PfSense - Best options?

I'm looking to turn an old XP or vista computer my neighbor is going to give me into a router, as mine is slowly dying :(

 

Due to the fact I don't have it right now, I obviously dont know stats.

That being said I do know it works perfectly.

 

But I dont know a few things. One would be the best NIC to get.

I have a pretty decent sized house and my parents basicly stay as far as they can from the router, so I need something with a decent area.

 

I've never really been forced to look into NIC's so I dont know much about them

 

Lastly, how does cacheing work on PfSense because I remember Logan mentioned it in a video a while ago. Thanks guys!

bump

bump

I'm really surprised that people haven't responded to you by this point.

First

Good job on picking pfSense. Your life is going to get a lot better if you invest the time into this machine.

NICs

You're talking about range here. To maximize my range, this is what I did:

  • Popped an ethernet card into the pfsense box and ran this off into a switch
  • Ran an ethernet cord from the switch into one of the LAN ports on a regular consumer router (TP-Link WR941ND
  • Modified the router to disable its dhcp server and set a proper static ip address so it doesn't conflict with the pfSense box
  • Grabbed some huge antennas from monoprice and stuck those onto the tp-link. Hellooooo range. It gets pretty far.

I gotta be honest, I don't think you're going to get any range if you get one of those standard wireless NICs. Hell, I'm not even sure if it will work. I've never tried to broadcast a network off of a device meant to be a client before. I'm sure it's possible, it's 802.11, but hey, YMMV. I would simply recommend getting a regular router and making that work. If you're not cool with a router, you could even just pick up a normal access point.

Caching

I use caching myself. Very handy. Truth is, (at least in my experience), you won't see much of a difference if all you're doing is browsing the web. The area where I see the single biggest impact is during large downloads. I'm a linux user, and as such can begin large batches of downloads. Having my router cache these locally saves me a HUGE amount of time. Like, installs of 1 hour down to 10 minutes or less. It's incredible. That being said, I see there are options in the squid3 package settings to enable stuff for Windows Updates and Youtube. I've tried them myself, I don't even know if they were working. It just didn't seem to increase speeds. Not a big deal for me, as youtube I'm fine with streaming and I have alternatives for mass Windows updates.

Whatever you plan to do...

You can't really break a pfSense setup. PfSense can look scary at first because it gives you so much control, but if you take it slow you can get a good understanding of it. If you break something, put your old router back and try it again tomorrow. I had to do it a couple times before I got it right. Take a few backups of the settings along the way too. Those can be handy down the road if the system you're running it on now craps out.

 

Good luck