Any way to add LAN ports to an ALIX board?



  • It would be cool if there was a 4 LAN port mini-PCI card out there.

    Then of course I would need to make a case for it but one thing at a time. :P

    3 ports just doesn't seem to cut it for me when every commercial thing I can buy has 4 + 1 ports.  Yea, switches are cheap but it would be nice if my pfsense boxes were plug and play compatible with the commercial stuff.  Maybe I'm being anal but it's the one and only thing that sort of bugs me about switching from commercial stuff to PFSense/ALIX.

    Soekris net5501 boards have 4 ports and I can add a 4 port lan card but those boards are twice the cost of an ALIX board for almost the exact same thing except the extra port and PCI instead of mini-PCI



  • Mini-PCI cards are usually used for applications that don't need a connection panel - typically wireless cards, which just need hooking up to an antenna. There are mini-PCI wired Ethernet cards out there, but they tend to be older units or relatively specialised products. I found an Intel based Gigabit card, but it's using the desktop 82541PI chip and not one of the server chips. It's also quite expensive.

    Getting four PHYs and the connectors into the mini-PCI form factor might be quite tricky - let alone the actual Ethernet controller.

    I realise that the vr driver in current pfSense 1.2 RCs doesn't support VLANs, but people are working on this. Is the use of tagged VLANs an acceptable alternative? Decent managed switches aren't as expensive as they once were.

    David


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