PfSense on new Mac mini ?

  • Looking at the new Mac mini. It's reasonably priced, powerful enough to handle gigabit network, small form factor plus it's silent.

    Can pfsense be installed on this box? OR it needs some kind of hack?

  • It's not very flexible with the lack of NICs and no good expansion capabilities (hardware of USB NICs suck and can't handle anywhere near 1 Gb), and you can get equally powerful hardware without an Apple logo and with good expansion capabilities for cheaper, so I doubt if anyone's tried that. Personally I'd go with something else (from a guy surrounded by Apple products), an Atom system maybe. It may well work, though I doubt if anyone's spend that kind of coin to try FreeBSD or pfSense on such a box.

  • I have a smart switch so I can live with one NIC (VLANs help). I am looking for the fastest processor (to support gigabit network) with smallest form factor along with silence.

    Need for 4 gigabit VLANs with extremely heavy traffic 24x7… torrents, video, voip, online gaming, lan gaming..etc.. Over 35 users on the network at any given time. Have segregated LAN, Video and VoIP into VLANs.

    Also need to keep HAVP, Squid, SquidGuard and Snort running.. so need all the processing and RAM. I tried the "Thermaltake Element Q Small Form Factor mini-ITX Case" but it's still not small enough like the mac mini. Currently using it with an i3 processor and 4GB RAM. Cooling is not great at all and the PSU fan runs loud.

  • So has anyone tried a mac mini as a pfsense? Online search hasn't provided much info on this. Maybe no one ever tried doing this.

  • If you're just doing a router on a stick and never have a need for any more NICs it's not so bad. I would suggest searching on FreeBSD 8.1 and that version of the mini, likely more people have tried that (given single NIC firewalls are rare) and you should be able to find info there. If it works on 8.1, it'll work on our 2.0 release.

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