Alternative to Alix 2d13 with more LAN ports?
We have been replacing Linksys RV042 routers at branch offices with Alix 2d13 pfSense routers. However, some of the offices are too small to have a switch, and the 2d13 has only 3 ethernet ports.
Are there any alternatives to Alix that have more ethernet ports, or a built-in switch? The RV042 router we are replacing have 2 WAN ports and a built-in 4 port switch for LAN.
Firstly, why are replacing them? Can't handle the traffic? Not the right features?
some of the offices are too small to have a switch
Er, how small are those offices? ;) 5 port desktop switches are pretty small.
Some Soekris boxes have more ports but you pay a lot to get them and they are somewhat underpowered, as are the Alix boxes.
You can add ports to the Alix with a minipci ethernet card. Again not cheap and would require modding.
What are your requirements?
We're have trouble with the RV042 V.1's intermittently failing to route traffic over an IPSec VPN tunnel.
All of a sudden the traffic is unable to traverse the RV042, even though both sides still show the tunnel as up. Reestablishing the VPN tunnel brings back the connectivity. The RV042 V.1 can run for years without a problem, but once it starts acting up in this way, EOL'ing the router seems to be the only option. The RV042 version V.3 doesn't seem to have this problem.
Also, when in dual WAN failover mode, the Linksys firmware will only bring up the second connection when it is needed, precluding any monitoring that might have told you if that connection had also gone down in the meantime.
We're also replacing Cisco PIX 501's when they die.
Our branch offices need to use internet based applications (one of which is over a VPN), so switching to pfSense with traffic shaping/limiting makes sense, as well as having good failover and good security.
So, a small branch office might be two workstations, or one workstation and one access point. Having a built-in 4 port LAN switch on the 501 and RV042 made sense for this situation.
Ok. I see it would be nice to have a self contained appliance but I think you'll be paying a lot for a box with more interfaces rather than just using, say, a Netgear GS105. It will be much faster at switching as well.
Looking at smallnetbuilder review of the RV042 I see it's performance is broadly the same as an Alix (with VPN card) with pfSense.