Full Gigabit routing on Atom or Fusion board?



  • I'm planning on building a 1U rackmount router for my free format college radio station. The router is to be used to create a NAT between the campus network and our Wheatstone Audio-over-IP network. The thing is, it needs dedicated gigabit all the way through and we can't attach our audio nodes to the campus network safely. Since it will be in the control room attached to the devices, noise is an issue, so an APU based system is ideal to keep fan noise down.

    My question is if I get an intel atom or AMD fusion based little rack will it be able to push gigabit (or most of gigabit) all the way through? There will only be two interfaces routed. I've been looking at these:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813153212 - JetWay JNF99FL-525-LF Intel Atom D525 - 1.8ghz x2
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813176003 - Giada MI-D525-01 Intel Atom D525 - 1.8G Dual Core
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813153200 - JetWay JNF81-T56N-LF AMD eOntario - 1.6ghz x2

    I plan on putting 2gb of whatever speed ram is supported and a 7200 rpm laptop hdd in a rackmount case.



  • I can't guarantee anything. I only tested Atom board with Intel NIC and I didn't test if I could get full gigabit. The one you suggest has low grade NIC which will require more CPU in order to work, if it even detect the NIC in FreeBSD. The board I suggest below has server grade Intel NIC that can offload the CPU, thus yielding more speed.

    You might not be able to run QoS at that speed though. If you have a need for QoS to prioritize your Audio-over-IP, you would reduce the maximum speed, but guarantee a good and stable throughput. I do that at home to prioritize my Voice-over-IP and it works better than anything that I have ever tried before. The voice packets get the highest priority and any transfer get slowed down to let the voice go first.

    Here is the little puppy I'm looking to buy for myself, I've tried a Asus Hummingbird, which is similar, but can't seem to find it anymore.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813182233

    Also if sound is an issue, I would recommend running pfSense using a SSD or a CF Card. But that add to the cost of the system.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820139427

    Make sure you install the Embedded Kernel on a SSD though. Even better flash the SSD with a nanobsd release.



  • Are you mounting this into a 19" music/DJ rack or in a real datacenter? If its in a real datacenter why would noise be an issue?

    Do you care about power consumption? There are a ton of older 1U servers (even half or 3/4 depth) out there that will be awesome and probably way overkill for your needs. It'll also allow you to throw a few decent server-grade NICs in there as well.



  • Here's my setup, though not sure if it will answer all your questions.
    I have the Jetway 525 with pfsense setup and 2 ports are bridged as the lan to a linux machine with the jetway TN56.
    as a rough speed test, using samba to transfer large files to a Raid 1 share, I get around 80MB/s read & write speed. Now this doesn't tell you whether it's the limitation of the pfsense bridge (intel 525) or the NAS (amd E350) or anything else in between.
    The Jetway E350 board has a small fan, and can get annoying if it's near enough to you. It can be adjusted to go to full speed at certain temps, and goes on/off/on when doing CPU/GPU intensive activities like playing HD video.



  • @pf2.0nyc:

    Are you mounting this into a 19" music/DJ rack or in a real datacenter? If its in a real datacenter why would noise be an issue?

    Do you care about power consumption? There are a ton of older 1U servers (even half or 3/4 depth) out there that will be awesome and probably way overkill for your needs. It'll also allow you to throw a few decent server-grade NICs in there as well.

    It goes in the music rack in the control room with the microphones. It needs to be close to the AOIP system mostly for simplicity.

    I guess no one has experience with the Fusion boards? I guess their main advantage over Atom is video power which doesn't matter at all.

    How much RAM should I put in this?



  • The Jetway referenced in the OP has the same Intel NIC as "The puppy."  Is it lower grade? I'm seriously looking at the JNF99FL-525-LF myself for a new pfSense box.  If anyone has links to encryption and/or packet passing benchmarks on this board, the Nano D525 or the Intel 82574L, feel free to share.  Thank you.



  • Check out the Pentium G840 2.8Ghz, it's a slightly slimmed down Core i3 for about half the price and is about 4x times faster on average than Atom/Zacate.

    Mine is very quiet with the Intel stock heatsink and it runs cooler than my AMD Fusion (heatsink is obviously bigger/better though).

    Here is a performance comparison:
    http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/328?vs=405

    It also has a basic onboard GPU as well if you couple it up with a H67/Z68 chipset.



  • Here are some performanceinfos for the d525
    http://www.hacom.net/catalog/mars-ii-pfsense-1u-server

    I think they are using this Board with Daughtercard
    http://www.jetway.com.tw/jw/ipcboard_view.asp?productid=832&proname=NF99FL-525



  • Atom CPU is not powerful enough for gigabit routing. Inter-LAN does not use pfsense so the internal LAN will be pure gigabit but data routed to and fro the WAN interface won't pass more than 250 Mbps or 300Mbps tops. It requires some good CPU power for heavy routing.

    You need to get server class hardware or the cheaper route the latest i3/i5 CPUs that are powerful enough yet not as high on the power consumption like server class hardware.



  • Has anyone found a sandy bridge mini itx motherboard with two good nic's on it.  Just searching myself now but as they are not as common harder to find.



  • Nopes, no sandy bridge or pre-sandy bridge mobo out there yet with dual port gigabit. I was looking for the same since as early as Jan '11. Also most of the single giga port mobos have a Realtek NIC. What you need to do is get a mobo with the common single NIC and attach a PCIe dual port Intel NIC. You can disable the onboard NIC through the BIOS.



  • Is the audio being piped to the internet, campus LAN or both?

    I am inclined to believe that a fully managed switch with ACLs to act as a basic L2/ L3/ L4 firewall combined with an Atom pfSense (as NAT for internet traffic)  might do the trick.



  • I expect the D525 would approach GBE wirespeed under some circumstances, depending on the NIC. I have a D510 with a pair of on-board Intel GBE that will do in the neighbourhood of 6-700 mbps throughput when testing with iperf. This is with net.inet.ip.fastforwarding enabled; results were lower without. The D510 is 1.6 GHz.

    You may want to consider looking at the Sandy Bridge parts, which use no more power than an Atom under low load in my experience. If you throttle the CPU and/or the network links you may be able to operate it comfortably with all passive heat sinks.



  • @timd:

    Has anyone found a sandy bridge mini itx motherboard with two good nic's on it.  Just searching myself now but as they are not as common harder to find.

    Intel S1200KP.

    I bought one ($163) and it works great with the G620.



  • @jms703:

    @timd:

    Has anyone found a sandy bridge mini itx motherboard with two good nic's on it.  Just searching myself now but as they are not as common harder to find.

    Intel S1200KP.

    I bought one ($163) and it works great with the G620.

    This is indeed a perfect board for router, sadly it is never available in HK, even so will never at a reasonable price.



  • We ended up getting this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816101364

    We also planned on running a custom automation python script to run the radio station off air but alas it was fucking impossible to get sound working in PF sense, so PF sense is running in a virtualbox VM. Turns out we didn't end up needing the AOIP to route out over the router anyway (it's going out over AES to worldcom IP codec) so WAN speed is fine so long as it can hit a couple hundred MB/sec.

    I also got one at my job to run BGP for our 2 fiber links but my boss didn't want to use pf sense since we already have a checkpoint firewall with 10 or 12 remote offices licensed.


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