Intel 82574L and Realtek 8111F –> which one for WAN, and LAN ?



  • Hello,

    This will be my first try of pfSense so hope i'm not asking too stupid question ;)

    Basically, I'm wondering if it'll work with my config, and then which card to use for WAN and for LAN.

    I will install pfSense on ESXI

    My motherboard (mini-itx) has a Realtek 8111F chipset
    I ordered an Intel pci express card with chipset 82574L

    First, I hope the Realtek 8111F is supported on pfSense 2.1.5 (latest stable release, right?) - I've read from an old 2012 post that it'll work on 2.2 since running on BSD 8.3, but after that, I've read that 2.1.5 already runs on BSD 8.3 - correct?

    I have an internet connection of +- 150mb/s down and 8,5mb/s up.
    Ah yes, it's a one man company running from home, so not many users;)

    Which card should i use for WAN and which one for LAN?
    basically, if I well understood, the Intel will work better than the Realtek. I'd like to keep a good transfer speed within the LAN but of course avoid reducing my internet connection speed;)

    I currently use openVPN on the xpenology running on ESXI - I guess it'd be a good idea to use openvpn features of pfsense - it'll be another story but could impact the pieces of advice for my setup;)

    Hope someone can advise me on the best way to proceed

    Thanks for reading! :)

    David



  • @Daiki:

    First, I hope the Realtek 8111F is supported on pfSense 2.1.5 (latest stable release, right?)

    The 8111F should be fully supported in FreeBSD 8.3, and hence pfSense 2.1.5.

    Which card should i use for WAN and which one for LAN?
    basically, if I well understood, the Intel will work better than the Realtek. I'd like to keep a good transfer speed within the LAN but of course avoid reducing my internet connection speed;)

    Unless defective, neither card should reduce your connection speed.  I believe the issues that suggest intel cards are not really apparent until pushing bits close to wire speed.  Others may have better info on what the issues are (or more likely, were).  In your case, I don't think it will matter.



  • Thanks Charliem!

    Tthat'd be good, so I can keep using the realtek for Lan since already setup on my other VM's.
    I'll try anyway as soon as the card is delivered and update this post if anything interesting to report.

    But, in general, when you have a chipset considered to have "poor" performances and one stated as preferable for pfSense, which one should be used for LAN and which for WAN?
    As you wrote, it won't hopefully matter in my case, but others might be interested in knowing this, unless it doesn't make sense :)

    Which card should be the most capable, or would have the most to "do"? Wan or Lan?

    I guess the wire speed, using Gigalan with cables cat5, isn't the bottleneck in my lan - I can upload big files up to 110mb/s from my computers to my xpenology vm.


  • Netgate

    I would put the realtek on WAN and the Intel on LAN.  Especially if you're going to do multiple VLANs on the LAN.

    If you're only going to do one network on LAN and the only time it's going to get any real traffic is when routing to WAN, then it really doesn't matter which is which.



  • @Daiki:

    But, in general, when you have a chipset considered to have "poor" performances and one stated as preferable for pfSense, which one should be used for LAN and which for WAN?

    The "worse" interface should be used for the network with the lower speed/load. For the majority of users that is probably the WAN but it may be different for some.



  • @Derelict:

    I would put the realtek on WAN and the Intel on LAN.  Especially if you're going to do multiple VLANs on the LAN.

    If you're only going to do one network on LAN and the only time it's going to get any real traffic is when routing to WAN, then it really doesn't matter which is which.

    I think this really depends heavily on use. In my area, fiber providers generally want the WAN port hard-set to 100B-TX Full Duplex. And I've found that the Realtek NICs have a really hard time playing nice when trying to hard-set them to a speed. Where the Intel NICs do this properly every time.



  • Another thing to keep in mind is that anecdotal stories about poor performance of one card or another likely came from pfSense 2.1.x or earlier, ie FreeBSD 8.3 or earlier.  pfSense 2.2 is based on FreeBSD 10.1, where hardware support / performance is much different, and hopefully better, than 8.3.  In other words, past experience may not still apply once you move to 2.2