New user, new setup question about Quad NIC in VM



  • Hi All - new pfSense user here.

    I'm looking to upgrade our home network setup, which is currently an ADSL2 connection through a vigor 100 modem to an ASUS RT-ac68 (which will be re-purposed as a wired switch /wifi AP).

    Am planning to upgrade to 100/20 fibre connection later this year, and with half a dozen connected devices and running a "road-warrior" openVPN setup, I've decided to route/firewall all of this through pfsense.

    I've currently got pfsense running in VirtualBox under an Arch linux host (i5-750 CPU, 8GB RAM) and have an Intel i350-T4 quad NIC coming from ebay (Chinese knock off with MR-Macom chips). PfSense looks great so far!

    Question:
    With the intel quad NIC, I don't think I need a switch - but how do I set up the adapters in pfSense/VB so that:

    NIC1 - WAN
    NIC2 - Home LAN port1 -> wifi APupstairs
    NIC3 - Home LAN port2 -> wifi AP downstairs
    NIC4 - Home LAN port3 -> VOIP box

    Is this possible, or am I better off just using two pf the ports (WAN and LAN), and running the pfSense LAN into a switch?

    I've got my eye on the pfSense hardware (SG-2440), and may well go there in due course, but for now I need to run the Arch box anyway, as it's serving files/backend TV server, so it's already powered on.

    Thanks in advance from a pfSense n00b!



  • have an Intel i350-T4 quad NIC coming from ebay (Chinese knock off with MR-Macom chips).

    hopefully it works, theres lots of knockoff intel crap that doesn't.

    With the intel quad NIC, I don't think I need a switch - but how do I set up the adapters in pfSense/VB so that:

    if you don't mind horrible lan performance, then no, you don't need a switch. PC's are not good switches.



  • As someone said to me, a 5 port switch is about $15.. you're better off using one than not.

    You'll likely get better performance in a T1 Hypervisor (esxi, xen, kvm or hyper-v to name a few), is there any reason you're not using one?



  • Thanks guys. I've ordered an 8-port managed switch (Netgear GS108-T), and will therefore likely just be using 2 of the NIC ports on the i350.

    I'll look into the Hypervisor options under Arch Linux (kvm, qemu, xen) but to be honest, for my piddly network, there is lots of headroom with the current Virtualbox setup  :)



  • @sos:

    Thanks guys. I've ordered an 8-port managed switch (Netgear GS108-T), and will therefore likely just be using 2 of the NIC ports on the i350.

    I'll look into the Hypervisor options under Arch Linux (kvm, qemu, xen) but to be honest, for my piddly network, there is lots of headroom with the current Virtualbox setup  :)

    Good choice getting a switch.

    A T1 hypervisor will give you better power consumption, which, if you're using PFsense 24/7, should be a consideration :)



  • @heper:

    have an Intel i350-T4 quad NIC coming from ebay (Chinese knock off with MR-Macom chips).

    hopefully it works, theres lots of knockoff intel crap that doesn't.

    With the intel quad NIC, I don't think I need a switch - but how do I set up the adapters in pfSense/VB so that:

    if you don't mind horrible lan performance, then no, you don't need a switch. PC's are not good switches.

    Perhaps I got lucky, or the Chinese guys are making better copies, but the quad port i350-T4 that just arrived via Hong Kong ($60 on the bay) has "intel" printed on the circuit board where the OEM Dell cards do, and the two chips near the ports are labelled "LFE9219C-R DELTA 1422", rather than MR-MACOM". Haven't benched it yet tho :)



  • Any chance you could provide the ebay link where you bought it?
    I am thinking of replacing my two dual port realtek 8111 cards with a one quad port one like that.
    Provided of course it works reliably :)



  • @matrix200:

    Any chance you could provide the ebay link where you bought it?
    I am thinking of replacing my two dual port realtek 8111 cards with a one quad port one like that.
    Provided of course it works reliably :)

    Sorry for not replying sooner - here's the one I bought, from alex_xu10:
    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/NEW-Intel-I350-T4-PCI-Express-PCI-E-Four-RJ45-Gigabit-Ports-Server-Adapter-NIC-/251671290126?hash=item3a98c7210e

    It's still working great and appears / seems to function like the real deal (not that I've tested it forensically, mind).



  • Thanks, I already bought it from some guy who agreed to put sell me a card with delta chips (as opposed to mr makom).
    Frankly, haven't had the time to install it yet.
    In your opinion would it consume less power then two dual port gigabit realteks or more?
    My box is relatively small (silverstone ml-05b) and ventilation is scant (just noctua low profile cpu cooler with 92mm fan and one side 80mm slow spinning fan).
    Since the card comes with a heatsink I would guess it consumes somewhat more power then my current two cards who have no heatsink whatsoever?



  • @matrix200:

    Thanks, I already bought it from some guy who agreed to put sell me a card with delta chips (as opposed to mr makom).
    Frankly, haven't had the time to install it yet.
    In your opinion would it consume less power then two dual port gigabit realteks or more?
    Since the card comes with a heatsink I would guess it consumes somewhat more power then my current two cards who have no heatsink whatsoever?

    The i350-t4 is specced at 5W consumption, you'd be hard pressed to get much better than that from a network card.

    Realistically the absolute best you can get is about 0.5W per port, but that is kind of unrealistic as it assumes no losses.


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