USB to Ethernet Adapter



  • Does anyone know and cheap USB to Ethernet Adapter that are compatible for pfsense?

    I bought this one here but its not working with pfsense.
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/USB-2-0-to-RJ45-Ethernet-Network-LAN-Card-Adapter-10-100Mbps-for-Laptop-PC-/321190366423?pt=US_Internal_Network_Cards&hash=item4ac8700cd7

    Any cheap good ones anyone knows that work?

    Thanks!


  • Rebel Alliance Developer Netgate

    Unfortunately manufacturers play fast-and-loose with chipsets on such devices. It's virtually impossible to accurately determine from a model number what chip it's using on a given run without actually getting one and trying it. Even if someone else says model XYZ works, by the time you buy one it may use a different chip that isn't supported.

    If you can find detailed specs including the actual chipset for that model, then it may be possible to at least guess at whether there is a reasonable chance it may work.

    I wouldn't touch USB ethernet with a 10ft pole though. It's a nightmare in about every way.

    If you need more NICs, small VLAN switches make great "port multipliers" if you are physically restricted.




  • Rebel Alliance Developer Netgate

    It looks like that should work on 2.1 using the axe(4) driver. Not 2.0.x though.



  • What are you going to do with these USB/ethernet adaptors?
    If you plan to add permanently more ports to your pfSense, then you're going to have a baaaad time.

    At best they are good to add temporarily another port (and plan to replug it once a day for them to work).
    This is not a problem of pfSense but of the chips used in these adaptors.

    I've been playing for a while with some different brands under linux and they are a nightmare.

    Way better is jimps suggestion of using a VLAN capable switch.
    If you don't want to touch VLANs:
    What board do you use? If it has miniPCIe ports you could use something like this:
    http://www.spectra.ch/produkte/130224/web/spectra/Datasheet-MEC-ETH-101.pdf



  • Its a small ARM computer with one ethernet, but my pfsense will only be delivering 128kbit to these users at all times.



  • @jimp:

    It looks like that should work on 2.1 using the axe(4) driver. Not 2.0.x though.

    Okay awesome! I got one, 2.1 is stable at the moment or still in rc?



  • So is VLAN the use of one ethernet switch to make a LAN and WAN on it? I dont unerstand


  • Banned

    @mystycs:

    Its a small ARM computer with one ethernet, but my pfsense will only be delivering 128kbit to these users at all times.

    Good luck porting pfSense for ARM…  ;D ;D ;D



  • Hmmmm.  This is sounding more and more like a bad idea…


  • Netgate Administrator

    I don't think you mean ARM since we've seen evidence of this booting.

    You seem reluctant to tell us what this mystery board is though. Perhaps it's some top secret government project!  ;)

    Steve



  • The box in the background certainly looks like typical high tech government filing system stuff  ;)
    But, usually, no cameras allowed.  I gotta say no to that one.

    If its not an ARM processor, what are the specs of the mystery board?



  • lmfao im just trying to mess around learn more about pfsense. The box contains top secret things i cannot reveal.



  • @mystycs:

    So is VLAN the use of one ethernet switch to make a LAN and WAN on it? I dont unerstand

    VLAN's allow you to use a single physical ethernet interface to provide lots of virtual interfaces.
    From a users point of view there is not really a difference between a vlan-interface and a physical interface.

    The result would look something like this:
    WAN -> vlan100
    LAN -> vlan200
    OPT1 -> vlan300
    OPT2 -> vlan400
    etc.

    On the (vlan capable) switch you assign VLANs to the various ports.

    In the end you have a single physical ethernet card in your router, a single cable going from it to the switch, and all the interfaces you are using on the pfSense are different ports on the switch.
    eg.
    vlan100 –> port1
    vlan200 --> port5
    vlan300 --> port9
    etc.


  • Banned

    In case you still feel like experimenting with top-secret chipsets… Got my hands on this one, it works… Of course not anywhere near gbit speeds (and only tested for like an hour or so.) Still would prefer the VLAN route.



  • I had not realized VLANS could be used this way, putting WAN and LAN on the same switch and needing only a single ethernet port on the pfsense box.

    However there is one obvious drawback: the cable between pfsense and switch is handling both incoming and all outgoing traffic. Maybe OK if that link is gigabit or if the traffic generally is low, but otherwise that may be an issue.

    I'd rather use the ports on the pfsense box as the switch; that way the traffic is not all concentrated on one port. If most of the ports are USB rather than ethernet, why should we care with good usb-to-ethernet adapters? I have been using the Belkin F4U047 with complete satisfaction. It sells for $16 on Amazon, and with a little research cheaper alternatives may be found. Then, use the native ethernet port on the box for the WAN connection, where the traffic will be heaviest. It doesn't matter that each adapter is only USB 2.0 and 10/100 ethernet since each one only handles a subset of the traffic.

    Unfortunately manufacturers play fast-and-loose with chipsets on such devices.

    Mine is using the axe driver. I don't know otherwise how to identify the chip; maybe someone can suggest a way.


  • Netgate Administrator

    @Paul47:

    If most of the ports are USB rather than ethernet, why should we care with good usb-to-ethernet adapters? I have been using the Belkin F4U047 with complete satisfaction.

    I'd say you have been lucky. There are many stories on the forum of trouble with USB ethernet. Yes it may be cheaper for one extra device but you can get, say, a 5 port gigabit ethernet switch that supports VLANs for not much:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833122342

    Yes using VLANs means all your traffic uses one cable so it effectively halves your bandwidth. Most USB ethernet adapters are restricted to a similar level though.

    Overall I'd much rather use VLANs but I guess it's just my opinion.

    Steve



  • The other thing that makes me nervous is having LAN and WAN (wild and wooly Internet) on the same physical switch. Now you are depending on the firmware of a particular switch vendor to have no leakage between the two - to have no exploits. And the vlan software in pfsense had better be right.  :)

    I have that exact switch. But I only have my LAN on it!

    Adapters from one bus to another should not be all that difficult to design. We just need to find the ones that work, heh.


  • Netgate Administrator

    Yep, I agree you are at the mercy of some switch firmware bug.
    I would always choose real NICs but if forced to choose between USB or VLAN interfaces I'd still go VLAN. At least until I read about a VLAN exploit in the wild.

    Steve