Pfsense 1u hardware rackmount advice + BT ISP usage PPPoE or Alternatives :)

Hi All,

I was looking at building a PFsense box as my router/firewall/IPS/VPN. So I can get the idea of a smart home set up but removing the BT ISP router from the chain.

BT internet > Openreach fibre modem > Pfsense box > Omada switch > APs

Hardware-wise I was looking at:

  • Intel® Core™ i3-12100 Processor (might seem overkill but if I have to do PPPoE + open VPN for a few Plex connections (family) and IPS, I might need it. Also has onboard graphics which is a bonus.

  • Random ITX board (might be able to limit TDP from 60 to 35-40 according to some forums

  • Intel NIC (suggestion would be great) I believe I need 1x WAN 2x LAN. Maybe a typical 4x 1GB NIC?

  • 8Gb RAM

  • an old SSD I happen to have

  • Rackmount Case + PSU (any suggestions and “silent” PSU with gold or better rating would be awesome) Also let me know if I need a riser or not for the NIC depending on the case plz!

My ISP is BT (in the UK) 1Gbit FTTP

I’ve read online I can simply use the fibre modem on the wall and connect the PFsense box straight to it. However, I may have to use PPPoE. Any idea if I can not use PPPoE? I read it hits performance pretty hard.

Any suggestions or alternatives would be awesome :slight_smile:


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Keep in mind that 1U is so low that some ITX Boards and almost all Coolers won’t fit.

Definitely doable, but you’re giving yourself constraints that are somewhat unneccessary.

I’d reccomendy you either:

  • Go with a Soldered SoC Board with an Atom or comparable CPU
  • Buld the components you named into a short 2u case

Intel i350-T4 is a highly recommended NIC, I have one myself. But watch out for fakes:

Also keep in mind that if you’re going with a 1u case, you’ll need to make sure that the Riser fits with the orientation of the PCIe Slot and Motherboard in that chassis.

I’d recommend a Supermicro SC504/SC505 and their Riser if you go 1U.

Unless your ISP is willing to and can switch to something else, no.
Make sure that the Modem really is just a pure Modem and doesn’t try to interfere with your Traffic in any way.



I can only answer the UK bit (being in the uk!) but you will need a dedicated modem, popular one is the Draytek 130. That’s what I did, I really welcome any alternative modems, they seem to be severely lacking in the UK :frowning:

If you’re dedicated, you might want to get a Netgate SG-2100 (SG-2100 pfSense® Security Gateway Appliance | Amica Networks)

I only suggest this because the cheapest unit is apparently good up to half gig connections.

Hope that helps!

Thanks Chris,

The modem work for me as am FFTP and that’s ADSL+. I’ve read some stuff on it but seems like the best solution is PPPOE. Netgate don’t advertise the throughput for PPPOE so il give it a pass. (its why I was thinking of building a box myself as it will be doing 1gbit)



Il check out the supermicro box. Any idea if the fan in the PSU is audible/if its turns off?

1U seems about right for this but I will check the ITX highlight in case.

I could make it a 2U but not sure on a case then again. any other suggestions? :smiley:

Maybe that riser will fit normally in a 2u box? (without the riser)


Oh, sorry for the misinfo, I’ll at least note this for next time!

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There’s a super quiet version that’s inaudible in most rooms, although it does emit a slight humm.

Make sure you don’t get any of the louder versions unless you’re knowledgeable enough to swap a fan (dangerous because opening power supply)

Any case that’s not very deep and available in your region, I can’t recommend specifics for the U.K.

In a 2u case the nic will fit without a riser, but you’ll need the low profile slot cover with it (check whether it comes with it if you buy used)

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