Wireless recommendations for alix2D3 kit



  • so i'm picking up an alix2D3 kit from netgate for one of our small offices (4 users, dual wan) and i've got an extra $100 or so in my budget.  i'd like to pick up a wireless card to accompany so that i can replace a couple of older soho units that we use there now.

    i'll need a couple of different vlans paired w/ separate ssids, but nothing to crazy.

    netgate has this page of alix wireless kits: http://www.netgate.com/index.php?cPath=27_86

    the problem is that i don't know the first thing about them.

    any recommendations?

    thanks,
    -pete



  • From what I've heard, you're better off getting a dedicated access point than doing the wifi card. It's easier, and you get better performance.



  • Separate SSIDs?  Do you mean that you want to have it running multiple wireless networks?



  • @networkninja:

    From what I've heard, you're better off getting a dedicated access point than doing the wifi card.

    gar, but there's room in the budget… ;]

    @Efonne:

    Separate SSIDs?  Do you mean that you want to have it running multiple wireless networks?

    yes, separate ssids.  i've dabbled w/ this on a couple of linky-wrt54gs running ddwrt, where you have 1 device running 2 ssids that each map to separate vlans.  supposedly it's very possible but i've had a tough time finding good documentation, and i prefer pfsesne if possible.

    we have an environment where we occasionally need web access for visitors and always need it for employees.  multiple physical access points would be simpler yes, but we tend to have some hardware (read:smallish budget) constraints, so switching ports that are vlan aware are at a premium.

    if i can do all of that on one piece of hardware then my task list (not to mention the stack of blinking, flashing crap on the shelf in the supply closet) just got smaller.


  • Rebel Alliance Developer Netgate

    You can do VAPs on pfSense 2.0 BETA (multliple SSIDs on one card) but the chip has to support it as well.

    The 5212 chip supports VAPs I think, as does the 5413, and there is an N chip supported but I don't recall the chip #, 54xx somewhere.

    VAPs are still sort of a work in progress in 2.0 but from what I've heard they should work acceptably on Atheros cards.

    These features don't exist on pfSense 1.2.3, so you'd also be taking the risk of running a BETA quality release in that role.



  • From what I've experienced PFSense 1.2.3 doesn't do traffic shaping across multiple adapters, even with bridging enabled.  So, if you use the built in wireless AND LAN for internal and one of the other ports for external, you are SOL.

    Thus the recommendation to use an external WAP so everything goes through the LAN port internally.  You can get cheap AP's for less than the cost of the mini-pci adapters at netgate so from a budget perspective I don't think you'd have a challenge.  Issue might be in security but there are a few DDWRT capable routers available for <$40 (check out newegg). Turn off the routing and DHCP servers and use them as a WAP should work fine and give you some advanced functionality.

    Similarly to traffic shaping, I believe that Load Balancing is also not supported / working in 1.2.3 for two 'source' devices with two target WAN devices.

    I'm anxiously awaiting for 2.0… I tried a build a month or so ago but had some stability issues and gave up on it.



  • excellent guys.  thanks for the info.  in the end i was a bit hasty and picked up a CM9 which packs an atheros 5004 (5004G i think to be specific).  we'll see how it comes out.

    at the least it should get me one one more access point before i have to add a vlan-aware switch.

    the package from netgate showed up last week but is still sitting behind my desk.  i'm hoping to get dug out from some other projects later this week and start tinkering.  i'll post anything i find.

    -p


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