost/power PF setup for a while now.

    I have an extra Intel 1.2Ghz 201GLY2 MiniITX board/1GB + case laying around that I wanted to use with a CF embedded PFSense setup, but from what I understand on the forum, PF doesn't have drivers for onboard SiS 10/100 NIC.

    I came across this VIA VT6122 Quad 10/100/1000 PCI card for $99 which seems perfect to assign 1 port to the WAN and the remaining 3 to my voip, lan and wi-fi interfaces.

    Best I could tell PF has supported drivers for the VIA VT6122 and for the $99 price seems like a no brainer….but thought I would check with you guys before I pick it up.

    Will this work ?

    Hopefully this also helps anyone else looking for a cheap quad GbE PCI nic.

  • I'm not a hardware guru, but how do you get anything close to wire speed for 4 x gigabit ethernet ports on a PCI card?

    Most of the talk around here for4-port ethernet cards seems to revolve around Intel parts.  Unfortunately, those are also about 4 times the price of the card you referenced above.


  • It depends on the intended use. This is a low power SOHO box which run me about the same $ as an Alix2cx3, but with more than twice the CPU horsepower and 10x the available bandwidth, plus an extra lan port.

    If you consider that PCI is theoriticaly 133MB/s and closer to 90MB/s real world.

    100Mb/s is only 8MB/s real world at best, so with 4 x 8MB/s (32MB/s) you're still leaving quite a lot of possible throughput on the table for this slot….around 60MB/s actually. That's in the scenario that all 4 nics are maxed out simultaneously.

    Let's say you config like the PF box like this;

    Port 1: WAN to ISP (1MB up/10MB down)
    Port 2: LAN - GbE connected to switch (subnet 1)
    Port 3: WiFi - Wireless N (subnet 2)
    Port 4: Voip 10/100 (subnet 3)

    A. Any file transfers on the local GbE wired lan won't even hit the box, it stays at the lan switch.
    B. A file transfer from WiFi-N to GbE Lan would have 90MB/s available to it. WiFi-N has theo max of 30MB/s (real 20MB/s) so you're well covered but would be  limted to 8MB/s on a 10/100 interface.

    C. File transfer from WiFi-N to Lan while 2 simultaneous Voip calls out to WAN = 90MB/s -20MB/s still leaves you 70MB/s that's another 3 WiFI users transfering large files plus the voip calls worth of bandwidth. WIth 10/100 the first WiFi would be cut down to 6MB/s by QoS to preserve the voip calls and no bandwidth left for other WiFi user's file transfers.

    Just some rough sketches as to my reasoning to go with this setup, but then again I'm no guru either.
    I'm sure someone will be nice enough to step in here and correct me.

  • Hi,

    VT6122 has been there since FreeBSD 5.x(5.3 maybe) so the driver(vge) now in 6.x/7.0 is quite stable, so does pfSense I believe. I also have one two years old VT6122-based dual 10/100/1000 card in one of my FreeBSD running 7.0, pretty fine. It's worth trying.


  • Hi,

    While Googling around, I just found info that you might really looking for:

    Hope this helps.


  • btw.. I finally put this all together 1.2Ghz,  1GB ram, 4 x GbE nic.
    found an embedded 1.2 final img with console redirected to VGA.
    Setup was a breeze and everything was detected just fine.

    Total cost was about $200.

  • A little too late I guess…  But PFsense 1.2 (RC2) supports the onboard lan of the D201GLY2.  That's exactly what I'm using at home right now.

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