NIC options for Guest WiFi Interface/VLAN



  • I have a fairly basic home setup – no VLANing, etc. I would like to create a VLAN for a guest WiFi that only has Internet, so I was hoping to get a sanity check / experienced recommendations from  the community. I have an Intel D2500CC with two NICs in use for LAN and WAN. Here are the choices I'm considering:

    • Don't expand to a third NIC, instead purchase a managed/smart switch for port VLANing. Use my old wireless router as the guest Access Point giving it only access to the Internet. This takes most complications with compatibility, drivers, etc. with FreeBSD out of the picture. It will likely be the most expensive option, but it gives me flexibility in the future to do more than just the single Guest VLAN.

    • Purchase a reliable, compatible USB Ethernet adapter and connect it to my guest access point. I'm nervous about driver compatibility issues and other struggles people have had with this, but I like the simplicity and cost of it. I'm looking at these right now (I only have USB 2.0):

    • Purchase a reliable, compatible miniPCI-E WiFi card and power an antenna directly from my M350 enclosure. This wouldn't utilize my old wireless router, but maybe it's a good option if I'm fine with my guest WiFi coming from my basement only instead of the above to options allowing me to run a cable to my switch then anywhere in the house. I don't have much knowledge yet around what would be a good miniPCI-E card and antenna to get or how successful people are at doing this.

    • My other options might be to purchase another Ethernet adapter to plug into the PCI or miniPCI-E slots, but I don't have a nice place for the connector to be placed in my enclosure.


  • Netgate

    @pfserik:

    • Don't expand to a third NIC, instead purchase a managed/smart switch for port VLANing. Use my old wireless router as the guest Access Point giving it only access to the Internet. This takes most complications with compatibility, drivers, etc. with FreeBSD out of the picture. It will likely be the most expensive option, but it gives me flexibility in the future to do more than just the single Guest VLAN.

    I like this option.  This is a pretty good, small, gig-e, vlan-capable switch:  D-Link DGS1100  Available in several different port configs including PoE.



  • @Derelict:

    I like this option.  This is a pretty good, small, gig-e, vlan-capable switch:  D-Link DGS1100  Available in several different port configs including PoE.

    Yeah, maybe I will do that; it probably makes the most sense for expandability and fewer headaches trying to shove something directly into my mini pfSense build. You like the D-Link? I was recently checking out the fairly inexpensive TL-LINK TL-SG2008 (Newegg | SNB Review).


  • Netgate

    I've been pretty happy with D-Link on the cheap end.  Never dealt with any TP Link gear.  I avoid Trendnet.



  • I have the TP-Link TL-SL2428 switch, it has some minor quirks but overall a good switch.
    Much cheaper than other similar switches.
    The gigabit ports sometimes default to base 100 and I had one reboot in three months.
    For the AP I use Ubiquiti Unify.

    Cheers.


  • Netgate

    Doesn't sound like a ringing endorsement for the TP-Link.

    I also avoid netgear.  Almost all of their low-end gear requires a windows app (adobe air probably) to configure them.  I hate that nonsense.



  • @Derelict:

    I also avoid netgear.  Almost all of their low-end gear requires a windows app (adobe air probably) to configure them.

    Netgear GS108T, GS110TP (PoE), GS716T, GS724T are web managed, VLAN-capable gigabit switches in the same price range as the other models mentioned here. I use GS108T and GS724T and I'm very happy with them.

    The price of the Netgear GS108T is very similar to the previously mentioned TL-SG2008 (at least in my market).


  • Netgate

    Good to hear they're getting a clue.



  • I Run pfsense with only wan and vLAN interface currently previously i used separate wan, lan, vlan interface however with cabling restrictions currently this works for now

    I had a netgear GS108T (version 1), it did come with a windows app for discovery but all config was done via the webpage so you never have to use or even install the windows app.
    netgears have a strange way of doing ingress and egresses vlan tagging separately but once used to it it not a problem. The biggest problem i had in that the thing would frequently crash when in the wiring cupboard, once moved to under my desk it would only crash occasionally and it was much easy to get to to power cycle.

    when I needed more ports i of course looked at netgear again along with what else was in the market, i found netgear and cisco to be the main consenters at the time and in the 16-20 port range the csico 200 series was the same price as the netgears. I ended up choosing the 300 series to get some extra features just because i like extra features to play with and firmware updates have since given me more features at no cost (I never had on going updates from netgear). After the change over i find user interface is so much better, the lingo makes sense and I got 2.5x times more ports with the same power consumption. i think ciscos small business line has come of age (it used to be a bit of a joke) but your mileage may vary and i like having things to play with just because i can even if i don't need them.

