Total noob seeking general assistance
I'm building a new game server to replace my aging current equipment, and I want to make sure my network is up to snuff, so I'm considering replacing my Verizon FIOS Quantum Gateway router with a custom built Skylake i3 based PFsense box, unmanaged switch, and wireless AP.
I've been building computers and monkeying with Windows based systems for decades but I've never used PFsense, nor FreeBSD. My Unix experience, in general, is rather limited and outdated. That said, I imagine with the help of some guides and free time I should be able to get everything running.
What I'm not so sure about is hardware compatibility. I'm having trouble figuring out of specific hardware will be supported, how to obtain drivers (are they just built into PFsense?), etc. I'm sure some time playing around would be informative but I want to make sure I'm not spending money on incompatible hardware just to find out later.
I use Verizon FIOS for the internet but I do not have any STBs or in fact any phone/TV service, so any conflicts there are irrelevant.
This is the hardware I'm looking at:
Does this all look good? I'm aware the system is somewhat overkill, but I'd like to build something that I won't have to worry about for the next 10 years and can be integrated into a dual-system case alongside my server.
Also, I'm way overestimating the hardware requirements for a "bulletproof" system and could get something just as useful for half the price or something, please let me know. I'm willing to be wrong ;)
Thanks a bunch.
EDIT: Oh, also it is my understanding that I cannot easily use the motherboard's onboard wireless antenna as a wireless AP for the network. Is this indeed the case, or can I actually ditch the hockey puck AP and save myself the cost?
EDIT 2: I've negotiated my bill so I actually don't pay anything for my Quantum Gateway. I could, in theory, use that as a wireless AP instead of the TP Link unit. That said, this router has basically no settings to configure so I'm not sure if it is actually doable. If anyone knows, feel free to enlighten me.
What is is your download and up bandwidth/throughput subscription?
If this is regular home use (30Mbps/30Mbps), save yourself some $$ and buy from the people who supports pfSense, Netgate.
https://www.pfsense.org/products/, first top two should do. They have support plan bundle with router.
No, I am not affiliate with Netgate, just been using pfSense for a long time.
I have a 100/100 line and will be upgrading to 1000/1000 when it becomes available in my area (should be soon, as it has been rolled out to neighboring areas).
With my current ISP provided router (https://www.verizon.com/home/accessories/fios-quantum-gateway/), latency goes through the roof and effective throughput drops like a rock under certain conditions, long before I actually saturate the 100/100 provided by the ISP.
I'm hoping to build or buy something that will avoid this problem and allow me to maintain low latency and full throughput both on my current plan and on the gigabit plan I plan to upgrade to.
Looking at those Netgate units you've suggested, it looks like the build I'm planning (assuming someone can verify that the hardware I picked is supported) will cost somewhere between the SG-2220 and SG-2440 models, while performing significantly better than the SG-2440 due to the much stronger CPU, faster memory, and lower latency storage.
Based on this I feel that building my own system makes more sense than buying a Netgate unit, unless you think the $149 SG-1000 is powerful enough (their claim of 300Mbps maximum throughput, the small form factor, and ARM processor give me the impression that it isn't, and is more akin to my current router, albeit with the large benefit of PFsense instead of a locked down non-configurable firmware).
That is going to chew through power, you're definitely not going to be making any cost savings once you factor that in - if cost is genuinely a consideration.
The RealTek NIC on the mobo will negate any performance gains you believe you might get from the rest of the system. They have a reputation for being a massive pain in the arse, if they work.
From experience I can tell you the TP-Link AP will be a heap of consumer junk - definitely not worth touching.
I have a fixed monthly utility fee, so electricity/air-conditioning cost is basically irrelevant to me.
I could have sworn the NICs on the mobo were both Intel I219-V but your mention of realtek made me double check and sure enough, one of the two is indeed a realtek. What an odd feature. I'll have to look for another mobo with dual Intel NICs then I suppose if I am to go this route. Thanks for catching that!
Do you have a recommendation for a better wireless AC access point in the same price range? I honestly barely use wifi, the most load it sees on a typical day is 3-4 cellphones streaming video or music. The range is pretty unimportant as well, as long as it can serve wifi to a few surrounding rooms in a somewhat wifi congested condo, its fine. I'd even be willing to use my existing router as an access point so long as it can play nice (the complete lack of settings and inability to use a custom firmware make me question that ability).
Also, do you have any idea if the Intel optane stick will play nice with PFsense? That is honestly my biggest concern. I know Intel CPUs and NICs are reported to work just fine, memory is pretty hard to screw up, etc.
I know what I have specced out is probably overkill, but I'm not sure how much I really need, and this is the strongest setup I could think of within my budget. If you've got cheaper options that won't gimp a gigabit network with a couple 24/7 game servers and 6 or 7 concurrent multimedia devices, I'd love to know.
Honestly, get a netgate built device or:
As far as a switch, at least get a web smart, like: http://www.netgear.com/business/products/switches/web-managed/gigabit-web-managed-switch.aspx
It doesn't cost very much more.
If you want an Access Point, Ubiquiti - if you want an Access Point and ever want the Manufacturer to ever give you support or an RMA number, get anything other than Ubiquiti. Go take a look at Engenius Tech also, they make some decent Access Points. As for the TP-Link, cheap is the keyword and thusly be suckier than the UBNT. As far as support goes, TP-Link may also suck the soul right out of you in terms of their support people being that daft, but then again so will UBNT.
I'm using a Jetway device for my build as well. I forgot the model number but its a fanless build with celeron quadcore and 4GB of ram. More then enough for PFsense and some decent packages.
I've been running it at my house for 6 months now. Solid as a rock! I paid about $300 for the unit.
Since this is a home network, you don't need to go crazy on a switch. I personally use two dummy Netgear switches. One for my main production network on subnet 192.168.1.x Eth1, and my second switch is plugged into Opt1 interface on a 10.10.10.x subnet where I host my servers. I have an old Linksys router configured to be used as an AP connected to it as well.
Unless you want the experience of playing with vlans or something. I don't see a real reason to need a nice fancy switch. Two unmanaged named brand switches will work just fine. (you could get something like a 6-8 port for your OPT network and a larger one for your production etc… all depends on your needs).
That is how I would start. Keep it on the cheap and expand in the future as needed.
Now if you want to go fancy because you have the cash and want the learning experience. I'd do the following.
Get something like a Cisco SG200\300 (you can get a 48 port for like $180). You could even get one with 4x POE ports for your WAPS on this switch. This is a great switch for playing with vlaning and has great support from the vendor and security.
For WAPs. The UniFI AP-LR WAPs are awesome as hell. They are easily managed by Unifi software and can support vlans along with seemless automatic wifi jumps between waps. They also last ages, I've had mine for years and sturdy as hell still.
Just an idea.