DIY router help?

Offloading HDDs and other functions to remote NAS or servers is increasingly popular
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Jatismara
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DIY router help?

Post by Jatismara » Sat Nov 05, 2016 3:29 pm

I am looking to do a custom-build router for pfSense 2.2.6, and would like help compiling a parts-list. My budget is $300. Finished router must be able to handle gigabit throughput, and function as both router and hardware firewall (using NAT & SPI). I have a 64bit install-CD, so build must have a CD/DVD drive, and minimum 4GB RAM (I'd prefer more). I don't care to fool with the embedded version of pfSense, nor replace SSD every year, so I'll probably use Western Digital Black 500GB 2.5" HDD. Have an Intel EXPI9402PT NIC, and hoping to use it. I would like size to not exceed mid-tower, but prefer something a lot smaller. Router will be about six feet from my bed, so noise is an issue.

CA_Steve
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Re: DIY router help?

Post by CA_Steve » Sat Nov 05, 2016 4:02 pm

Is this just a router/firewall or also some kind of NAS (needed the HDD)? I sold my Zotac Zbox Nano to a friend for him to use as a pfsense based router. Don't think you need more horsepower. This year's model has two 1Gb NIC ports. It'd be hard to find a more power efficient or quiet way to build this.

edh
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Re: DIY router help?

Post by edh » Sun Nov 06, 2016 10:29 am

What's wrong with buying a normal router? I can't understand spending this kind of money for a home router if it is then going to sit right next to your bed but I suppose we must have very different priorities.

CA_Steve
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Re: DIY router help?

Post by CA_Steve » Sun Nov 06, 2016 11:21 am

You can get a lot more granularity of control with a homebuilt router or even a router that you can apply WRT or other firmware.

quest_for_silence
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Re: DIY router help?

Post by quest_for_silence » Sun Nov 06, 2016 11:31 pm

Jatismara wrote:I would like size to not exceed mid-tower, but prefer something a lot smaller.
ASrock Deskmini 110?

Silent but deadly
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Re: DIY router help?

Post by Silent but deadly » Sun Nov 20, 2016 1:35 pm

I've had to reformat your post as SPCR doesn't allow more than three quotes in a post... all that work copying, pasting and editing "

Code: Select all

[quote="Jatismara"][/quote]
" for nothing.
Jatismara wrote:1. I am looking to do a custom-build router for pfSense 2.2.6, and would like help compiling a parts-list. My budget is $300. Finished router must be able to handle gigabit throughput, and function as both router and hardware firewall (using NAT & SPI).

2. I have a 64bit install-CD, so build must have a CD/DVD drive, and minimum 4GB RAM (I'd prefer more).

3. I don't care to fool with the embedded version of pfSense, nor replace SSD every year, so I'll probably use Western Digital Black 500GB 2.5" HDD.

4. Have an Intel EXPI9402PT NIC, and hoping to use it.

5. I would like size to not exceed mid-tower, but prefer something a lot smaller.

6. Router will be about six feet from my bed, so noise is an issue.

1. How many ethernet ports do you need or will your be running a router on a stick setup? If you need a switch, would it be included in the $300 budget?

2. Why not just use a USB stick for the install media rather than powering a disc driver for the once in a blue moon when you'll use it?... I suppose you could remove it after you've installed pfSense.

3. Quality SSD's really don't wear out that fast unless you're absolutely hammering them with writes. What packages do you plan to run that need the storage?

4. Does the NIC have a low profile bracket?

5. Do you think you'll need more than one PCIe slot?

6. Is active cooling okay or do you want a passively cooled build?

Jatismara
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Re: DIY router help?

