General Questions (Switch, WAN, LAN)



  • Hello! My apologies if this in the wrong category!

    So I'm looking to build my family a router since our current ones are a pain to work with and have horrible wireless, also I like to play with things so pfSense is right in alley.

    I was wondering, I was looking at a cheap $25 Intel 10/100/1000 NIC and an Atheros WAN which is about $30 in itself, just to start myself off. The switch is a cheap 8 port unmanaged TP-Link switch, I was wondering if there is a way to hook that up so I don't have to get multiple LAN cards. Also is that WAN fine?

    If I could get the switch to work, would having 3-4 computers hitting it cause any major throttling?

    Hardware:

    Intel PWLA8391GT - LAN
    Atheros AR5BXB112 AR9380 - WAN
    TP-LINK TL-SG108 - SWITCH



  • going with intel NIC's is always a good idea. not sure about the atheros, never used them on pfSense.


  • LAYER 8 Global Moderator

    "and have horrible wireless"

    So what you going to do for the wireless?  You going to get some real AP, or hoping that putting a wifi card in a box pfsense will be magically better coverage and reliability?

    Yes that switch will be fine, unless you want to do vlans. A smart/managed switch that supports vlans is not expensive these days..  The E model of your same switch support them.. Show it under $40 on amazon.



  • @Soarin:

    Hardware:
    …TP-LINK TL-SG108 - SWITCH

    Better use a TP-LINK TL-SG108E which has VLAN capabilities and can seriously help you down the road. The difference ist only a couple of $$.



  • @jahonix:

    @Soarin:

    Hardware:
    …TP-LINK TL-SG108 - SWITCH

    Better use a TP-LINK TL-SG108E which has VLAN capabilities and can seriously help you down the road. The difference ist only a couple of $$.

    I'll try to fit it into my budget



  • @johnpoz:

    "and have horrible wireless"

    So what you going to do for the wireless?  You going to get some real AP, or hoping that putting a wifi card in a box pfsense will be magically better coverage and reliability?

    Yes that switch will be fine, unless you want to do vlans. A smart/managed switch that supports vlans is not expensive these days..  The E model of your same switch support them.. Show it under $40 on amazon.

    For the wireless I was hoping a better wireless card would let me get more speed since my current one only allows about 50 mb/s down and 8mb/s up of my 90 up and down. I'm on a very tight budget, that router is about 6 years old and it seems to die randomly.



  • the wireless card will not be faster, more then likely be slower



  • Is there any that would be more beneficial than 6 year old router? I'm a little lost. :s


  • LAYER 8 Global Moderator

    Get an true AP…  You can get the new unifi lite model AC for $89 or less

    https://www.ubnt.com/unifi/unifi-ap-ac-lite/



  • I'd prefer the consumer Ruckus stuff, branded as XClaim wireless.
    http://www.xclaimwireless.com

    Or buy a real Ruckus on eBay…



  • Oh okay I see what you mean now, thanks! The last thing I'm worried about is for the managed switch and unmanaged switch, my friend has the switch I was looking at and so far has no issues, but I'm trusting the people with better knowledge. Is there a scenario where an unmanaged switch would do bad for me?
      I'm just looking to hook my main pc and my NAS up to the switch then the rest of the house will be wireless.



  • I was also thinking, would it be a wise idea to use my existing router as the wireless instead of buying a pre-existing wireless card? If so is there a tutorial on how this would be done?



  • I was also thinking, would it be a wise idea to use my existing router as the wireless instead of buying a pre-existing wireless card? If so is there a tutorial on how this would be done?

    The forum has many instances of pfSense users doing this.

    As far as a tutorial, it depends somewhat on your wireless router.
    The general concept is to disable DHCP in the WAP and connect it to pfSense on your LAN Nic (or a Nic dedicated to your wireless subnet).
    You'll want it to have and IP address for the subnet it's on (either hard coded or via DHCP - as your device allows)
    You also want to turn off the "router mode" of the WAP as well, if it has a dedicated WAP mode that's often the best choice.

    The use of a WAP lets you place the device at the point in your house where it does the most good as opposed to forcing it to live near your ISP connection.



  • Thank you very much! I heard of something like this so I'm a little bit familiar. I have another router, should I use that as a modem or buy one?



  • Where I'm from we normally get our modem with our internet service - provided by your ISP.

    Usually you don't want more than one router in your setup, it can definitely lead to headaches.

    Not sure what your situation is…..



  • Yeah I've noticed that, I was thinking I could use my Actiontec Wi424r as a bridge to my router, and my D-Link dir-655 as the access point, and disable the routing function of them both until I can afford an actual access point.

    Is that a bad idea or will it work until I can replace them?



  • Alright I'll ask Verizon about that, so I think I might hold off on going to a garage sale and getting a cheap $20-30 granny computer and I might use my current old computer I built a few years back.

    But I have another question, people said I should get a managed switch. Is this for VLANS?

    Because I just plan on connecting my computers and my NAS to my switch, is this necessary for managed?

    Also can it go

    Modem - > Switch - > Router - > Switch outputs ethernet to my computers, is that okay?

    Or

    Modem - > Router Intergraded LAN - > Router Intel NIC - > Switch - > Switch outputs ethernet to my computers

    Thanks! I'm currently all thrown around since there's not a lot of posts (or ones that I understand too clearly) for pfSense.



  • @Soarin:

    …I should get a managed switch. Is this for VLANS?

    Mostly, yes. And VLANs can be your replacement for multiple separate interfaces of your pfSense.

    @Soarin:

    Because I just plan on connecting my computers and my NAS to my switch, is this necessary for managed?
    Modem - > Switch - > Router - > Switch outputs ethernet to my computers, is that okay?

    On your (currently planned) setup a managed switch is not necessary.
    Do you need the switch between your modem and the router? Usually they can be connected directly.



  • Alright so I don't really need the managed switch? It's a very basic setup, just a way to give my family better wifi and play with pfSense.

    Also that plan can work with the modem into switch? If not that's fine, I plan on buying that Intel NIC anyways, I thought I could hook the modem directly into my router with the intergraded lan then output it with the Intel Nic, or is there something wrong with that?

    Thanks!



  • As I wrote earlier, a managed switch can help you down the road (if you want to separate LAN/WLAN or WLAN/Guest or what have you). It is not mandatory.
    An unmanaged switch cannot be upgraded to managed when throwing $15 at it.

    Nothing wrong with your setup.



  • Alright I'll grab an unmanaged switch at first since so far any feature listed doesn't seem like something I'd do, if I need it I can sell my current switch and I'd buy it.

    I don't know if I have any more questions, I'm trying to save every buck I can right now to buy a nice AP. I'll be using my current old router as an AP until I can buy something better.

    If there's anything else I should know please tell me, because I'm pretty new and only have seen a few videos about pfSense and browsed the forums.



  • Last minute, should I get the Intel EXPI9301CTBLK or the TP-LINK TG-3468?

    I don't know what else the Intel NIC offers over the TP-Link and it's last minute buying, they're both compatible but I'm just worried that it might not work or function to it's fullest potential.


  • LAYER 8 Global Moderator

    get the intel



  • I already bought the Intel, I didn't want to risk it. I can't find any topics on it over other NICS, is it just the support?


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