Mini PCIe wireless?



  • What's the support like for Mini PCIe wireless cards?
    I'm trying to figure out the best way to have wireless, and a pci intel NIC on an atom board.  Originally, my plan was to use a Jetway barebones, but I was steered away from it due to quality concerns.  Then I tried to find cheap case that had a dual pci riser, which turns out, doesn't exist.  Now I'm contemplating this board:
    http://www.mini-box.com/Intel-D945GSEJT-Mini-ITX-Motherboard?sc=8&category=1178
    Because of the onboard mini-pcie connector, but I have no idea if pfsense even supports any mini pcie cards, and couldn't find any answers via search.
    FYI: I would love to use this:
    http://www.mini-box.com/MSI-IM-945GSE-Mini-ITX-Motherboard?sc=8&category=1178
    board, but its out of my budget :(

    Edit: or do I just pick up a G and or N ap, throw it on a vlan and call it good ;) (and if so, what AP woudl you recommend)?



  • See http://www.netgate.com/index.php?cPath=26_34 and http://www.pcengines.ch/order1.php?c=4 for some mini-PCI wireless cards. The Atheros wireless chipsets are well regarded in the pfSense forums. You would probably need to check with the supplier that the board's chipset is supported in FreeBSD/pfSense.

    As best I know, FreeBSD/pfSense doesn't yet support any "wireless N" chipsets.

    If you are determined to use a mini-ITX board another option is to use a wireless PCI card and a VLAN capable switch to effectively provide multiple "virtual LAN" ports over the single physical LAN port. The Procurve 1400-8G is probably the cheapest VLAN capable switch around and Procurve gear is well regarded in the pfSense forums.

    For my home network I chose to have the wireless AP in my pfSense box for the convenience of having a single box and single management interface over multiple boxes and management interfaces. My setup has a Jetway mini-ITX board with single LAN daughter card, USB NIC, PCI wireless NIC and USB wireless NIC. I know others have had quality issues with Jetway boards but my experience has been positive.



  • Thanks, but I already own an atheros based mini-pci card, I was wondering about mini-pcie  ;)

    I think I've solved my problem using a method that doesn't involve having to go the mini-PCIe route, but I would still be interested to find out (if anyone happens to know).



  • Sorry I missed the "e" in mini-PCIe.

    I guess you saw this card: http://www.mini-box.com/802-11-b-g-Wireless-Lan-PCI-E. I find the descriptive text for the card confusing: for example,

    • does this card provide BOTH a USB interface AND a PCI-Express interface?

    • what's a USB 2.0 Mini-Card?

    I'd want to have more details about the card before I would seriously consider buying it.



  • part of the mini-PCIe spec requires having usb2.0 pins as well.  Because of this, many mini-PCIe cards just use usb chipsets, which leads me to then wonder, what good usb chipsets do people use for pfsense, and is there a mini-PCIe equivalent?

    (again, I've already found what I think is a more than adequate solution that gives me 2 pci slots, as per my other thread, so this is just mere pondering at this point)



  • @Tuckie:

    part of the mini-PCIe spec requires having usb2.0 pins as well.  Because of this, many mini-PCIe cards just use usb chipsets

    In which case the host connection and power supply is by USB and the mini-PCIe connector on the PCB effectively just provides a mounting mechanism?


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