Post by Jatismara » Thu Dec 08, 2016 4:18 pm

CA_Steve wrote:Is this just a router/firewall or also some kind of NAS (needed the HDD)? I sold my Zotac Zbox Nano to a friend for him to use as a pfsense based router. Don't think you need more horsepower. This year's model has two 1Gb NIC ports. It'd be hard to find a more power efficient or quiet way to build this.
Just a router and hardware firewall (NAT & SPI). So far as I can tell, the pfsense 2.3.2 install-CD I bought has everything needed for this, so no fooling with 'packages'. No servers stuff. The only proxies and DNS services used will be online sort...same for VPN (AirVPN). So since my original post, I've done more research, and decided to make this an AMD build. An Intel build would go too far over my $300 budget. Still looking, but right now the only motherboard that seems right is Asus M5A78L-M/USB3. If I go with it, I'm thinking the AMD FX-4300 (95w) CPU. My main requirements for this build is:
1. Absolutely must handle gigabit throughput.
2. Will be about six feet from my bed, so has to be reasonably quiet.
3. Either an internal or external CD-ROM drive.
I have a Intel PRO/1000 Pt dual-port NIC in my parts bank. Would like to use it if possible; otherwise will buy something else. Advice appreciated.

Jatismara
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Re: DIY router help?

Post by Jatismara » Thu Dec 08, 2016 4:22 pm

edh wrote:What's wrong with buying a normal router? I can't understand spending this kind of money for a home router if it is then going to sit right next to your bed but I suppose we must have very different priorities.
So far as I can tell, most namebrand routers have backdoors, and all those wired-only routers I had been considering cost at least $250, so I cannot think of any good reason not to add $50 and do it myself.

Jatismara
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Re: DIY router help?

Post by Jatismara » Thu Dec 08, 2016 4:37 pm

Silent but deadly wrote:I've had to reformat your post as SPCR doesn't allow more than three quotes in a post... all that work copying, pasting and editing "

Code: Select all

[quote="Jatismara"][/quote]
" for nothing.
Jatismara wrote:1. I am looking to do a custom-build router for pfSense 2.2.6, and would like help compiling a parts-list. My budget is $300. Finished router must be able to handle gigabit throughput, and function as both router and hardware firewall (using NAT & SPI).

2. I have a 64bit install-CD, so build must have a CD/DVD drive, and minimum 4GB RAM (I'd prefer more).

3. I don't care to fool with the embedded version of pfSense, nor replace SSD every year, so I'll probably use Western Digital Black 500GB 2.5" HDD.

4. Have an Intel EXPI9402PT NIC, and hoping to use it.

5. I would like size to not exceed mid-tower, but prefer something a lot smaller.

6. Router will be about six feet from my bed, so noise is an issue.

1. How many ethernet ports do you need or will your be running a router on a stick setup? If you need a switch, would it be included in the $300 budget?

2. Why not just use a USB stick for the install media rather than powering a disc driver for the once in a blue moon when you'll use it?... I suppose you could remove it after you've installed pfSense.

3. Quality SSD's really don't wear out that fast unless you're absolutely hammering them with writes. What packages do you plan to run that need the storage?

4. Does the NIC have a low profile bracket?

5. Do you think you'll need more than one PCIe slot?

6. Is active cooling okay or do you want a passively cooled build?
One WAN. One LAN. No switch.
My experience with flash drives is about the same as with floppy discs...neither impressed. I like CDs/DVDs. They last for years if you don't scratch them up.
According to the pfSense forum, the problem with pfSense chewing up SSDs in a year or two has been solved, though there is still no 'trim'. I'm conflicted about whether to go SSD or HDD.
No low profile bracket came with the NIC...do I need to look for one, or get another NIC?
The only PCIe slot I foresee needing is for the NIC. I think the CD-ROM will either run on the SATA or I think external one would use the USB port.
So long as its not that water-cooled stuff. Passive would be more quiet, but according to this site there are quiet coolers around.

CA_Steve
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Re: DIY router help?

Post by CA_Steve » Thu Dec 08, 2016 7:43 pm

So, why fixate on a high power CPU to do a task that an Atom can easily do? Get the Zotac Zbox or similar and an external ODD.

vishcompany
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Re: DIY router help?

Post by vishcompany » Fri Dec 09, 2016 9:37 am

My NAS based on a J1900 board can handle Gbit thruoghput just fine.
What is so demanding in your build that you need such a powerful CPU?

Jatismara
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Re: DIY router help?

