Anyone using 10GbE cards?

  • Hi All,

    We're wondering if anyone is using any 10GbE cards with pfSense?

    I notice that the HCL shows the Intel LR/SR 10GbE cards are supported, but couldn't find support for the CX4 card which is what we'd
    probably be more interested in.
    It looks to my untrained eye to be the same driver anyway?

    We're looking at building a couple of failover bridge firewalls and are wondering how big we can go on the scaleability.

    Would we be daft to look at 10GbE cards anyway?  Would the CPU's be more of a limitation that the speed of the NICs?

    Any help or advice would be appreciated.


  • The CPU could be a problem, but there are fast systems out there.
    I think the real bottleneck would be the internal bus.
    PCIe1.1 provides 250Mbyte/s or 2Gbit/s per lane.
    Now this is a theoretical and you have to count in that a 8B/10B encoding on the physical layer is used.

    If you can find an 8xPCIe 10 Gbit/s card you "shouldnt" have a problem with the bus.
    But i havent actually seen any mainboards that provide 8x slots. Only 4xPCIe slots. and these cap at a theoretical maximum of 8Gbit/s

    I took a look at the CX4. it uses as bux PCI-X.
    PCI-X133 has its theoretical limit at about 8Gbit as well.

    So while you wont actually reach 10 Gbit you're close.
    Also keep in mind that with PCI-X the bandwith is divided by the number of NIC's you have.
    So to route with two of these cards you still would be able to route with roughly 4GBit/s.

  • I'd love to see if pfSense can scale that high.  8x PCIe slots are no biggie.  The P45/X38/X48 chipsets all have two 8x PCIe slots if not 16x on the northbridge.  If you're building a firewall, you wouldn't "waste" the x16 slots on dual graphic cards anyway.  Just get a PCIe x1 or PCI video board.

    I don't have experience with 10G cards yet, but I imagine the CPU would indeed be the limit if you approached the maximum speed.

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