Dual LAN motherboard, AMD fusion, mITX or mATX?



  • Are dual LAN motherboards scarcer than hen's teeth?  Seems the perfect low-electricity, high processing power pfSense board.  But is only single LAN available, and I must find a way to add a dual-LAN PCIe X4 card to my 1U rackmount chassis?

    I would really like the AMD fusion processing power.  I have 20/2Mbit cable, but 50/10 is available. I am sure the  fiber-fed DOCSIS 3.0 Comcast coax in my neighborhood is capable of 100/50 Mbps.  I also use VPN a bit, and would like to ensure the router has an excess of processing power.

    Supermicro has a really nice dual-Intel LAN Atom D525.  But I suspect the atom could fall short if I switch to 50/10Mb cable and use VPN.

    Any dual LAN AMD boards out there?



  • I've gone down the dot1q route instead of trying to find the (rather rare) dual network interface options

    The new fusion chips seem to be preferred over the D510/525, but the difference isn't huge. You might

    I understand the measly geode processors can push 90mbit if you're just doing Layer 4 sort of stuff, and the D510 is much more capable.

    When it comes to VPN, this is a lot less clearcut. However my atom d510 is good for approx 20mbyte / second (160mbit) throughput on AES-128-CBC on a single core (Blowfish is closer to 60mbytes / second and is generally quite robust), leaving the other core for the routing and the natting.

    So basically, a D510 should do the job,  a D525 is marginally faster. The AMD E-350 will be faster, and perhaps give you some more headroom if you want decent openvpn throughput.
    I suspect there are a good number of D510 users here, so this board might give you a bit less earlier adopter pains
    My advice would be to buy whatever is best value for money / has the availability - especially if you want dual interface. That's probably going to be the atom at the moment



  • @wishy:

    I've gone down the dot1q route instead of trying to find the (rather rare) dual network interface options

    What is dot1q?

    Yes, Atom may well be the only dual LAN motherboard available today.



  • @lifespeed:

    What is dot1q?

    Yes, Atom may well be the only dual LAN motherboard available today.

    802.1q also known as VLAN with tagging capabilities.  Basically, he is referring to using a single VLAN capable gigabit NIC with a VLAN capable switch to 'multiply' the physical interface (NIC).



  • Sorry, using network geek terms.

    Well, you could use a 10/100/1000mbit interface as well, but gig is a good place to start.

    Basically you need a "proper" managed switch, and then you can push as many virtual interfaces as you're likely to need down the one interface to your pfsense box.
    Only real limitation is you only get the throughput on the physical network interface for obvious reasons. Less of a limitation with gigabit.

    Would imagine there are a fair few users under pfsense. From a security point of view its reasonably ok



  • @wishy:

    Sorry, using network geek terms.

    Well, you could use a 10/100/1000mbit interface as well, but gig is a good place to start.

    Are we distinguishing between gigabit ethernet and 10/100/1000mbit ethernet now?  I thought that was six of one, half dozen of the other.

    I have a Netgear GS716Tv2 "smart" switch that supports VLAN and 802.1q, terms I would have understood the first time.  This is what I intend to connect to the Single Port, or one of Two Ports on the router moutherboard.

    I understand that you are using a single ethernet port, through a good switch, to provide both the WAN and LAN connections separated by virtue of separate VLANs.  Is this something I should consider doing because it provides multiple motherboard options without the hassle and expense of adding an ethernet card?  Are there any drawbacks as to ease of use, configuration, etc?  I am not a Free BSD expert, having only managed to set up an Asterisk Atom phone server using the PBX in a Flash distribution.  It would seem that the minimum extra configuration is VLANs in pfSense and the Netgear switch.  Is this well-supported in the PFS GUI?

    It would be hard to imagine that traffic made to share a single Gigabit connection would face a bottleneck from the wire speed limitations, as this would only be WAN traffic with a capability of 50/10Mbps today, probably double that in the future.  Perhaps the ease of use would be the strongest argument against a Single Port router.



  • @lifespeed:

    @wishy:

    Sorry, using network geek terms.

    Well, you could use a 10/100/1000mbit interface as well, but gig is a good place to start.

    Are we distinguishing between gigabit ethernet and 10/100/1000mbit ethernet now?  I thought that was six of one, half dozen of the other.

