[SOLVED] Help me choose: ALIX 2 or 3 port?

  • Hi, I'm new here,

    I am about to get a PC Engines ALIX board for use with pfSense to check and control the traffic of my home network to and from my DSL Modem (everything is connected to a switch). Should I choose the three port version (ALIX.2D3) or the two port version (ALIX.2D2)? What are the benefits of having a third port? Certainly two ports are enough (modem <-port1 firewall port2-> switch)?

    Thank you so much!

  • Two reasons, what i can think of right away for three port version

    1. Two different subnets w/o vlan's
    2. Filtering bridge is possible with management interface

    But i think that you don't need those at all

  • Netgate Administrator

    You could use the third interface to segregate a home server or provide a wifi connection that's isolated from the rest of your network.


  • If you want to go "all out" you can also buy a WiFi card/kit for the Alix. That is more expensive than a cheap home WiFi box, but on the up-side you can have fun configuring, filtering…

  • I have tried ALIX and its amazing piece of HW but in terms of performance you'll recognize its not the best if you want to use all benefits of pfSense.

    I'm using alix  2D3 with monowall, http://pcengines.ch/alix2d3.htm. Power consumption is about 12W with CF card. I was experimenting lot with Intel ATOM boards and in terms of power consumption vs. performace i'm having best experience with D2700 http://ark.intel.com/products/59683/Intel-Atom-Processor-D2700-1M-Cache-2_13-GHz.

    I have test SSD drives vs. SATA and you'll save ~3W not more. In this moment my ATOM box consume about 34W. In terms of size, you can buy very small case for ATOM boards, its not so big if comparing with ALIX.

    If you are building Wirelles AP ALIX is good choice, but for more powerfull system go for ATOM.

  • Unless you have a connection that will saturate 100 mb ethernet, or want to run intensive packages an Alix should be fine. The cost is pretty small to get the third port and it gives you future options.

  • I'll take the 3 ports! It's just 2 euros more and offers some cool options indeed - thanks for the hints! I like the idea of an open, seperate AP for example. Always wanted to do that - just to see what people are going to use it for. :)