Pfsense on a laptop i3 with external pci express for dual lan



  • Hi

    I have 3 AC68U and a 400 / 200 ISP fiber link with almost 50 devices at home and sometimes the first ac68 / main router is getting 98% of use, I was thinking about a laptop with an i3 and ssd / because of the power consumption and battery backup power, also one used laptop with this configuration we will find for 60$ on ebay, maybe less if you get one with screen broken, the only problem is how to add another LAN port to it, I was thinking about those external pci express, what do you think? oh, I forgot to mention the silence too.


  • Netgate Administrator

    You have an example of the sort of external PCIe device you're referring to?

    Steve



  • You are better off with vlans.

    Edit: check your integrated nic, must be a good one, Intel or Broadcom will be fine. Realtek, just don't.



  • @tirsojrp:

    You are better off with vlans.

    Edit: check your integrated nic, must be a good one, Intel or Broadcom will be fine. Realtek, just don't.

    Yes, but he would have only 1 NIC on a laptop. He would need at least 2 for pfSense.



  • Adding one via Thunderbolt or ExpressCard will work, otherwise, don't even try it. Cheap laptops pretty much never have Intel or Broadcom network cards, so basically you might as well get Celeron/Atom/Pentium china box with 4 or more Intel network interfaces for the same price as a laptop with a single Intel or Broadcom port. It's not worth it.


  • Netgate Administrator

    @Inxsible:

    He would need at least 2 for pfSense.

    You need two Interfaces to route traffic. Those can be VLAN interfaces though.

    You can run pfSense with one interface but it's of limited use. As a VPN end point for example.

    Steve



  • Actually gigabit Intel NICs are very common in cheap used laptops. Look at used lenovos IBM (business laptops).

    I personally bought and use an old Lenovo with an i5 Andw gigE Intel NIC for $50. Those aren't exactly rare finds either. They also are actually designed so that they can be opened up, worked on and have parts replaced.

    For your needs using VLANs on a managed switch would actually be a very good idea!



  • @belt9:

    Actually gigabit Intel NICs are very common in cheap used laptops. Look at used lenovos IBM (business laptops).

    I personally bought and use an old Lenovo with an i5 Andw gigE Intel NIC for $50. Those aren't exactly rare finds either. They also are actually designed so that they can be opened up, worked on and have parts replaced.

    For your needs using VLANs on a managed switch would actually be a very good idea!

    yah, thats why I thought about use this old laptop as a pfsense router, the only problem is about the another LAN port that I was thinking about get one of those external pci express and use it,

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/V8-0-EXP-GDC-Beast-Laptop-External-Independent-Video-Card-Dock-To-PCI-E-16X-/401280185129?var=&hash=item5d6e29b329ⓂmPWwvsTGGt59e93s1aKGlfw

    do you guys think that it will work?


  • Netgate Administrator

    Probably, but it seems like an odd way to go. What advantage is there of using the laptop if you need to add that to it? Seems to require external power.

    There are mPCIe Ethernet cards you can get that would be a neater solution.

    What throughput do you need? 400Mbps?

    Just use VLANs.

    Steve



  • Agreed, VLANs are the better route fur this.



  • @stephenw10:

    Probably, but it seems like an odd way to go. What advantage is there of using the laptop if you need to add that to it? Seems to require external power.

    There are mPCIe Ethernet cards you can get that would be a neater solution.

    What throughput do you need? 400Mbps?

    Just use VLANs.

    Steve

    I expect to not go more than 400Mbps for a few years, so that is all I need for now.
    I´m trying to find a solution that is cheap / fast and with battery backup built in, I´ve seeing some Pfsenses on ebay and Iam starting to think about get one for 180 / 220$ and replace the AC68U.

    Do you guys have any idea about which one is better for my scenario? I have tons of devices at home / smarthouse, that is what I do for living / hobby job

    My house / project

    https://hardforum.com/threads/post-your-workstations-2016.1887080/page-8#post-1042912905

    :) :-[


  • Netgate Administrator

    If you need battery backup what do you need to continue functioning if you lose power?

    That external PCI socket may or may not need external power. I'm sure it would with some beastly graphics card in there but maybe it can run without… just don't know.

    Those mPCIe Ethernet cards do not require external power.

    Using VLANs the switch would require power but so would any other switches on your network or the modem....

    Steve



  • Well seeing all the money you've put into the tech at your place is say invest in a better router.

    Laptop VLAN works but is really a budget fix.

    You can still get a solid router for cheap. Get yourself a used workstation mini desktop with an older i3. Preferably a find without hdd. These are everywhere at your local recycling center and on eBay.

    Put in a dual port i340 and connect it to a vlan switch.
    Use a cheap ssd.

    Then buy a solid preferably true sine UPS and plug in your router, switch, modem and AP to it. This way your entire network has battery backup.

    This is all still very cheap and far more capable than the laptop method.


  • Netgate Administrator

    Yeah I agree with that. Have you seen our store?  ;D

    If you really want to run on battery you might be better off with a DC supply. It's generally significantly more efficient even if you need converters.

    I salute your use of blue LEDS though.  ;)

    Steve