Building a Multi-Wan Balancer



  • I am setting up a new micro-ISP for a small village, there are about 50 households here and will be sharing between 6 and 10 internet connections between them, speed between 10 and 30 Mbps Each. I have a used Cisco Catalyst 2960G-24TC that i plan on using as a central switch, and the client side will be over Ubiquity AirMax routers. I was wondering how I should spec out my pfSense box. I am also hoping to use this box to share the traffic so that one person doesn't hog all the bandwidth.
    1: What is more important, number of cores, or absolute speed? Do i need an 8th or 9th gen Intel processor, or would an older one do?
    2: How much RAM should i be looking for? Is 4 or 8 gigs enough? To much, a waste of money?
    3: Can I set up each of the 6+ connections in a vLan and use those to load-balance or should i spend the money on a MB with a bunch of PCIe cards and get 3 or 4 I350-T4 Intel 4 port cards?
    4: What about traffic shaping? How will that affect the box's resource ?
    5: Lastly could I use link aggregation to the Cisco to speed up the bandwidth to and from the switch to minimize bottlenecks there?
    I will probably have more questions once these are answered, thanks.


  • Netgate Administrator

    For 300Mbps total throughput you can use older hardware and unless you plan to run all the hungry packages then 4GB is going to be fine.
    Yes you can use VLANs for the WAN connections.
    Shaping requires CPU cycles and can introduce latency but if you have something relatively recent it should cope fine at <300Mbps.
    Yes you can setup a lagg to the switch but it's unlikely to be a bottleneck anyway since it will be 1Gbps and the upstream is only 300Mbps. Unless you have a lot of traffic between internet clients on different VLANs for example.

    Steve



  • @stephenw10

    For 300Mbps total throughput you can use older hardware

    Older hardware being something like this:
    https://support.hp.com/us-en/document/c03832938 with an i5-4590 processor?
    What is more important? Number of cores or absolute processor speed?


  • Netgate Administrator

    You could pass 300Mbps with a Pentium4 so you will have zero issues doing it with a Haswell i5.

    Somethings are still single threaded and hence single core speed matters for them. OpenVPN or Snort for example. But I would expect that CPU to do either of those things at 300Mbps just fine.

    Steve


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