Hardware for a mobile platform



  • Hello,

    I'm planning to build a mobile pfsense box for my car and i need some hardware reccomedations.

    The device hast to connect to mobile 3G/4G network then create a wifi hotspot on the LAN side.
    So my first idea was an alix board with several mPCI-E slots (need at least 2 for a wwan card and wifi card) and it's wide voltage input.

    But if possible i would prefer something more powerfull like the supermicro atom boards. Most of those boards don't have any mPCI-E slots so does anyone know if you can work around that? I know you can get mPCI-E to PCI-E adapters (some even have a slot for the sim card) but will they actualy work with pfsense?

    In the end i'm looking for a smal box that doesn't drain too much power.



  • but will they actualy work with pfsense?

    They will for sure. C2x58 board would do it.

    In the end i'm looking for a smal box that doesn't drain too much power.

    From the pfSense shop some devices would do it too;

    • VK-T40E with 3 miniPCIe slots & SIM & SDCard Slot
    • SG-2220 AES-NI, QuickAssist, 2 Intel GB LAN Ports & 1 m.2 Slot & 1 mini PCIe & SIM Slot
    • SG-2440  AES-NI, QuickAssist, 4 Intel GB LAN Ports & 3 mini PCIe slots & SIM Slot


  • Interesting, i did look at the store before but there was no mention of a sim card slot.

    Is the SG series from the store any good or would it be better if i build my own system?



  • Interesting, i did look at the store before but there was no mention of a sim card slot.

    The SG-xxxx series from the pfSense shop and the negate store a identically as I see it right and on
    each of them is a so called micro-SIM slot soldered on, that a miniPCIe modem should be inserted
    and also a SIM micro-card, so all and mostly common used miniPCIe cards are going inside, like
    mSATA, WiFi card, modems or other cards as needed.

    Is the SG series from the store any good

    Fore sure, they offer all up to date boards, that don´t let you missing anything related
    to pfSense, BSD or Linux based operating systems such as DD-WRT, OpenWRT, IPCop,
    IPFire, Untangle, ZeroShell, CentOS, ClearOS, Eisfair & fli4l.

    AES-NI & QuickAssist
    3 miniPCIe slots + micro-SIM slot
    multi Core Intel Atom C2x58 SoC

    I thing they matching nearly better to build an small appliance.

    or would it be better if i build my own system?

    You can do this quite also if you have special needs that would be not served by the
    SG-xxxx units, why not but related to your needs and questions you asked here this
    would be really hard to match the same status and capabilities.

    The VK-T40E is based on the Alix APU I think and also there is a SIM slot soldered on board.
    miniPCIe + SIM converter
    RB14eU comes with many SIM slots

    So you will be able to build your own device for sure also with SIM slots and things such the miniPCIe
    slots, but you will have not guaranty that all is playing fine together, but with the SG units you will have
    this benefits for sure.



  • The SG are out of the question, i don't live in the US so if i buy the 500$ unit and after i add the postage,tax,customs,etc it would add up to over 800$, and that's a bit too much for me right now.

    However i can get an apu 1d4 board which is cheap and has a SIM slot. but i'm affraid it wouldn't be powerfull enough and cause bottlenecks.

    There is also a company that sells industrial mini-ITX boards with atom or even core i3/i5/i7 CPUs, mini pci slots, etc. Which would be great, but something's telling me that pfsense will have problems running on those boards.



  • The SG are out of the question, i don't live in the US so if i buy the 500$ unit and after i add the postage,tax,customs,etc it would add up to over 800$, and that's a bit too much for me right now.

    There are some shops around the world that are selling this SG units all over the world too!
    So it is not a "must be" to order this units in the USA for sure as I am seeing it right.

    However i can get an apu 1d4 board which is cheap and has a SIM slot. but i'm affraid it wouldn't be powerfull enough and cause bottlenecks.

    Related to all your needs this could also be for sure, but without knowing exactly
    your needs and wishes no one can help you out really.

    There is also a company that sells industrial mini-ITX boards with atom or even core i3/i5/i7
    CPUs, mini pci slots, etc.

    Oh ok for sure you will be able to try out any vendor you like or can pay for.
    But only the devices from the pfSense shop or netgate are ensuring to get a
    supported hardware which is running out of the box in my eyes.

    Which would be great, but something's telling me that pfsense will have problems running on those boards.

    Hard to say something about an unknown vendor and his devices.



  • A couple of older ebay machines with SIM slot and Wifi slots.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/321808202966
    Advantech ARK1388 (1 LAN, GPS module, 3G modem,Wifi, 16GB SSD)

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/321795418002
    Nexcom VTC-6200 (Needs 3 pin phoenix power connector -not included) (1 LAN, GPS module,3G modem, Wifi, 4GB SSD)

    These draw about 1.5a@12V
    I am not trying to undercut sales of pfSense store gear, I am simply referring used alternatives. These are nowhere as powerful as the new products being recommended. Depending on usage these may be fine. I use the ARK as an pfSense Mifi.

    I also have 4 of the ARK's in the field as ATT Mifi's with the addition of an MC7700 module.

    1. on tugboats that ply the intercostal waterway and Ches. Bay
    2. on a Truckers rig traveling nationwide.
    3. in a Motorhome some surfer friends use for contest travel.

    Not a complaint from any of them.
    Using external antennas on the cellular side.  Not using the GPS yet…. GPSDameon may be getting a package if I can swing it..



  • That Nexcom unit is pretty nice too. It comes from some kind of Taxi, Limo or Bus. It had disk intact and I was checking out the cellular data method  for Video-Push the Local NYC TV station was using to put content on the box. Looks like the computer was used for digital signage, maybe Wifi hotspot too.. I like seeing how stuff works…Especially custom apps like it... Reverse jigsaw as you try to figure out what it does without passwords or instructions.

    For $48US bucks shipped a killer deal..An As-IS gamble..

    The 3 pin phoenix connectors are 5ea. for 5 bucks...
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/261485196352