    Point I were trying to get across is you can dot1q a 100mbit interface if you don't want the expense of a gigabit managed switch. Its non a gigabit feature

    @lifespeed:

    I understand that you are using a single ethernet port, through a good switch, to provide both the WAN and LAN connections separated by virtue of separate VLANs.  Is this something I should consider doing because it provides multiple motherboard options without the hassle and expense of adding an ethernet card?  Are there any drawbacks as to ease of use, configuration, etc?  I am not a Free BSD expert, having only managed to set up an Asterisk Atom phone server using the PBX in a Flash distribution.  It would seem that the minimum extra configuration is VLANs in pfSense and the Netgear switch.  Is this well-supported in the PFS GUI?

    It would be hard to imagine that traffic made to share a single Gigabit connection would face a bottleneck from the wire speed limitations, as this would only be WAN traffic with a capability of 50/10Mbps today, probably double that in the future.  Perhaps the ease of use would be the strongest argument against a Single Port router.

    Its all accessible / configurable via the web interface and works nicely. You do need to make sure your network card (and driver) supports vlan tagging, but they typically do.
    You've got to have a bit more understanding to troubleshoot if the switch doesn't do its job properly right out the box (Or network drivers are an issue)



  • @lifespeed:

    Are we distinguishing between gigabit ethernet and 10/100/1000mbit ethernet now?  I thought that was six of one, half dozen of the other.

    I believe it's a typo, he probably meant 10/100 aka Fast Ethernet which does not commonly support 802.1q (much less often than Gigabit interfaces anyway).

    @lifespeed:

    I have a Netgear GS716Tv2 "smart" switch that supports VLAN and 802.1q, terms I would have understood the first time.  This is what I intend to connect to the Single Port, or one of Two Ports on the router moutherboard.

    I understand that you are using a single ethernet port, through a good switch, to provide both the WAN and LAN connections separated by virtue of separate VLANs.  Is this something I should consider doing because it provides multiple motherboard options without the hassle and expense of adding an ethernet card?

    It is something you can consider since you wouldn't need to hunt for a motherboard with dual-lan features.  Single GBe boards are far more common and often cheaper.

    @lifespeed:

    Are there any drawbacks as to ease of use, configuration, etc?  I am not a Free BSD expert, having only managed to set up an Asterisk Atom phone server using the PBX in a Flash distribution.  It would seem that the minimum extra configuration is VLANs in pfSense and the Netgear switch.  Is this well-supported in the PFS GUI?

    It would be hard to imagine that traffic made to share a single Gigabit connection would face a bottleneck from the wire speed limitations, as this would only be WAN traffic with a capability of 50/10Mbps today, probably double that in the future.  Perhaps the ease of use would be the strongest argument against a Single Port router.

    You can (and should) configure it (at least 1 'WAN' and 1 'LAN')during the first boot.  After that, you can add extra VLANs and VLAN interfaces from the GUI.

    The strongest argument against would be that you need to know VLANs and understand how it relates to the specific switch you are using.  This is because different switch GUI have different terminology and different ways of doing the same thing.
    The RB250GS is a good example.  Trying to tag one way and strip the egress in the SwOS GUI makes it look like you're forcefully tagging the packets both ways when it isn't.

    This is the part (VLAN configuration on the switch) that screws most VLAN setups rather than the pfSense side of things (it's extremely easy on the pfSense side).



  • @wishy:

    You've got to have a bit more understanding to troubleshoot if the switch doesn't do its job properly right out the box (Or network drivers are an issue)

    Thanks for all the info.  I do have a good switch that can do the job.  It also sounds like it requires more familiarity with both pfSense and the VLAN configuration in my switch to setup.  I'll have to decide if the extra pain is worth the added performance from an AMD Fusion vs Intel Atom which is easily available dual Intel LAN.



  • Jetway have a dual NIC AMD fusion mITX:
    http://www.jetway.com.tw/jw/ipcboard_view.asp?productid=822&proname=NF81-T56N-LF
    and has a Mini PciE where you can probably add another NIC or wlan.

    I got mine from linitx, and there is someone selling them on ebay. You can find them if you look hard enough.
    Can't really comment on it as I ordered one a week ago to build a NAS, but still waiting for it to be delivered to Middle East.



