Adding 802.11n to pfsense
Is adding an external router the only option?
Which router would you recommend to get a good wifi performance for a reasonable cost?
Don't add a router, add access points. pfSense is your router. I've been very happy with EnGenius/Senao products myself. Their EAP350 would probably be a good choice. The design is nice, and they're 802.3af and have good range.
Ups, I meant access point :-[ I think that EAP350's 100mbit port would be too limiting for hd streaming or file transfer over wifi.
The bandwidth of HD streaming is wildly over estimated in many cases. The stream from a blu-ray is around 30Mbps (up to 40Mbps) and all on-line services are far lower than that. <10Mbps for 1080 youtube for example.
The real problem is that you won't get 100Mbps over wifi even if it claims a much greater speed. That bandwidth is shared between all your wireless devices and is half duplex. You may get 100Mbps if you have a 300Mbps 802.11N connection and not too many cleints.
Anyway you shouldn't have any trouble with 1080 streamed video. Of course YMMV! ;)
There is a great web page about this I read somewhere but I can't find it now. :-\
If you find the link, please post it.
In regard to 100mbit being a limitation I was refering more to file transfer than 1080p streaming.
At the moment I am using a pci 802.11n card (mimo, 3 antenas) but it only runs in g mode since there is no support for n mode in pfsense/freebsd and I am not too happy about the signal coverage as well. I was told using a router/ap should significantly improve both problems.
This webpage is helpfull, unfortunately some AP/raouters I am considering aren't on the charts/reviews:
This looks interesting:
The 100mbit port is a non-issue. For one thing, you shouldn't run a 2.4GHz AP with a 40MHz channel width (required to get the 300mbps rating). Due to the 800ns guard interval to maintain b/g compatibility, your MAXIMUM PHY LAYER SPEED is 130mbps.
You will never, ever, saturate a 100mbps LAN link with 20MHz 802.11n. Even a 40MHz channel could only saturate it under absolutely perfect radio conditions rarely, if ever, seen in the real world.
It's a complete non-issue.
Ok, thanks for clarifiying.
No problem, also, I realized the EAP350 is gigabit. I haven't paid much attention because as I said it's more a marketing point than something that will ever matter in the real world. You'll need a power injector (or 802.3af switch) that supports gigabit (or use the power adapter, but honestly, if you're not going to do PoE don't get the one that looks like a smoke detector LOL) to allow 1000mbps. Like I said, though, it serves little point. Gigabit will matter with 802.11ac, but not with 802.11n (even 300mbps in the 5GHz band would be hard to saturate a 100mbps link with)
I'm also in the market for a good wireless N dual band access point. Small Net Builder's benchmarks has convinced me that to get the best wireless performance I should just buy a wireless router and go dd-wrt (which I am familiar with).
The RT-N66U looks great, and it has dd-wrt support, even approved from ASUS. Might end up with that, but wireless AC is looking appealing too, might stick it out with my GN router till AC comes out.