Compatible USB 2.0 Ethernet Adapter?



  • I've looked at the HCL for FreeBSD 7.0 and see many USB ethernet adapters listed. However, I've learned that you can't always trust the HCL (see my previous posts). Can anybody recommend to me a USB 2.0 Ethernet adapter that works well with pfSense and that I can find cheaply online?



  • Nobody has used a USB 2.0 adapter with pfSense or FreeBSD 7.0?



  • This is not an easy area because some suppliers use the same model name for devices with different chipsets. Since the FreeBSD/pfSense support is tied to the chipset and suppliers generally don't promote the chipset they use in the device it is difficult to buy something by model name and be certain it will work.

    I presume you are wanting a USB adapter so you can have more interfaces on a particular box. It would probably be a lot less hassle and more reliable but more expensive to use VLANs and a VLAN capable switch to get the addtional interfaces.

    I've seen a number of USB ethernet adapters on Ebay. The cheapest say they are USB 2.0 compliant but then say they support full speed (12Mbps). None of theose I looked at say what chipset they use.  Maybe you could persuade one of the sellers to let you try one and return for full refund if it doesn't work with FreeBSD.

    If you are prepared to pay a bit more and don't mind the possible hassle I suggest

    • adopt a pfSense build based on FreeBSD 7.2

    • comb the HCL for FreeBSD 7.2 and make a list of drivers for USB ethernet devices

    • for each of the USB devices consult the driver man page through http://www.freebsd.org/cgi/man.cgi looking for devices that claim support for USB 2.0. For those devices supporting USB 2.0 see if you can find a supplier who will take the device back for a refund if you can't get it to work in FreeBSD.

    A couple of years ago I was looking for USB NICs. The only "cheap" ones available on Ebay were USB 1.1 devices with FreeBSD support unstated. I bought a few and it turned out they all had a Davicom 9601 chipset but used different IDs so only some were recognised by FreeBSD's udav driver. It wasn't particularly straightforward to get the other devices recognised and in fact they are still not recognised by FreeBSD 7.2 but, from reading the device driver source code, it looks as if they might be recognised in FreeBSD 8.0.

    I few months ago I bought a Ritmo brand USB 2.0 NIC from an "outlet" shop for rather more than I had paid on Ebay but I couldn't find a driver for it in FreeBSD 7.2. I think there is a driver for this adapter in one of the other BSDs. Maybe I'll get around to porting the driver to FreeBSD.



  • wallabybob,

    Thanks for your detailed reply. Unfortunately I can't use VLANs in this case because I need the device for my WAN connection (I'm using a laptop with one onboard NIC).

    There was somebody on the FreeBSD forum that recommended the Linksys USB300M with 7.2. Which pfSense builds are based on 7.2?

    Thanks again,
    Ian



  • I've used the D-Link DUB-E100 Version B1 with 1.2.2 and 1.2.3RC.
    It uses the axe driver, throws errors regularly, but seems to work reasonably well as a second WAN.
    I wouldn't use one for a LAN connection. Keep in mind D-Link likes to change things and not tell anyone, so if you get a newer version, it may not work. The 1.2.3RC version is probably your best bet for running one of these.



  • @fizix:

    Which pfSense builds are based on 7.2?

    Snapshot builds of pfSense 1.2.3 have been based on FreeBSD 7.2 for some time now.



  • @fizix:

    Thanks for your detailed reply. Unfortunately I can't use VLANs in this case because I need the device for my WAN connection (I'm using a laptop with one onboard NIC).

    You can in fact use VLANs, as long as your WAN <-> LAN bandwidth needs don't approach/exceed half the capacity of your one interface.  This is sometimes referred to as a "router-on-a-stick" configuration.  Set up two VLANs on your laptop's network interface, then set up the switch port it hangs off of to handle both of those VLANs.  Attach your WAN VLAN to one of the remaining ports and connect your modem there, then attach the LAN VLAN to all the other ports.  Done, you now have a functioning router with a single ethernet port.

    This is actually how many home routers work.  My Linksys WRT54GS has a single ethernet interface to its CPU and a six port switch which is configured out of the box with two VLANs.  Port 0 is internal only and connects to the CPU with both VLANs, port 1 is on vlan0 for WAN, ports 2-5 are on the vlan1 for LAN, and both vlan1 and eth1 (wireless) are bridged in to br0 as the "real" LAN interface as far as Linux is concerned.  All we're doing here is the same thing, but with standalone components.

    That said, I have plugged a number of USB NICs in to my pfSense boxes over the years and they've all just worked.  I could be lucky, but when building a 6-WAN 1-LAN machine in college I had all four USB NICs I could round up between my roommates and I plus two PCI units and the onboard all working under one of the 1.0.x builds without any hacking.  This is probably easier



  • @wolrah:

    @fizix:

    Thanks for your detailed reply. Unfortunately I can't use VLANs in this case because I need the device for my WAN connection (I'm using a laptop with one onboard NIC).

    You can in fact use VLANs, as long as your WAN <-> LAN bandwidth needs don't approach/exceed half the capacity of your one interface.  This is sometimes referred to as a "router-on-a-stick" configuration.  Set up two VLANs on your laptop's network interface, then set up the switch port it hangs off of to handle both of those VLANs.  Attach your WAN VLAN to one of the remaining ports and connect your modem there, then attach the LAN VLAN to all the other ports.  Done, you now have a functioning router with a single ethernet port.