Post by Jatismara » Fri Dec 09, 2016 3:27 pm

CA_Steve wrote:So, why fixate on a high power CPU to do a task that an Atom can easily do? Get the Zotac Zbox or similar and an external ODD.
Been told on a couple forums now that if I absolutely want to guarantee this build can handle gigabit throughput, I need a four-core CPU with minimum 3.4GHz. Had been going for an Intel build (2-core, 2.?GHz), but made a u-turn, and now I'll be doing this. Overkill? Better that than missing my chance and having to settle for a slow router. This will be my first and last router, so have to get it right...no 'do-overs'! I'll definitely be using a FX-4300 (95w). Only motherboards I found to fit the bill, and not having a lot of bad reviews are:
Asus M5A78l-M/USB3
MSI 760GM-P21 (FX)
so I can go either way with these. Opinions welcomed. Need to make this build as quiet as possible, so if that means a bigger case than required to accommodate soundproofing, so be it. I know AMD CPUs need a lot of fans, and I don't do water cooling.

CA_Steve
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Re: DIY router help?

Post by CA_Steve » Fri Dec 09, 2016 4:50 pm


Jatismara
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Re: DIY router help?

Post by Jatismara » Sat Dec 10, 2016 12:31 pm

CA_Steve wrote:Here's what pfsense recommends for h/w.
Yes, I saw it before when I was going to buy SG-2220. Their store is deceptive, intentional or not. After lots of research, I still don't know for sure if SG-2220 will reliably do gigabit speed. Opinions on their forum are split. Most agree that SG-2440 will, but its out of my budget. Been going around and around on various forums as to just what hardware is required to get gigabit speed, and again the opinions are split. Half say a 2-core 2GHz will do it, other half says 4-core 3.4GHz. Who is right and who is wrong? Don't know, and absolutely don't intend to spend two years researching this like I did with my custom-build PC. What I do know is if the first group is right and I buy a 2-core, then I'll have gigabit speed....but if they are wrong, I won't. If the second group is right, and I buy a 4-core, then I'll have gigabit speed, but if they are wrong....I'll still have gigabit speed! If the choice is between maybe too little, and maybe too much, I'll take the latter. So far as I can determine, pfSense can handle this CPU, and either motherboard, plus it fits my $300 budget. The only possible problem I can foresee is that AMD CPUs run hot and need lots of fans, so noise is a factor, which is why I'm here.

CA_Steve
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Re: DIY router help?

Post by CA_Steve » Sat Dec 10, 2016 12:52 pm

As far as I can tell, if you just want to move data around at 1Gbs, one of the 10W Atoms is just fine. If, however, you want to set up a VPN and other cpu intensive tasks and move data aound at 1Gbs, then you might need more.

vishcompany might be able to provide more data.

Anyway, if you are insistant on using a 5 year old 95W CPU/mobo combo that has less processing power than a frequency nerfed 35W i3, who am I to stop you? <shrugs>

vishcompany
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Re: DIY router help?

Post by vishcompany » Sat Dec 10, 2016 2:19 pm

CA_Steve wrote:vishcompany might be able to provide more data.
The J1900 running on debian linux manages file transfer via samba at +/-120MB/s, CPU load during this process is around 50%. This is a 10W 4core 2GHz CPU. However, being a NAS, only 1 NIC is involved.

Apart being a file server it also acts as a DLNA server for music (minidlna) and cloud storage for 2 PCs (owncloud) with no problem whatsoever.

However 2: I do not run pfsense, so I can't tell it's performance with this software.

Jatismara
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Re: DIY router help?

Post by Jatismara » Tue Jan 03, 2017 3:13 pm

Okay, so I finally decided to go with a Gigabyte GA-B85M-DS3H-A and a core i3-4160 CPU. Everything I have read suggests this is more than enough to get at least 900Mbps, so I'm ready to buy. I have also found that the SSD problem appears to have been solved in pfSense, so I'll be looking for Intel series 530 or series 535 SSD (120GB).

I could use help picking a CPU cooler. It has to be quiet, and absolutely cannot block any PCI/PCIe or RAM slots. It may have to fit into a microATX case or the next size larger...I have not decided whether or not soundproofing in the case is required. This router will be about six feet from my bed.

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