Alix 2D13 + pfSense 2.1 - Low throughput

  • 2.1-RELEASE  (i386)
    Alix 2D13
    Cable Modem 70/10 mbit.

    If I connect PC directly to Cable modem, I get download and upload speed 68/11 mbit. Ping is about 6-7ms.

    If I connect the Alix with pfSense between, I get download and upload speed 11/5 Ping is about 6-7ms.

    How can I address this problem ?

    Someone wrote I should post some figures;

    [2.1-RELEASE][]/root(1): vmstat -i
    interrupt                          total       rate
    irq0: clk                        1296253         99
    irq4: uart0                          290          0
    irq8: rtc                        1659463        127
    irq10: vr0                       1948820        150
    irq11: vr1                       1894113        146
    irq12: ohci0 ehci0                     1          0
    irq14: ata0                        20536          1
    Total                            6819476        525


    Is similar to the problem on this thread;,56581.30.html

    And this system has been running for 1.5 year without this issue... it just suddenly startet going slow..

  • To check if there is something wrong with the Alix box, I have setup another PC with 2 network cards.
    It's an old box, with Intel(R) Pentium(R) 4 CPU 2.66GHz, with 2027 MB memory.

    I made a backup of the pfsense running on alix.
    I then connected the new PC, and restored the backup - setting up the wan/lan interface to match the new PC/hardware.

    The new (old) PC box gives me full throttle!!! Both download and upload :D

    Download: 70.05 Mbit/s
    Upload: 10.82 Mbit/s
    Ping: 5 ms

    What I get out of this, is that the Alix box have gone bad :-(

    Maybe I might have made a power failure.. where the power pin (minus side) gets connected to the chassi giving the alix board Short-circuit of some sort..

    • what do you think ?

  • Netgate Administrator

    Unlikely that a power fault would allow traffic through at a reduced rate. I would expect it to fail completely.
    Is this the 256MB board? Do you have IPv6 enabled? Are you running any packages?


  • Since the new PC is setup (with backup and restore) I guess checking the new PC with pfSense will give me the answers;

    Yes, 256Mb is correct. (
    IPv6 is disabled.  (unchecked "Enable DHCPv6 relay on interface")
    There are no packages currently installed.

    Addon information:
    I remember that Memory was about 45-50% used. If this matters. But I never seen it go any higher.
    CPU could jump to 70% but would go down pretty fast again.
    I was running on a Sandisk 2Gb Compact flash.

    Compact Flash issue?
    ..i thought there might be something wrong with the sandisk CP (writing failure).. This was with pfSense 2.0.1.
    So I made a raw copy of it with HDDGURU to a new CP card.
    But this also did not affect the speed in any way.
    I also upgraded this new CP card to pfSense 2.1.
    But still It did not do anything with the speed issue..

  • Netgate Administrator

    Since you are seeing this difference between 2.0.x and 2.1 I'm trying to think of what might have changed. However normally with that level of restriction I would be looking for a speed or duplex mismatch on the interface, possibly a bad cable. I can't think what might cause that software wise, the driver will have changed I guess. Worth checking the NIC is negotiating the connection correctly though.

    How is the CPU usage looking when you are pushing data?


  • 2.1 and 2.0.x result in the same speed. (sorry for writing misleading..)

    I also read that trying to set "Speed and duplex" to 100BaseTX full-duplex have helped in other cases.. but it did not help me.

    pfSense On the PC box:
    Download very large file, 1Gb file from; 
    CPU is around 12-16%. Memory 5%.
    Download speed jumping up/downo 38-40.66M Bits/sec.
    As soon as files is downloaded, CPU drops to 0-1%... (web page updated every 10sec)

    I will check the cables, and try replacing them for new once.. and see if it helps!

  • Netgate Administrator

    Ah ok, so this is not the box that's been running for 1.5 years? Or the same fault has appeared on both 2.0.x and 2.1?

    So 40Mbps is quite a big higher than 11Mbps, is that a repeatable number?


  • Solved!

    It was actually what you, stephenw10,  suggested, TP-cables!!

    I changed both cables, restartet the Cable modem and Alix.

    Bang! Full speed again..even if if test it several times :-) (testing with
    66-70.3 Mbit/s
    10.81 Mbit/s
    4 ms Ping

    Thank you so much for helping me research this issue!!!

    For info:

    Alix 2D13 = been running for 1.5 years.
    PC = just a couple of days.. ;)

    Same fault appeared on Alix 2D13, with both pfSense 2.0.x and 2.1.

    Using Alix 2D13, pfSense 2.1, and downloading a 1Gb file.. the Alix used 25-31% CPU.