Recommended specs for this network?



  • I'm interested in building my own router to better accomodate my networking needs. I won't be going itx as I want multiple PCI Ethernet cards and such.

    What CPU would be reccomended for heavy load? Here's the usage we have now:
    1 gaming PC which is usually playing 720p video most the time with the occasional online play.

    One PC doing LAN game streaming at 60mbps. Also connected to a VPN for web browsing etc. VPN in question is 2048 bit blowfish which ends up sometimes crashing our current router

    1 laptop doing general Facebook browsing etc.

    1 PC streaming 720p h264 films from a NAS

    Usually not all of what's on the list is going on at the same time, but when it does, my Virgin Media Superhub just doesnt cut it. The router ends up restarting under heavy load or lagging which is irratating.

    Keeping in mind the heavy load my custom build router will be under, what CPU with the lowest TDP possible would be best? It would be a massive bonus if it could transcode UPNP video too.

    As far as WiFi is concerned I'd need a WiFi card fairly beefy to take a 60mbps stream and 3 mobile devices along with local film streaming.

    What price am I realistically looking at for all this? Thanks!



  • This is a fairly basic load for PfSense. I am using an old Dell OptiPlex with a Pentium 4 3.0 GHZ and Pfsense running into a VirtualBox to supply internet to about 30 customers, captive portal, traffic limiting and i have no problem at all.

    You can even run it on your pc in a virtualbox and assing only one cpu thread to PfSense and he will be happy.

    For wifi stream real world performance, REAL 60 mbps can be achived on the 5ghz band. it will be practically be difficult to get over 2.4 ghz even in N.

    Zikmen



  • Blimey… And there was me thinking id need something far more powerful than that. Then again, all consumer routers tend to have really low spec ARM CPUs in them. What WiFi card would you recommend? Would it be possible to get one with multiple interchangable antennas? So I can have one for outside and one for inside and upstairs?

    One thing though... I have most of my PCs on vpns... 4 to be precise and they steam videos and torrent etc


  • Netgate Administrator

    What is your WAN  bandwidth?
    How much of what you listed is coming from the internet? Streaming video from a local NAS should not go through you firewall at all for instance.
    You will not be able to do video transcoding on pfSense without a massive ammount of hackery. Easier to do it on your NAS.
    It's almost always easier to use external access points for wifi. Easier to place for optimum coverage, better support for faster protocols. You can use your Superhub as an access point.

    Steve



  • @stephenw10:

    What is your WAN  bandwidth?
    How much of what you listed is coming from the internet? Streaming video from a local NAS should not go through you firewall at all for instance.
    You will not be able to do video transcoding on pfSense without a massive ammount of hackery. Easier to do it on your NAS.
    It's almost always easier to use external access points for wifi. Easier to place for optimum coverage, better support for faster protocols. You can use your Superhub as an access point.

    Steve

    WAN bandwidth? Not that much. Theres about 2 phones and 1 tablet along with a laptop at night connected to it. I would use my Superhub but its awful for LAN game streaming. For example: If I use my laptop connected to my VPN while doing a VOIP conversation and stream a UPNP film over WiFi to my media centre, my router starts to choke. I have to use a seperate router for Game Streaming and even that cuts out… Any ideas?



  • By WAN Bandwidth, we are talking of your internet connection speed, download and upload in megabits.



  • 60mbps download and because Virgin like to skimp on upload: 3mbps upload



  • an old core 2 or athlon x2 system will do the job

    if you want to go new, a low power celeron-j or athlon 5350 build will suffice



  • I don't think that will be a problem to pass 60 mbps through pfsense since you have only few device to supply and only one interface on the lan side. Pick up a used mini tower containing a pentium D or a core 2 duo and you have plenty of power to do the job for decades.

    PfSense is able to manage thousands of hosts and many interfaces. you could network a whole hospital with one PfSense Box and managed switches.

    Zikmen



  • So that should all be fine for large amounts of local traffic without any issues? My main issue is LAN traffic as of now.



  • you mean traffic between lan computers like from the NAS to the TV computer?



  • @zikmen:

    you mean traffic between lan computers like from the NAS to the TV computer?

    Yup. Lots of intensive LAN traffic. Its that thats making my router crash at the moment. Streaming films from my NAS to my TV PC and game streaming in 720p from my desktop to my laptop (also local) brings my current router to its knees, especially if more than 2 PCs are connected to a VPN at the same time.



  • if your actual router crash because of intensive LAN traffic, trust me, your router is defective.

    that being said, when you will be using Pfsense as a router, the LAN interface connected to a switch where all network devices will be connected,
    pfsense will do nothing with the LAN traffic as it will pass through the switch itself, not through pf sense as thoses datas are not going over internet.

    Zikmen


  • Netgate Administrator

    Exactly. All three devices Virgin have labeled 'superhub' seem to have a gigabit switch so you should have no issues with LAN side traffic. It hints at some underlying problem in your network, a bad cable or NIC for example. Are you using other switches internally?
    I'm not sure exactly what you mean by "LAN game streaming at 60mbps". Is that streaming the video between devices on your LAN or actually maxing out your WAN bandwith at 60Mbps?

    Steve


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