Looking for laptop to run the router



  • So I understand you are supposed to be able to run pfsense on old hardware for little or no cost.
    So I have on old PCMCIA adapter that works well (32 bit 3.3v).
    I have a very old laptop (32 bit) I tested it on. No issues it seems.

    So I am looking for 64 bit laptop with the old pcmcia slot and now it seems it has to have the AES-NI instructions (for no logical reason).

    Is there a list of compatible laptops somewhere

    Is anyone using a similar setup? Does anyone have info on compatible laptops. I one exists they will not be expensive as fairly old which is what I am looking for.

    I want to run the router on machine that is low power, takes up minimal space and little cost. Of course a laptop has a build it screen, keyboard and UPS (the battery) which are useful.

    Also one other thing. On a decade old CPU, specifically the q9500 I tested the AES encryption speed which I understand is used by pfsense for VPN related computation. It does not have the AES-NI instructions. I used the veracrypt benchmark and it was getting an average of 400 MB/s encryption/decryption speed.
    I intend to use it for a home router. I am curious as to why there is a requirement for the AES-NI instructions when a DECADE OLD CPU CAN ENCRYPT FASTER THAN MOST WILL EVER NEED.

    Thank you


  • Rebel Alliance Global Moderator

    @ianmc said in Looking for laptop to run the router:

    now it seems it has to have the AES-NI instructions (for no logical reason).

    And where did you come up with this misinformation... 2.5 will require AES-NI, for multiple reasons... We are currently on 2.4.4p1 with no actual date given when 2.5 will come out..

    So your comments about requirement of AES-NI has zero to do with you running pfsense on your OLD hardware.

    https://www.netgate.com/blog/pfsense-2-5-and-aes-ni.html



  • @ianmc said in Looking for laptop to run the router:

    So I understand you are supposed to be able to run pfsense on old hardware for little or no cost.

    Says who? Some random guy on youtube? pfSense is not a recycling OS, it's an enterprise grade firewall distribution.


  • Rebel Alliance Global Moderator

    Ah - yeah that is prob where he got his AES-NI information as well - some rando without a clue..

    BTW... Lets say 2.5 comes tmrw... Just saying... Pretty freaking sure you would have atleast 1 year support of 2.4.x after that date..

    And as you can tell from just browsing posts around here.. Keeping your firewall updated doesn't seem to be high priority for many.. There was one user the other day running 2.0 freaking RC for gosh sake...

    So if you can get whatever it is to run current.. You "could" run that until the hardware dies.. Wouldn't suggest that - but you could...

    They announced the requirement WAY in Advance to give people time to plan upgrade/replacement path and anyone looking to purchase hardware now should make sure it support AES-NI if they hope to keep that hardware running when 2.5 drops.. Which is prob year plus out if not more.. Freebsd 12 hasn't even released/announced yet - the announcement is expected any day..





  • @johnpoz
    It has a lot to do with trying to run pfsense on old hardware. I would like a system to last a long time. pfsense I understand needs little cpu power. The AES-NI is making the hardware search a lot harder.



  • Does anyone have any info at all on any suitable laptops. That would be appreciated.
    I am usually keen to use & promote open source software for good reason.
    I used pfsense about 5 years ago on an old pentium 32 bit with no issues.

    Now my experience is just frustrating trying to use the software. I recall trying to set up a system about 6 months ago which was useless as there is poor support & compatibility for USB nics.
    I am looking for an inexpensive long term solution for this and seem to run into a brick wall each time. Running a desktop for it is way overkill in terms of power usage. The only options seem to be buying quite expensive hardware and it is not worth it as I see it.
    I am keen to get an inexpensive machine to use it but it seems impractical and presently cannot suggest this software to anyone looking for router options.


  • Rebel Alliance Global Moderator

    For starts a laptop is HORRIBLE choice... You do understand that its a firewall - it doesn't need a screen or a keyboard or a mousepd... It designed to be headless..

    Sure you have an old one laying around.. In pinch sure why not.. But it sure is not the best choice for something you want to use for a long time..

    Maybe you should just stick to some 20$ soho user box if you think the hardware required to run pfsense is expensive.


  • Moderator

    Also as @johnpoz points out a laptop is a really bad choice as most laptops do NOT have more than one physical network interface. And if you're talking about routing via WLAN or using some old crappy USBtoEthernet adapter, that's so far out of the ballpark of pfSense usage that I can't even see where the ball went down - so to speak.