I'd like to make a PFsense router soon, but my only problem with it is going with a cheap wireless card and 4 port networking card. I'd like to keep it under 50$ for both. But I'd be willing to bring it to 70$ at most. I'd be running on a system using a Athlon X2 brought to a quad core, maybe underclocked or left at the same speed. Using 8GB of ram, and a 80GB HDD for the OS, and 500 for a NAS. I'm not going to be able to do it now, but I hope in the future, maybe very soon if I can sell one of my old computers.

The only thing you have to watch out for is that FreeBSD and by extension pfSense doesn't play nice with a lot of wireless cards out there. According to their compatibility list the Atheros chipsets are the only ones that will work in all wireless modes, essentially the ones you need to make a wireless card function in a router capacity. The full list of supported wireless cards is available here:

If by 4-port networking card you mean an internal 4-port ethernet card you can sometimes find an Intel Pro 1000 PT for cheap. The going price is around $40USD on eBay for the PCIe version:

Between both cards I'd guess you'll probably run north of $50 but you should come in under $70.

Hope this helps. Good luck. :)

In my experience it is better to have 2 NIC's and have the other be a one port gigabit port and put a router on that. PFS can do wireless, but it's better to have that managed elsewhere.


Given how um...porous wireless is...I've never thought it was a good idea to put it on your firewall. Have a secondary device that is your AP and just have your firewall doing it's thing as a firewall. I see people doing it all the time and not have any issues, but from a security stand point seeing it done that way always makes me face palm a bit.

If its wireless that only you or family use there are ways to make it more secure, if your dumb with it then sure it will be gaping hole, but you can certainly make it secure*.

*As secure as wireless can be at least

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I could use one of my old routers as a switch and get wireless that way at the same time. Then I'd only need to get the 4 port NIC for the best speeds and latency.

The reason why I'd like to have wireless is for things like laptops, tablets, phones, and anything else that would have wireless.

I recommend using a wireless access point as well. BSD doesn't support AC yet and it will probably be a long time before they do and if you have a wireless router already it would be easy enough to convert it into an AP by disabling DHCP and UPnP services. I like to keep my hardware separated so I can up grade each part as new technologies emerge. So, I use separate pfsense box, switch, and wireless AP. That way I can upgrade the AP if I want faster wireless without touching the settings on my pfsense router/firewall or change the switch if I need more ports and I can separate the wireless AP on it's on vlan if needed.

So, a not too bad of an idea would to spend the extra money for two 4 port NIC's, hook up one of my old routers for both wireless and I'd have a total of about 11 ethernet ports, along with wireless?

(4 from the router, and 8 from the 4 port nics, but one would be for the router)

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This is what I'd do. It's just safer to flash your old router with DDWRT or the like and turn it into a switch/AP. Plus it would help keep your costs down.

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Exactly. This gives you lots of expand-ability options, with an extra layer of security/insulation. You could even set up a VLAN for the wireless so that it doesn't hit your internal network if you wanted.

Depending on your electricity costs a switch that supports 802.3az (disabling ports that are not used, power usage is adapting to cable length) will be breaking even after two years or less.

Same goes for the computer. I've had a quick google about undervolting an Athlon X2. You can expect from 15 to 25 Watts reduction of the power consumption from what I've read. That is nice, but your system will still consume over 50 watts. Going for a dual-NIC SOC motherboard would possibly break even after 2 years.

Energy costs are not a problem, or I'd go with my old intel duel core.

Once I have the 80$ I'll do it. I got the computer, the router and only need the two 4 port nics.

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You really only need two NICs and a switch, you'd only use more NICs if you needed more interfaces for more networks. But if you only have WAN and LAN then you only need two interfaces. A switch will give you much better performance than bridging a bunch of network cards together.

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