New pfSense build - feedback and wifi question



  • Hello

    I'm tired of my current router (dlink) as it has low wifi speeds and not very configurable.

    I've now decided to build my own small form factor router with pfSense (mini itx). The build with be for our home with 2 PCs, a laptop and 1 mobile phone (soon 2) connected.

    I'm planning to build the following

    • Mini ITX case
    • SuperMicro X7SPA-H-D525 board with an Intel Atom D525 Dual Core CPI1.8GHz (13W) processor
    • this board comes with dual Intel 82574L Gigabit LAN ports
    • 2 Gb RAM
    • 4 Gb CF card to install  pfSense on
    • PicoPSU-90 with 90W
    • Wifi network card (small PCIe card?)

    Apart from your

    1. expert comments on the above setup,

    2. I have a question wrt to the wifi card. Since the laptop and mobile phones connect through wif,i I thought it would be a good idea to use a wifi card instead of connecting my current router onto the new pfSense router (yet more cables and the wifi isn't always good). Can you get something like a PCIe mini wifi card? If not, should I get another mobo with a PCI wifi card?

    Many thanks for reading, and your feedback



  • for home use, seems a bit over kill, unless your going to be using dansguardian to filter for the kids.
    Personally I've got on very well with the Igel thin clients with a dual lan pci card fitted.

    I then use an external access point like a draytek.  The wireless hardware setup in pfsense can be a bit tricky.  ie getting something that is well supported and reliable.

    Also n support available.  Which I suppose isn't a biggiee.

    The Igel is also silent.  Low power.


  • Netgate Administrator

    @tmhhhope:

    Can you get something like a PCIe mini wifi card?

    Yes.
    Though as Chris23 said above if you want/need 802.11N it isn't yet supported directly by pfSense. Use an external access point.

    If you use a miniPCI-E card the best supported cards are Atheros based as detailed here.
    If you use an AR52XX based card you should have no problems. I am using an AR2413 (miniPCI) card.

    It's best to check the forum for good or bad reports on a specific card before you buy.

    Steve



  • @chris23:

    for home use, seems a bit over kill, unless your going to be using dansguardian to filter for the kids.
    Personally I've got on very well with the Igel thin clients with a dual lan pci card fitted.

    Thanks for your replies, chris23 and stepenw10!!

    @chris23, yes, the box is going to be running dansguardian.

    I've done a bit more browsing on the pfsense forums today and got the impression from most posts that plugging in a wifi router is the cheaper and easier-to-configure option. I'm thinking of going down that route now.

    This was a very helpful post: http://lists.pfsense.org/pipermail/list/2011-December/000924.html

    Does this mean that I need 3 NIC ports on my pfSense machine (LAN, WAN and WLAN (wifi router))? I'm a bit confused :-(



  • @tmhhhope:

    Does this mean that I need 3 NIC ports on my pfSense machine (LAN, WAN and WLAN (wifi router))?

    It depends on what you want to do. For example, if you want to treat WiFi clients the same as any other PC on the network you could just connect the AccessPoint to a free port on a switch connected to the pfSense LAN interface. If you want to stop WiFi clients accessing other computers on your network then you need to connect the Access Point to a separate pfSense interface so the separate firewall rules can be applied.

    If you have a VLAN capable switch you can use VLANs to get multiple "virtual" interfaces on a single physical interface. This can be very useful on systems with limited expansion capability. Since the combined bandwidth of your WAN interface and Access Point probably doesn't exceed 1Gbps you could probably safely make your WAN and WLAN use VLANs on one of the on-board NICs.



  • I personally have used an old HP computer bought on bay for £50 delivered.  It's virtually silent, been in for about 3 years so far.

    P4 2.8ghz 1gb ram etc. easy to upgrade/flexible

    Not sure whether you can do much cheaper than that.

    Runs dansguardian etc
    Perhaps not as energy efficient as an atom mind you  :-\


  • Netgate Administrator

    @chris23:

    Perhaps not as energy efficient as an atom mind you  :-\

    Not even close!  :P
    However there are a lot of cpus that will fit in a 478 socket all now very cheap, some with far lower power consumption. I'm running a P4-M in mine.

    Steve



  • Thanks for all your help and suggestions, guys.

    Going to order the stuff and start building ;-)


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