    This was my experience and the the pricing I found at the time and it was a couple of years ago now and may not be applicable in your region.



  • I'm interested in PoE, but I really don't think I need it. If I end up getting an access point from someone like Ubiquity, they come with their own PoE adapters. If I someday want to put IP cameras throughout my house, I'll probably get an unmanaged PoE switch to handle that job.

    Also, 8 ports on the managed switch will server my needs for a long time, so I'm seeing my choices as being the following (in ranked order of which one I'll likely buy):

    Price isn't a huge issue, but I don't think I'd want to venture outside of the range of these, with the Cisco being the most expensive.


  • Moderator

    +1 for Netgear GS108T


  • Netgate

    GS108T … "would frequently crash when in the wiring cupboard, once moved to under my desk it would only crash occasionally and it was much easy to get to to power cycle."

    Another ringing endorsement.

    I needed PoE and the only thing I could find locally was a GS108PE.  No web interface, Adobe Air only, and I had to power cycle it the other day.  Don't.  Just don't.  And don't get butthurt because others are reporting bad experiences with gear you chose.  Too many other choices.



  • @Derelict:

    Doesn't sound like a ringing endorsement for the TP-Link.

    I also avoid netgear.  Almost all of their low-end gear requires a windows app (adobe air probably) to configure them.  I hate that nonsense.

    In regards to the TP-LINK ringing endorsement, the example given of the TP-Link TL-SL2428 switching over from 1000 to 100 has to be because of the oddity of it coming with 24 10/100Mbps ports and 4 Gigabit ports. I would highly doubt that the one I've linked to would have such issues, but it's still a valid point on the brand in general that maybe their products will have odd stuff like this going on.



  • Perhaps I should explain a bit.
    For me, the quality gear like Cisco, Dell, HP is out of range because of it's cost.
    A few years ago I would not even consider using other brands because of the poor reputation.
    I've looked at Netgear and had two switches running for some time and it was more like consumer gear, also looked at Trendnet but it didn't offer what I needed.

    At the moment however there are some surprisingly good alternatives and one of them is TP-Link.
    I have other TP-Link stuff on the network and it performs OK.
    The 28 port switch has a load of features, a minor quirk is no show stopper for me.
    That said, if cost is not an issue, I'd still prefer Cisco.

    Cheers.



  • @Derelict:

    And don't get butthurt because others are reporting bad experiences with gear you chose.

    I'm not, so far nobody have reported bad experiences with the gear I have.

    I have no problem with you reporting positive experiences with whatever equipment you happen to have and like, that is what I do also.

    What is bugging me is that you collectively bash all products of other brands. In this case Netgear seems to be a specific target. Apparently that dislike of yours is based on your disappointment with GS108PE only being managed by OS-specific applications. That product line is marketed as non-web manageable, so what did you expect?

    GS108T v1 have in fact been reported here by a single user as non-reliable. The symptoms indicate a high temperature issue but we have no indication of the actual temperature in that closet. Anyway GS108T v1 was, as far as I know, replaced by GS108T v2 (the product I have) more than three years ago…

    Both my GS724T v3 (v4 is out now) and GS108T v2 have worked reliably in constant temperatures between 30 and 35 degrees Celsius (they are specified much higher) this summer.

    All manufacturers that have been in the SOHO and SMB markets for a while have had their fair share of lemon models, D-Link very much also. It simply comes with being competitive in these extremely price-sensitive market segments.

    Please report about the model lines you have good experiences with. Bashing other brands totally should really be reserved for the clueless. What I have read from you in other threads, indicate that you should be far above that.

    I also hate management bound to a specific OS and I only use fully web managed products today. In fact that is the only reason I still refuse to use VMware ESXi.


  • Netgate Administrator

    Netgear has always been my goto choice for small switches, mostly their 5 and 8 port desktop switches. I have seen one 24 port unmanaged unit fail but it was replaced under their lifetime warranty. Admittedly my experience here is not that large.  ;) It's only their very low end 'partially managed switches that require a windows app, the GS105e etc. Even there they are threatening to include a web interface in future models/firmware:
    @http://www.netgear.co.uk/business/products/switches/unmanaged-plus/GS105Ev2.aspx#tab-features:

    Web-based Management (upcoming)

    I recently moved to D-Link for entry level desktop unmanaged switches as they were available very cheaply. Zero issues so far.

    Steve