    This is actually how many home routers work.  My Linksys WRT54GS has a single ethernet interface to its CPU and a six port switch which is configured out of the box with two VLANs.  Port 0 is internal only and connects to the CPU with both VLANs, port 1 is on vlan0 for WAN, ports 2-5 are on the vlan1 for LAN, and both vlan1 and eth1 (wireless) are bridged in to br0 as the "real" LAN interface as far as Linux is concerned.  All we're doing here is the same thing, but with standalone components.

    That said, I have plugged a number of USB NICs in to my pfSense boxes over the years and they've all just worked.  I could be lucky, but when building a 6-WAN 1-LAN machine in college I had all four USB NICs I could round up between my roommates and I plus two PCI units and the onboard all working under one of the 1.0.x builds without any hacking.  This is probably easier

    Great idea! I'm gonna try this when I get home.



  • @fizix:

    @wolrah:

    @fizix:

    Thanks for your detailed reply. Unfortunately I can't use VLANs in this case because I need the device for my WAN connection (I'm using a laptop with one onboard NIC).

    You can in fact use VLANs, as long as your WAN <-> LAN bandwidth needs don't approach/exceed half the capacity of your one interface.  This is sometimes referred to as a "router-on-a-stick" configuration.  Set up two VLANs on your laptop's network interface, then set up the switch port it hangs off of to handle both of those VLANs.  Attach your WAN VLAN to one of the remaining ports and connect your modem there, then attach the LAN VLAN to all the other ports.  Done, you now have a functioning router with a single ethernet port.

    This is actually how many home routers work.  My Linksys WRT54GS has a single ethernet interface to its CPU and a six port switch which is configured out of the box with two VLANs.  Port 0 is internal only and connects to the CPU with both VLANs, port 1 is on vlan0 for WAN, ports 2-5 are on the vlan1 for LAN, and both vlan1 and eth1 (wireless) are bridged in to br0 as the "real" LAN interface as far as Linux is concerned.  All we're doing here is the same thing, but with standalone components.

    That said, I have plugged a number of USB NICs in to my pfSense boxes over the years and they've all just worked.  I could be lucky, but when building a 6-WAN 1-LAN machine in college I had all four USB NICs I could round up between my roommates and I plus two PCI units and the onboard all working under one of the 1.0.x builds without any hacking.  This is probably easier

    Great idea! I'm gonna try this when I get home.

    I tried it but can't figure out a way to make it work since I don't have a static IP from my ISP :(



  • @fizix:

    I tried it but can't figure out a way to make it work since I don't have a static IP from my ISP :(

    It = "using USB nics"?
    It = "using VLANs"?

    In either case, I don't understand why you think a static IP on WAN is required. (I don't use VLANs but I do have a USB NIC as my WAN interface and it gets it's IP address by DHCP.)



  • @wallabybob:

    @fizix:

    I tried it but can't figure out a way to make it work since I don't have a static IP from my ISP :(

    It = "using USB nics"?
    It = "using VLANs"?

    In either case, I don't understand why you think a static IP on WAN is required. (I don't use VLANs but I do have a USB NIC as my WAN interface and it gets it's IP address by DHCP.)

    Sorry, I should have been more specific. I tried to set up VLANs but was unable to because everything I read indicated that I would need a static IP from my ISP. Please correct me if this is wrong.



  • VLANs behave like physical NICs. You can use DHCP, etc. on a VLAN interface. All you need is a VLAN capable switch and the proper configuration. If you don't have a VLAN capable switch, getting a USB ethernet adapter would be cheaper/easier.



  • @dotdash:

    VLANs behave like physical NICs. You can use DHCP, etc. on a VLAN interface. All you need is a VLAN capable switch and the proper configuration. If you don't have a VLAN capable switch, getting a USB ethernet adapter would be cheaper/easier.

    Yes, I'm using DD-WRT on my router. However, when I assign a VLAN don't I need to assign a gateway IP to that VLAN? If so, I don't know what I'd use since my ISP is assigning me an IP via DHCP. I know very little about VLANs so I could be wrong…



  • I have never tried to use DDWRT as a VLAN switch. I think I remember a post where someone was doing that. If I recall correctly, it didn't work. Anyway, that's between you and DDWRT. I know that if you configure a switch correctly, and add a vlan interface to pfsense correctly, you can configure it like any other interface- static, dhcp…



  • Ok, I'm going to rephrase my question: What IP address would I assign to my VLAN if my cable modem is assigning the interface it's IP address via DHCP?



  • @fizix:

    Ok, I'm going to rephrase my question: What IP address would I assign to my VLAN if my cable modem is assigning the interface it's IP address via DHCP?

    If you specify the interface type as "DHCP" you shouldn't be required to supply an IP address.



  • @wallabybob:

    @fizix:

    Ok, I'm going to rephrase my question: What IP address would I assign to my VLAN if my cable modem is assigning the interface it's IP address via DHCP?

    If you specify the interface type as "DHCP" you shouldn't be required to supply an IP address.

    Yup, you were right, somehow I missed that. I got my 'router on a stick' working last night but for some reason my VLAN changes in pfSense only seemed to take effect when I rebooted. It took me a while to figure out why my changes didn't seem to work.


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