Help with upgrading hardware for router - 1GBE vs 10GBE

  • Hi!

    We have a 1Gbit fiber connection from our ISP. Currently our router is a HP Proliant G5 running pfsense 2.4.3, with 32GB ddr2 ram, and a single Quad core Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU E5430 @ 2.66GHz. The hardware has a dual Broadcom 1Gbit internal NIC. I've done a few test to see what kind of upload/download speeds i could achieve(client speedtest to internet), and the average seems to be about 650mbs download and 850 mbs upload. Im running a very basic config of pfsense, with no additional packages. My goal is basically to get the maximum speed and stability possible from my 1Gbit connection. As you already understand: I`m in no way a network professional :)

    I am hosting a LAN party in a couple of weeks where i assume the internet usage will be a benchmark/stresstest for the router. I`m considering upgrading the ethernet card to a Intel card, as i have read they seem to generally perform better on pfsense. My questions are then:
    Do you think changing to a Intel Ethernet Server Adapter I350-T2 (gigabit dual interface NIC) increase performance?
    Would it be better in any way to rather go for a Intel Ethernet Converged Network Adapter X550-T2 (10GBE dual interface NIC), even tho all the other equipment in use are 1Gbit? (my logic (based on nothing)was that the network card might be able to handle more traffic beeing a 10GBE adapter)
    Could the server hardware itself be a limitation? (1 physical prosessor, ddr2 ram etc)

    Thanks in advance for your replies :)

  • Netgate Administrator

    I would expect that to pass 1Gbps easily.

    You can run top -aSH at the command line to see if it's hitting a CPU limit on any core though.

    Have you actually tested the connection without the firewall and seen more bandwidth than 650/850Mbps?

    If so I would look at getting Intel 1G NICs in there. I would not expect 10G to offer anything more and in fact might give more trouble unless you have 10G networking to connect it to. Broadcom NICs are usually fine but Intel NICs are the best bet for maximum throughput.


  • Thank you for your swift reply :) Honestly i haven't tested to much, but your reply gave me a bit more confidence that the problem is not with the hardware, but poor networking elsewhere. I will do some more testing and report back my findings.

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