3 x 10/100 or 2 x gigabit?

  • been looking high and low on here and there's so much choice.
    which would be considered the best in terms of flexibility, throughput etc.
    an alix board with 3 x 10/100 nics or a more powerful itx with 2 x gigabit. both would be going to a managed switch with vlans.

  • Banned

    Giga of course…...Depending on the capacity of the switch and what it is attended for......

  • Hi,
    it's not gonna be used heavily. If I rephrase the question to "is 3 x 100 physical interfaces better than 2 x 1000 physical interfaces?"
    I can understand that it would be if you didn't have a managed switch ie you have 3 physical nic's instead of 2, but how many 10/100 physical nics would equal 1x 1gigabit vlan'd realistically?

  • Only you will know if it's "better" as that's very subjective.

    From a pure bandwidth perspective, one option gives you a maximum of 300 Mb/s, the other 2000 Mb/s.  The actual usable bandwidth depends heavily on the traffic profile (300 Mb/s of maximum size packets and 300 Mb/s of minimum size packets are very different things - that's why commercial providers tend to talk in packets per second or PPS).  It also depends on the quality of the network cards - just because it says it's a Gbit card doesn't mean it'll ever push Gbit, or that it won't load your CPU to 100% while trying to do so.

  • i was thinking of going for the latest alix board as it had 3 nics. i want to run some apps on top though and was going to do this via an industrial cf card.
    it didn't dawn on me about the vlans whilst looking around. so now i'm trying to find something with 2 x intel nic's on an embedded system.

  • Note that there's a difference between the embedded desktop grade Intel network cards and full server grade cards.  The gap isn't anything as big as that between the cheap, known bad, Realtek chipsets and the Intel server grade cards, but it still exists.

    You do need to read the hardware sizing page if you haven't already.

  • yep… otherwise we'd have minature servers etc. one thing i did glean was to stay away from the realteks as you have said.
    this one's basically going in my house. i have a business network (vpn's etc), a test network, home network and a wireless network with various vlans into the above networks and a guest network for the kids friends etc when they come around.
    an alix would do it but i'm not sure it would run apps i may want in the future due to the processor and ram. i'd rather go for something with a bit more to give should i require it. money isn't an issue.

  • @louis-m:

    an alix would do it but i'm not sure it would run apps i may want in the future due to the processor and ram.

    Apps? You mean packages, don't you.
    Otherwise stay away from the Alixes and use something beefier.

    If money is no issue with you, I'd use an ALIX now and -if need be- use something bigger in the future.
    Take care to get an ALIX board with pin header for 2.5" HDDs and a CF slot. Might help with your packages/apps in the future…

  • sorry…. packages was what i meant. i suppose i'm looking for a beefy embedded box within reason. i don't really want to buy twice. i'd rather buy now, not use all the resources compared to buy now and overun the box in a month with a little playing about with the packages.

  • An ALIX 2D2 or 2D3 should be fine for this - unless you plan to use SNORT in the future.
    What packages are you specifically looking at?

  • probably squid/squidguard, phpsysinfo, sshterm, stunnel. nothing too major. about 10 ipsecs also.

  • If you want to call squid/squidguard and encrypting 10 IPSEC tunnels not major…...

    With these requirements a ALIX is way undersized.

  • i'm using a vigor 2820 at the moment. it's a great little box but can only do port based vlans. a downside is that any incoming vpn has access to the complete lan range (only one allowed)
    even subnetting the lans has no effect.
    but they do have web content filtering etc and all in a small box which i'm sure wouldn't be as powerful as an alix with vpn card.
    i really like pfsense and would like a small powerful box with industrial cf but i'm struggling to find the right one as most of them have realtek nics etc. then there's the issue of finding cases to fit etc.
    although money's not an issue, i don't believe in paying over the odds.

    i also want to swap out our draytek 2950 for a 1u small box. currently there are 45 ipsecs attached to that.

  • As someone mentioned already, an IBM e-server X-series 305/306/335/336 might be what you're looking for. Among others, available on eBay for cheap.
    You might also want to investigate beefier VIA EPIA or Intel ATOM 330 boards. Safes some energy at least. (EDIT: these for your home, assuming 45 IPSEC sessions elsewhere)