HARDWARE QUESTION



  • I'm new to pfsense,  I'm looking into creating a router out of a mini-itx mobo with at least 2 gigabit NIC's and a wifi PCI card.  The things is I'm not sure how to check if everything is compatible with pfsense.

    The Motherboard im looking at is below which already has 3 gigabit sisterboard card added.  the only thing is im not sure if it will be completely compatible.

    http://cgi.ebay.com/Jetway-NC92-330-LF-Intel-Atom-330-Mini-ITX-MB-3x-GBLAN-/400053320685?cmd=ViewItem&pt=Motherboards&hash=item5d25093bed
    

    As far as wifi im not sure how to check the chip sets of wifi Card. to check compatibly.

    any information would be great.

    Thanks
    Casey Parman



  • pfSense is not Linux (and if I had a penny for every time I've said that I'd be rich).

    The compatibility list is here and information in particular about wireless is here.



  • @Cry:

    pfSense is not Linux (and if I had a penny for every time I've said that I'd be rich).

    The compatibility list is here and information in particular about wireless is here.

    Thanks i actually knew it ran on FreeBSD though i completely forgot when posting this.

    What would be the best process of finding out if the mobo and daughterboard would be compatible.  just checking the NIC's chipset? If so how really would i go about that?



  • Options include:

    1. Look at the manufacturer's specification and cross-check against the hardware compatibility list
    2. Google for "FreeBSD 7.2 Jetway NC92" and read what you find
    3. Search this forum for "NC92"


  • FWIW, the 3x Gbit LAN board is a regular PCI Realtek RTL8169 based daughterboard. So the chipset is supported by the re(4) driver and there's no reason to believe it won't work with pfSense. I'm using the same daughterboard on an older Jetway motherboard (VIA Eden 1GHz fanless), but I'm not running pfSense on that system so I can't tell it for a fact.



  • @scoop:

    FWIW, the 3x Gbit LAN board is a regular PCI Realtek RTL8169 based daughterboard. So the chipset is supported by the re(4) driver and there's no reason to believe it won't work with pfSense. I'm using the same daughterboard on an older Jetway motherboard (VIA Eden 1GHz fanless), but I'm not running pfSense on that system so I can't tell it for a fact.

    Then why is it pretty much impossible to find them on the compatibly list.  as for the motherboard it uses Intel 945GC + ICH7 Chipset i was able to find the ICH7 but nothing on 9445GC



  • @pman860507:

    Then why is it pretty much impossible to find them on the compatibly list.

    One factor: its likely that the FreeBSD community doesn't have enough people who are prepared to buy new bits of hardware, try them out and report back to the developers.

    Concerning the Jetway 3 Gigabit LAN daughtercard: I believe that as well as the "Realtek" daughtercard there is also a (more expensive) daughtercard with Intel Gigabit NICs.

    For WiFI, see http://forum.pfsense.org/index.php/topic,25759.0.html for some possibilities. I've only ever seen the Marvell 88W8363 on a mini-PCI board but that doesn't mean there aren't PCI boards using it.



  • @wallabybob:

    @pman860507:

    Then why is it pretty much impossible to find them on the compatibly list.

    One factor: its likely that the FreeBSD community doesn't have enough people who are prepared to buy new bits of hardware, try them out and report back to the developers.

    Concerning the Jetway 3 Gigabit LAN daughtercard: I believe that as well as the "Realtek" daughtercard there is also a (more expensive) daughtercard with Intel Gigabit NICs.

    For WiFI, see http://forum.pfsense.org/index.php/topic,25759.0.html for some possibilities. I've only ever seen the Marvell 88W8363 on a mini-PCI board but that doesn't mean there aren't PCI boards using it.

    The Wifi Card i was looking at was the TP-Link TL-WN651G. seems to be a stable card.  the 3 Gigabit LAN daughtercard comes with the board really the main reason I'm looking into it. and i guess if the on board NIC didst work i could just one on the daughtercard. since i really only need two NIC's



  • i know i hit the edit button!!!

    edit i was just reading and it looks like this board should work

    http://www.logicsupply.com/products/nc92_330_lf
    

    but which daughtercard to use?



  • I expect if you poke around the logicsupply web site or the Jetway web site you will find out what chips are used in the daughter cards. That information can then be checked against the relevant FreeBSD hardware support list.

    There has been a fair bit of discussion in the pfSense forums about Realtek NICs. General consensus seems to be that the early Realtek NICs were pretty awful. Some people have found more recent Realtek NICs have given satisfactory performance. General consensus seems to be that Intel NICs are among the best.



  • While I don't use an NC92 board, I do use the 3 Intel NIC daughterboard and it's great. Very stable.

    I only needed two nics also, but for $80 or so it was worth it.

    BTW I use this board. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813153065

    It's running a 25/25 fios line with one ipsec vpn. 10 users. 512 Ram (still can't find a compatable 1GB chip)

    CPU is about 1% Memory used between 9-13%



  • The motherboard is fine as far as compatibility goes.  It is a piece of junk though.  I bought 5 of them last year, 1 died within 6 months and 3 more bit it within a year.  Only 1 still works.



  • @jasonlitka:

    The motherboard is fine as far as compatibility goes.  It is a piece of junk though.  I bought 5 of them last year, 1 died within 6 months and 3 more bit it within a year.  Only 1 still works.

    with that in mind i might have to look into other boards.



