Planning to use pfSense. Need help if my current hardware will work.



  • Hi to everyone.. Currently at our house we have 4 ISP, 2 of them are 2Mbps each and the other 2 are 1Mbps each a total of 6Mbps, I am planning to use pfSense to aggregate those 4 ISP and provide it as one giving a total of 6Mbps or less. The hardware that I currently have are the following:

    MOTHERBOARD: ASUS P8Z77-M PRO
    CPU: INTEL CORE i3-3245
    RAM: CORSAIR XMS3 - 4GB DDR3
    PSU: COUGAR ST PLUS 600W
    NIC: INTEL PRO/1000 MT DUAL PORT SERVER ADAPTER

    Please guide me or give me advice if this hardware will work. Thank you!



  • Your choice of NIC will not fit on that board.  The MT dual port server adapter is PCI-X, not PCI-E.  You need a PCI slot at minimum on your mainboard to fit that card.

    The rest of the hardware will work fine although it's a complete overkill for your needs.

    You can use the onboard NIC (8111F) with pfSense 2.1 and add an 8 port vlan capable switch like the GS108T and "multiply" the number of interfaces instead.



  • that board has several pci-e slots, why not get some pci-e intel NICs? for port density can find the dual port intels on fleabay used for a great price. the single ports new are only $30. In my experience, intels have been pretty solid with pf, esxi, and freenas so i always pitch a few extra $$$ into them. the vlan idea could work, but its another device in stream that could fail, cause issues, etc. id prefer to have my WANs on dedicated NICs.



  • A dual gigabit pci express NIC w/ intel server-oriented chipset (82571) is $25~35 on fleabay all day long.

    Try these search terms to find most variants:
    X3959
    NC360T
    expi9402 pt
    pro 1000 pt

    There is no good excuse to bother with realtek for a DIY pfsense box.

    The prebuilt computers/motherboards/etc with realtek are just trying to keep the extra 50 cents or whatever per unit but still have the ethernet bullet point on the features list. (The 82579V or 21xV phys are $1.72 each in lots of 1000, and I'm sure even cheaper in a bundle w/ PCH)



  • @Aluminum:

    A dual gigabit pci express NIC w/ intel server-oriented chipset (82571) is $25~35 on fleabay all day long.

    Try these search terms to find most variants:
    X3959
    NC360T
    expi9402 pt
    pro 1000 pt

    There is no good excuse to bother with realtek for a DIY pfsense box.

    The prebuilt computers/motherboards/etc with realtek are just trying to keep the extra 50 cents or whatever per unit but still have the ethernet bullet point on the features list. (The 82579V or 21xV phys are $1.72 each in lots of 1000, and I'm sure even cheaper in a bundle w/ PCH)

    That's mainly true if you're located where the shipping costs are low enough or if the seller will ship to you.  For me, a PT dual port costs USD 30-40 but shipping costs as much or more than that.  The cheapest I can get is actually a China made clone of the I340-T2 at 65USD with shipping that takes over 1 month.

    There are actually other factors involved (costs aside) as to why manufacturers choose to go with Realtek.  It is actually more difficult to implement Broadcoms and Marvells because they don't help with the board integration work whereas Realtek is much more willing to assist with integrating their solutions.  And there's the software/ drivers to consider as well.
    The Intel NICs do actually cost the most amongst these but on boards that cater to the higher end market, board makers rather implement KillerNICs which have a better branding amongst consumers.
    There are certain exceptions to this in the mid-tier market because Intel does offer chipset + MAC/ Phy bundles with certain chipsets that lowers the cost of the implementation.  e.g. Intel i200 series NICs bundled with the H87/ Q87/ Z87 chipsets.


  • Netgate Administrator

    As mentioned an i3 is massive overkill for 6Mbps throughput even if you run everything possible.

    Importantly although you can load balance the 4 WANs you cannot combine them in the true sense to get a single 6Mbps connection. You will still have a 2Mbps limit per connection.

    The only way you can do better than that is with multi-link PPP (https://doc.pfsense.org/index.php/Multi-Link_PPP_(MP/MLPPP)) but to use that your ISP must support it.

    Steve



  • Massive overkill for 6mbps, an Atom ITX board can do the job.

    NICs… forget about them. If you use a VLAN capable switch you can use the integrated NIC(s) and use a very low profile PC.



  • @dreamslacker:

    Your choice of NIC will not fit on that board.  The MT dual port server adapter is PCI-X, not PCI-E.  You need a PCI slot at minimum on your mainboard to fit that card.

    The rest of the hardware will work fine although it's a complete overkill for your needs.

    You can use the onboard NIC (8111F) with pfSense 2.1 and add an 8 port vlan capable switch like the GS108T and "multiply" the number of interfaces instead.

    Thank you for that, I overlooked my choice of NIC.. Well it would be my first time to use pfsense and those hardwares I already got them so I just have to change the NIC.



  • @stephenw10:

    As mentioned an i3 is massive overkill for 6Mbps throughput even if you run everything possible.

    Importantly although you can load balance the 4 WANs you cannot combine them in the true sense to get a single 6Mbps connection. You will still have a 2Mbps limit per connection.

    The only way you can do better than that is with multi-link PPP (https://doc.pfsense.org/index.php/Multi-Link_PPP_(MP/MLPPP)) but to use that your ISP must support it.

    Steve

    Thank you for your insight and suggestion, I am new and still trying to understand the very basic of pfsense.