Hardware Check/Suitability and NIC Compatibility

  • Hello all.

    I am looking to bond 2 xDSL lines and found there wasn't an out of the box solution. Everything I could find that had Dual WAN was Traffic Managed/Backup and not "Bonding" as such. Research led me to here. After some reading I have decided that I can use (hopefully) my old M-ITX PC and turn it into a router.

    I have a;

    Zotac G43 Mobo (Realtek Built-In I believe); http://www.zotacusa.com/zotac-g43-itx-g43itx-a-e.html
    Quad Core CPU
    4GB RAM
    1TB HDD

    My thought are that if I now buy either a dual NIC (if the built-in NIC is ok to use as its Realtek?) or a quad NIC so they are all intel and install this in the PCI-Express x16 Slot (should work fine).

    I would then follow this guide; http://doc.pfsense.org/index.php/Multi-WAN_Version_1.2.x

    Does this all sound correct? No doubt I have missed something. I look forward to your replies.

    Kind Regards


  • What's the speed of those DSL's?

  • Netgate Administrator

    That guide is old, there is a newer version for 2.0.X:

    That box will be fine. You are probably wasting the 1TB HD, a much smaller one will do.
    The Realtek 8111e NIC will probably be supported by 2.0.2/3 but is definitely supported by 2.1Beta if you need to go that route.

    Do you actually mean DSL Bonding or just load balancing?

    Generally dsl bonding refers to MLPPP and for that you need a co-operative ISP.


  • Currently they are 10/1 each but infinity soon which should be 40/6 each. I want to make them seem and act as a singular line for downloads etc. I know I can't fully bond, well not at ISP level anyway but my understanding of pfsense was that the LAN would use both WAN's as a single connection. Is that not the case?

    What is a minimum hdd size required?

    Kind Regards.


  • Netgate Administrator

    To an extent that is the case. However you cannot split a single connection across both WANs so for example downloading a large file can only use a single WAN. Unless you use a download 'helper' of some sort that tries to download from multiple locations. Conversely something like bit torrent that has many simultaneous connections will load balance very well. In practice I have found that it works well in most circumstances, I can be downloading a large file and not cause problems on a Skype call.

    The minimum HD size for a standard install is small (<1GB?). If you still have a 1GB HD don't use it!  ;) Any relatively recent HD will suffice. If you want to run Squid or Snort you may want something larger but it's unlikely you will ever use more than, say, 100GB. You'd have to try hard to get close to that.


  • Thanks Steve. It was this video I stumbled across when reading up of Dual WAN's that lead me here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5LK3-nd_dD0

    It is this that implied to my mind that it was possible. However after your response I am going to assume then that these sites use multiple files/locations thus allowing the LAN to use both WANS simultaneously?

    I am sure pfsense was meant for so much more than I am looking to use it for but I like to play and experiment with things. Seeing this inspired me and as I have a spare machine not in use and 2 lines in our home, why not.

  • Netgate Administrator

    Yes the speedtest.net client uses 2 or 4 connections depending on the speed. It works great as you can see.  :)
    There are other interesting things you can do such as failover and policy based routing.


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