Cheapest hardware for handling a 50/50Mbit WAN?



  • I currently run PFsense as a virtual machine on a very old PC. I'm unable to use all available bandwidth (50/50Mbit) because the CPU load is too high.

    So I'm wondering if there's any cheap hardware suitable for my needs? It doesn't need to handle very heavy traffic - only 1-2 users. But it must be able to handle torrents at full speed. Preferably not a full desktop PC (noise/power consumption).

    I have an MSI Wind Netbook (Intel Atom N270 @1.60ghz, 2GB RAM). Would that work? It only has 1 NIC, so I guess i need to buy a USB to RJ45 adapter.



  • N270 with Hyperthreading handles ~15 MB/s (=30 MB/s throughput) :-)



  • @GeeZuZz:

    I currently run PFsense as a virtual machine on a very old PC. I'm unable to use all available bandwidth (50/50Mbit) because the CPU load is too high.

    On an old PC (how old?) you may get a lot of CPU back by running pfSense on the "bare metal".

    @GeeZuZz:

    I have an MSI Wind Netbook (Intel Atom N270 @1.60ghz, 2GB RAM). Would that work? It only has 1 NIC,

    You could use a VLAN capable switch as a "port multiplier" for the single NIC. What is the brand and model number of the NIC?



  • @wallabybob:

    On an old PC (how old?) you may get a lot of CPU back by running pfSense on the "bare metal".

    Very old - AMD Athlon XP 1800+ (1.5Ghz). It's used as a server (Windows Server 2003), that's why i run PFsense in a virtual machine (have done it for 5 years with <10Mbit WAN, never been a problem!).

    @wallabybob:

    You could use a VLAN capable switch as a "port multiplier" for the single NIC. What is the brand and model number of the NIC?

    I don't have a VLAN compatible switch… Also i don't know anything about the NIC (PC currently without OS and I can't find any info online.) I'm pretty sure it's Realtek.

    But i just ordered a very cheap USB to RJ45 adapter so I'm going to give that a try.

    Anyway, are there no recommendations on other hardware?



  • I've been partial to HP business machines, lately.  Depending on your geographical location, you can probably get a SFF DC7700 for under $100 shipped on Ebay with a Core2Duo.  They're good on power, quiet, and has a full PCI-Express x16 slot as well as an x1 slot (in SFF and Tower models.)  The SFF will require a low profile bracket on any cards installed, though.  If you do have a switch that handles VLAN's an UltraSlim 7700 would be great; they're really small and still cheap.



  • @GeeZuZz:


    Anyway, are there no recommendations on other hardware?

    You precluded everything by saying "cheapest".  Nobody knows what "cheapest" is.  It's different for everyone.

    In your case sounds like "cheapest" may be running on current bare metal with ether a USB NIC or VLAN capable switch.


  • Netgate Administrator

    Almost anything you have laying around already will be capable of 50Mbps throughput. Your netbook will do it. I have a small collection of old computers here which are on their way to be recycled all of which could easily do it and they were all given to me for nothing. So 'cheapest' is free.

    Do you need to run any packages (Squid, Snort etc)? Or use VPNs?
    Do you have any other requirements such as many interfaces or quiet running?

    Steve


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