Hardware Recommendations: Apartment Complex, 350+ users, redundant, etc.
I am working on deploying a large wireless network at a 8 building apartment complex. We have about 120 units. We are predicting somewhere between 100 to 350 concurrent devices. We have already designed the backhaul infrastructure. I am a big fan of opensource and pfSense has been recommended to me by many IT friends. I have personally never deployed it before. I need to build (or purchase) a highly redundant box that will not only run pfSense but will also act as a wireless lan controller for the 20+ access points. This box literally will be the soul of the network. I have deployed many HP Proliant towers in my day and I really like their setup. They aren't cheap but are damn redundant. What would you guys recommend?
I am also thinking virtualizing the system using ESXi.
Use two pfSense boxes with CARP on all interfaces to provide failover in the event of maintenance, hardware issues, etc. You will need a minimum of 3 IPs on each interface.
Regarding your wireless requirement, I'd recommend against that. pfSense can act as a wireless access point but not a controller for some 3rd party APs. I'd recommend Ubiquiti's UniFi. I'm using a bunch of them across 3 buildings at work and they're great. No issues with ~30 devices per AP. In a residential environment you're not likely to have more than that so you should be fine.
I am actually going to be using ubnt unfi! Actually, they have install instructions on their community forums for running their controller software on top of pfSense. But I think for multiple layers of redundancy, virtualization and two physical hosts would probably be the best option.