Max client pcs



  • just a quick question. How many clients should this pfSense box be able to handle? its Intel c2 6300 with 2 gigs of RAM …  Intel dual gigabit NIC for internal network and the onboard realtek for the WAN side. Just asking for S and giggles .. The Cisco at work is handling 337 addresses (AP's, workstations, thermometers, printers, scanners, switches etc....)  on two subnets with load balancing of Terra Go and Terrestrial Fiber.



  • All of them.

    Really, though, it's one of those impossible questions since we don't know what else is going on.

    If you're just looking at how much DHCP can handle, then that'll probably be close to limitless, so, on a 10.x.x.x network that's 16 million or so, but you may run out of RAM before you get there.  I don't know if there's a hard limit on the DHCP tables.

    What you're probably asking, though, is how much traffic can you push.  Your CPU shouldn't be that much of a limiting factor as we've seen pfSense on a C2D E6400 push 900+Mb at 30% CPU.  Your Realtek NIC, on the other hand, might lower that some.

    Because we don't know what kind of load each client device is going to generate, we can't say how many end devices it could support, but the easy answer is what I said at the top: all of them, becuase I would wager a small amount on the thought that you'll run out of "internet" bandwidth before pfSense would give you issues on that box.

    There's a 400 person LAN party I participate in that load balances 2x 100Mb Comcast connections and pfSense does it great.


  • Netgate Administrator

    Exactly.
    Really the question you're asking is not how many clients but how many connections and that is very dependent on the type of client. I imagine that an IP connected thermometer is not going to be opening many connections, 1 or 2. However an internet cafe full of gamers is going to create a LOT of connections, as you have found!  ;)
    Back in the day I first switched to a Linux based firewall (Smoothwall) when my existing solution (some software running under Win2K) crapped out every time I tried to open the server list in Counter Strike. It opened connections to every server in the list which I seem to remember was ~30K at the time. Now I imagine they have streamlines that process significantly in the last 15(?) years but even so. That was just one client.

    Steve



  • @stephenw10:

    Exactly.
    Really the question you're asking is not how many clients but how many connections and that is very dependent on the type of client. I imagine that an IP connected thermometer is not going to be opening many connections, 1 or 2. However an internet cafe full of gamers is going to create a LOT of connections, as you have found!  ;)
    Back in the day I first switched to a Linux based firewall (Smoothwall) when my existing solution (some software running under Win2K) crapped out every time I tried to open the server list in Counter Strike. It opened connections to every server in the list which I seem to remember was ~30K at the time. Now I imagine they have streamlines that process significantly in the last 15(?) years but even so. That was just one client.

    Steve

    Right, it was about 8 years ago that I switched away from an original WRT54G (running Linksys firmware) for similar reasons, I'd lock it up with (legitimate) torrenting and gaming, so I switched to m0n0wall.  And that was just 3 PC's and a couple Tivos in the house.

    Even though m0n0wall does have a finite state table, I've still never hit it.


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