  • @thermo:

    Jetway have a dual NIC AMD fusion mITX:
    http://www.jetway.com.tw/jw/ipcboard_view.asp?productid=822&proname=NF81-T56N-LF
    and has a Mini PciE where you can probably add another NIC or wlan.

    I got mine from linitx, and there is someone selling them on ebay. You can find them if you look hard enough.
    Can't really comment on it as I ordered one a week ago to build a NAS, but still waiting for it to be delivered to Middle East.

    That is interesting
    The actual model number for the CPU is :G-T56N
    So we have AMD E-350's and AMD G-T56N
    Both appear to be identical products, the only difference i see is for market they are aimed at.
    The E-350 is amid at mobile devices
    the G-T56N is amid at Embedded devices.

    I also can't seem to find any power usage info for the G-T56N
    I wonder if it will have a higher TDP than the E-350 (18Watts)
    Atom 525 (1.8 GHz) is listed at 13 Watts
    -> edit:  looks like they are both the same @ 18 watts

    Either way, nice find and will be keeping an eye on this.
    My Via C3 (Nehemiah) is getting a little light for my 25/2.5 connection i now have.

    Also for you guys that want to see what atom option was talked about by the OP:
    http://www.supermicro.com/products/motherboard/ATOM/ICH9/X7SPA-H-D525.cfm

    Lastly we also should keep our eyes out for the Via Nano X2.
    This chip should be showing up any time now and I believe be the fastest of the bunch.



  • Just in case anyone else is looking for these motherboards, there are a few -though not all- listed on AMD's product catalog page:

    http://wwwd.amd.com/catalog/salescat.nsf/shopsearchview?SearchView&Query=[processor=AMD+Embedded G-Series Platform] and [form_factor=Mini-ITX]&SearchOrder=4



  • I'm going to go for the Supermicro X7SPE-HF-D525.  Won't need the IPMI interface at the moment as a monitor (HDTV) with multiple inputs is nearby, but it could prove useful when I rearrange all the equipment into a closet.

    Basically, I decided the 2x Intel 82574L Gigabit LAN ports, together with the length of experience with this Atom board in pfSense use are likely to result in a more trouble-free implementation.  I really need a good altQ driver implementation for stellar traffic shaping that will allow my Asterisk PBX to operate stutter-free with other traffic on the network.

    This will go in a Norco RPC-170 1U rack mount chassis.  Will the non-standard flexATX form factor present any issues?

    http://www.supermicro.com/products/motherboard/ATOM/ICH9/X7SPE-HF-D525.cfm
    http://www.norcotek.com/RPC-170.php



  • They do make the board in Mini-ITX
    More case options as mini-ITX has much more support than FlexATX



  • The larger size is only an issue for mini-ITX cases, correct?  I will be using a 19" rackmount 1U case.



  • Yes and no
    Your case also has to have the mounting option for that standard.
    Does the case have mounts for the bottom of the board?  I cant see any docs for it in the link you supplied



  • My assumption was the mounts were miniITX, it would be hard to sell an mboard that was not compatible with standard cases.



  • FlexATX has slightly different mount spots.  you have a few lower ones by the expansion slot that worry me.
    I dont see the lower row (3rd row) from the pic
    http://www.norcotek.com/product_images/flyer/rpc170_5.jpg

    And What is a standard case?
    Many form factors around
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer_form_factor
    With the most common being ATX and Micro ATX

    And based on what i have found here:
    http://www.norcotek.com/item_detail.php?categoryid=1&modelno=RPC-170
    Its does look in fact to be a ATX / Mirco ATX only case (EEB too, but good luck finding a board like that)

    I think if you keep looking at 1U server cases you are going to have a hard time getting FlexATX support.
    Server cases tend to not favor Flex ATX



  • OK, I already have the RPC170 case housing a blu-ray drive for my Norco 4220 RAID storage server. I want to use the otherwise wasted space in the 1U for the router.

    Guess I need to look at mATX boards.  Any suggestions that are low power consumption with dual Intel NICs?



  • The FlexATX board will fit into any case that would fit a MicroATX board.  It's like a slightly longer version of the MiniATX standard (or shorter M-ATX for that matter).

    If your case would support a Full ATX board, you can fit the FlexATX board in it.


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