Just how important is ECC in a PFSense box?

  • My apologies if this seems to be a basic question, but I've googled around and I've not found much of anything on this subject (Or my google-foo is just too weak).

    I'm seeing a lot of boxes being built, but many of them do not have ECC memory.  I understand that the packets are not in memory all that long, if at all, while being tossed from interface to interface and perhaps mangled a bit (NAT and such), but there still is a chance.

    Shouldn't the device that is entrusted with every bit of traffic have some kind of safeguard (and I'm not talking tin foil wrapped around the box) against Something Bad ™ happening, or am I being overly paranoid? :-\

  • Overly paranoid (maybe) ;)

    If a packet is corrupted then the packet checksum won't be valid.  ECC might reduce the changes of that happening, but probably not by very much.

  • Ok, looks like if I was to go the ECC route, I'd be running into the law of diminishing returns.

    Thanks for the input, it is appreciated.  If the Realtek chips on the system I was looking at are too crappy (which they seem to have a good chance of being), I can either find one of the modules for the Compaq dual port I have now or pick up on of the older Sun quad port monster cards.  ;D

  • ECC is more for hardware reliability - a standard PC with non ECC memory might blue screen if memory is corrupted but a server with ECC memory will detect a single bit error and correct it. In the old days a server with ECC memory would still blue screen (windows) on a double bit fault where as now-adays the DIMM will more likely be marked off-line.

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