PfSense + Inter-VLAN Routing - Hardware Recommendations

  • I've never used pfSense before but am looking to build a machine running it to replace my home router.

    The biggest requirement I have is for inter-VLAN routing at a half decent speed. I don't need full gigabit, but 400-500mbps would be nice if achievable. I have 3 VLANs - Secure, Trusted and Guest, where I need routing between the Secure and Trusted VLANs dependant on the MAC address of the machine in the Trusted VLAN. There is a NAS box in the Secure segment, with one host on the Trusted segment that will periodically be transferring large amounts of data to it.

    The machine i'm looking at currently is a HP DC7800P (Core2Duo 2.66GHz/2GB RAM (probably upgrade to 4)). My first thoughts were to have the on-board NIC dedicated to WAN (50/20 connection through PPPoE) and an Intel PCI card for the internal LANs, connected to a smart (VLAN-aware) switch.

    My questions are as follows:

    • Would this machine be powerful enough to provide inter-VLAN routing at that kind of rate?

    • Would I be better off having a dedicated NIC on the pfSense box for each VLAN, therefore leaving VLAN tagging out?

    • Would there be a performance hit (or, would there be enough of a performance hit to degrade network speeds) if I ran ESXi on this box, with pfSense inside a virtual machine?

    Thanks for your help in advance.

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