How to combine pfSense with HTPC? (which software? :>)

  • Okay, will try to explain as best I can what I want. my English is not exactly the best.

    To begin with, I wonder if it even possible to combine a HTPC with pfSense? I mean to have a video output to my TV while I virtualizes pfSense.

    I plan to cut down on the number of servers in my home and try to combine my everyday server with pfSense.

    hardware that will be used

    Intel Core 2 Duo 4400 2.0GHz (notice this cpu aint support hardware virtualization)
    2GB DDR2
    1x Built in 1gbit, most likely a Realtek or something ..
    2x intel pro 1000gt
    and probably a video card that can decode video to relieve CPU usage.

    which services I run on my home server is: ftp for home use, web server for home use and primarily play HD movies to my TV. I also use a lot of torrents activities which result in many connections.

    what would be the most optimal set up for this project? I am really a beginner in terms of virtualization but I'm not stupid so I am learning very easy. In Fact, this will then become the first time I put up a serious solution, not just playing around with virtualbox … I just do not know what kind of solution to use for this purpose because I need to get picture to the tv.

    I have 100Mbit download and 10Mbit upload per ip, and I get 5 from my isp so I will use multiwan to get ~ 100/50. Can I do this by using virtual NIC's? (since I got 3 NIC's, 1 for WAN(5xWAN?), 1 for LAN and 1 for the "windows server")

    and by the way, I will be using Windows on the HTPC.

    if its possible to come up with a setup for this, the main quastion is what software should I use? vmware(wich type?), xen, virtualbox, .. etc etc?

    what configuration then? how much RAM and CPU to pfSense?

    Hope you understand what I am looking for!


  • The only real solution would be to use Vmware Server or Virtualbox in my opinion, however, I would not.

    The HTPC market is very.. non-comfortable for me, as I just use an Xbox360 (in the livingroom) and a PS3 (in the bedroom) for streaming solutions, and I was concidering some TV-streaming aswell so I'm contemplating mythTV now.

    However, the machine in itself is not very powerful, but sure, running this in OS-virtualization as mentioned above is a possibility, but not in my comfortzone.

    Just my two cents.

  • I see. And if i would replace my CPU with another that supports hardware virtualization, what options do I then have? Will there be a better performance?

  • i tried this very thing but ran into some problems:

    i used ubuntu 10.04 as the base os and vmware server 2.0 for it's web based administration. there's a bug in vmware with vlans so a bunch of tinkering had to be done. even then it didn't seem to work for 1 of my 3 internet connections. i got 2 up no problems, just the third wouldn't work. i did give up on it.

    i think it could work but it becomes harder to manage. if you have a problem with ubuntu, vmware or pfsense the box may have to come down. let's say you get stuck on some vmware issue… you have no internet to do a quick search with!

    in the end i used a low end system for vmware (p3 1ghz) and a high end system for htpc. i'd rather have one system but atleast now i don't have to loose my voip if i need to reboot the htpc.

  • I actually manage to get a stable setup running now. With Oracle VirtualBox.

    r_server.exe is the remote desktop service used. VirtualBox.exe use about 60% CPU with torrents and 10MB/s download on one of the two 2GHz cores.

    PING ( from 56 data bytes
    64 bytes from icmp_seq=0 ttl=249 time=1.638 ms
    64 bytes from icmp_seq=1 ttl=249 time=1.460 ms
    64 bytes from icmp_seq=2 ttl=249 time=1.546 ms
    64 bytes from icmp_seq=3 ttl=249 time=1.824 ms
    64 bytes from icmp_seq=4 ttl=249 time=1.538 ms

    ping seems to be stable too.

    Seems to handle the 100MBit connection good too. Using 1 IntelPRO1000gt NIC as WAN, 2 virtual NICs on that card and running multiwan 20MBit*3.

    Though I got one problem. Setting up rules for SSL to only use one interface works great but some other programs n shit aint working that good witout "sticky connections". When using sticky connections pfsense doesnt use multiwan at all, all connections seems to run on OPT1 or something. Running torrents without sticky connections reslut in like 5-6MB/s upload, and with sticky connections like 2MB/s (only 1 interface).

    Any ideas?

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