Hard finding what I need, help me out.



  • So right now I have a Dlink router managing my home network, attached is my main rig + HTPC, a few wireless laptops and once and a while I have a server I boot up and play with.

    I want to build a PFsense box for defence, managability and to learn as its pretty damn cool.

    I figure what I need is a mini-itx case+motherboard that has 2 GBe NICs.. internet in one end and the other will go to my router or perhaps straight to my switch and the rest of my network.

    I can't seem to find and dual nic mini-itx boards.. aside from jetway+daughterboards. Soekris units seem like a decent idea but id rather piece one together myself.

    What's my best option? if im being to vague let me know

    Thanks,

    Edit: something like this? http://www.mini-box.com/Intel-Mini-ITX-Boards



  • If you search the forums you should find other people reporting positive experience with mini-ITX motherboards that have two on-board NICs and aren't made by Jetway.

    Since its unlikely you have a WAN connection that runs at anything like 1Gbps you could use VLANs on one interface and a VLAN capable switch to get more interfaces.

    There are at least a couple of supported WiFi USB NICs that are capable of acting as Access Points.



  • If you search the forums you should find other people reporting positive experience with mini-ITX motherboards that have two on-board NICs and aren't made by Jetway.

    Since its unlikely you have a WAN connection that runs at anything like 1Gbps you could use VLANs on one interface and a VLAN capable switch to get more interfaces.

    There are at least a couple of supported WiFi USB NICs that are capable of acting as Access Points.

    I'm not clear on what you are suggesting. Are you saying run Pfsense w/ dual nics and run that to a managed switch which is trunked and distribute the connection to different networks via different vlans? Gigabit managed switches are $$$.

    Here is a visualization of what is going on in my mind, does it make sense?

    http://img715.imageshack.us/i/pfsense.png/



  • @Guldan:

    I'm not clear on what you are suggesting. Are you saying run Pfsense w/ dual nics and run that to a managed switch which is trunked and distribute the connection to different networks via different vlans?

    No, what you have proposed will work fine. A concern some people might have about mini-ITX systems is the limited expansion capability (only one PCI slot). I was (rather ineptly) pointing out some expansion capabilities. Then being aware of those expansion capabilities you MIGHT choose to use a mini-ITX motherboard with only one on-board NIC (there is a bigger range of these than motherboards with two NICs onboard and they seem considerably cheaper), use the PCI (or PCI-E) expansion slot for a second NIC and still have expansion capability by VLANs and USB slots.

    @Guldan:

    Gigabit managed switches are $$$.

    I know of a number of VLAN capable switches which don't seem to cost any more than a four port card:  Routerboard 250GS (5 GigE ports, VLAN support), HP/Procurve V1700-8 and V1810-8, TP-Link TL-SL2210WEB and Linksys SLM2008. There are probably others.



  • Appreciate the response. How would it act as a router with only one NIC? would I need to use wifi to bridge connections?

    If this is the case, I could use something like this = http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=60561&vpn=ZBOXHD-ND01&manufacture=Zotac&promoid=1317



  • @Guldan:

    Appreciate the response. How would it act as a router with only one NIC? would I need to use wifi to bridge connections?

    Most mini-ITX motherboards I have seen have at least one NIC on the motherboard and one PCI or PCI-Express expansion slot. By using the expansion slot you can have two NICs. Some mini-ITX motherboards have a mini-PCI or mini-PCI-Express slot which could be used for a wireless NIC. Alternatively, a USB socket could be used to provide for a wireless NIC.

    Suppose you want to enhance the box by adding a separate LAN for servers accessible from the public Internet. You can't put any more NICs in the box (except possibly USB NICs and a number of people have reported unsatisfactory experiences with USB NICs) so you could use a VLAN capable switch to get more wired interfaces. If I recall correctly, Wikipedia has an informative article on VLANs.

    I have a mini-ITX box as my pfSense router. It has a Jetway motherboard with one NIC, a one NIC daughter card, a PCI wireless card. I use VLANs over the NIC in the daughter card and a VLAN capable switch to get two virtual interfaces over the one physical interface: one for WAN and one for OPT1 to a server accessible from the Internet. I was using a USB NIC but that was often not recognised on startup so the startup needed manual intervention to complete. That drove me to the VLAN solution and getting rid of the USB NIC.


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