  • What kind of performance do you need?  You mentioned needing (2) Gbe ports but do they actually need to be Gbe?  If so, sorry, but an Atom probably isn't going to cut it anyway.

    I replaced my JetWay hardware with these:

    http://www.lannerinc.com/Network_Application_Platforms/x86_Network_Appliance/FW-7872

    I chose it because you can get two of them in 1U and do CARP.  Mine originally had Celeron M 440 CPUs in them but I've since upgraded to Core 2 Duo T7400 chips.  There is room for 4GB of RAM in case you use RAM-heavy apps like snort, space for a 2.5" drive (though I'm using SLC CompactFlash with a full install), and the system uses Intel NICs.\

    The wireless is another issue.  You're far better off using an external AP than tossing a card into your pfSense box.  With an external AP you can use 802.11n and position it wherever you need for better coverage and performance.



  • @jasonlitka:

    What kind of performance do you need?  You mentioned needing (2) Gbe ports but do they actually need to be Gbe?  If so, sorry, but an Atom probably isn't going to cut it anyway.

    I replaced my JetWay hardware with these:

    http://www.lannerinc.com/Network_Application_Platforms/x86_Network_Appliance/FW-7872

    I chose it because you can get two of them in 1U and do CARP.  Mine originally had Celeron M 440 CPUs in them but I've since upgraded to Core 2 Duo T7400 chips.  There is room for 4GB of RAM in case you use RAM-heavy apps like snort, space for a 2.5" drive (though I'm using SLC CompactFlash with a full install), and the system uses Intel NICs.\

    The wireless is another issue.  You're far better off using an external AP than tossing a card into your pfSense box.  With an external AP you can use 802.11n and position it wherever you need for better coverage and performance.

    i really do need Gigabit since i copy large files from my computer to my server almost daily.  wifi isn't really a big issue its just required for my wife computer and for phones other then that i think its worthless.  ;D  also where my box will be will be centralized giving the best reception in my house. so i would really like it to be inside of it. for the casing i think I'm going to try and create my own. though i have not decided 100% yet.



  • @pman860507:

    i really do need Gigabit since i copy large files from my computer to my server almost daily.

    As long as the computers are on the same switch and on the same subnet you don't need to have gigabit in your router. The traffic doesn't hit your router.



  • @CaseyBlackburn:

    @pman860507:

    i really do need Gigabit since i copy large files from my computer to my server almost daily.

    As long as the computers are on the same switch and on the same subnet you don't need to have gigabit in your router. The traffic doesn't hit your router.

    Thats good to know would it effect my download traffic though?  i pay for 30Mbps down and 2.5mb up. if not then i might look into to other's since my switch is Gigabit.



  • @pman860507:

    @CaseyBlackburn:

    @pman860507:

    i really do need Gigabit since i copy large files from my computer to my server almost daily.

    As long as the computers are on the same switch and on the same subnet you don't need to have gigabit in your router. The traffic doesn't hit your router.

    Thats good to know would it effect my download traffic though?   i pay for 30Mbps down and 2.5mb up. if not then i might look into to other's since my switch is Gigabit.

    It shouldn't cause any issues. 32.5Mbps of transfer + overhead is still less than 100mbps. Just get Intel nics or something good and you'll have no throughput issues with internet. You just don't want your little Atom processor to get faced with a lot of offloading from a poor quality nic like Realtek does. You may be able to have no throughput issues with a Realtek at just 32.5mbps of throughput.



  • So far I'm not hearing anything that an Alix board wouldn't cover.  They're good up to about 80Mbit/s and I've had no issues with my 35/35 FiOS.



  • mobo: Jetway NC92-330-LF Dual Core Atom Mini-ITX Mainboard
    http://www.logicsupply.com/products/nc92_330_lf
    Daughterboards: 3x 10/100/1000 Intel LAN Module (AD3INLANG)
    Memory: DDR2 667 RAM 2GB
    Hard drive: use spare.
    Psu:  picoPSU-120, 120W 12V DC-DC Plug-in Power Converter
    http://www.idotpc.com/thestore/pc/viewPrd.asp?idproduct=262&idcategory=0

    Wlan: TP-LINK TL-WN651G 108Mbps Super G Wireless
    http://cgi.ebay.com/TP-LINK-TL-WN651G-108Mbps-Super-G-Wireless-PCI-Adapter-/220568309824?cmd=ViewItem&pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item335ae55040

    any objections?



  • The WLAN PCI card is based on the Atheros AR2414 chipset. From what I can gather this chipset is supposed to be supported by the ath(4) driver in 7.2, but the manpage makes no mention of the chipset being supported. As for the picoPSU, I would use the 90W version or lower as it would be more than enough and probably more energy efficient at lower loads (say ~45 watts total).



  • @scoop:

    The WLAN PCI card is based on the Atheros AR2414 chipset. From what I can gather this chipset is supposed to be supported by the ath(4) driver in 7.2, but the manpage makes no mention of the chipset being supported. As for the picoPSU, I would use the 90W version or lower as it would be more than enough and probably more energy efficient at lower loads (say ~45 watts total).

    Yeah everywhere i have read says that the card works great. thanks for the heads up on the PSU



  • I have that card in one of my systems and the one I have is reported as an AR5212.



  • I wanted to update this for future members that need help choosing hardware. I have everything but the wireless card running on 1.2.3 and its running flawlessly.
    Thanks again for all your help.


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