pfSense Router Build Project

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Parts Used,

HP Elite 8000 SFF (Small Form Factor)

HP NC630T 2 LAN Card.

VigorNIC 132 – PCI Express VDSL Card. (Still waiting to come)

30GB Kingston SSD.

160GB Seagate 5400RPM Drive.

TP-LINK TL-WA901ND.

Ive been having a lot issues with ISP’s BT Homehub Routers for awhile now. As a lot of you know my ISP is BT i.e (British Telecom). There Routers have never been that good anyway. I first started out with the Homehub 4 then a 5 then a 6 (BT Smarthub). Had so many problems with them from cutting out to completely locking up and requiring a reboot. I started to do a lot of research i didn’t want to spend too much on a router. So I’ve decided to Build my own Router using a old HP Elite 8000 Core 2 Duo E6600 2.4Ghz with 4GB of RAM. Bought this machine from a eBay auction as i have a really bad eBay addiction. Added a few NIC’s which are all Intel. Bought a HP NC630T which i also use in my Server its a very nice card its a dual NIC card based on 82571EB chipset. Works well in pfSense as well as OS X/macOS. Bought another 2 of them single NIC cards also based on 82571EB chipsets. Ive also ordered VigorNIC 132 – PCI Express VDSL Card which allows me to connect my Fibre Line to a internal card instead of using a BT Fibre Modem which I’m currently waiting to come so atm I’m using the BT Fibre Modem which works fine but want to have it all in one machine. Ive added 2 drives one SSD and the other is a 160GB 5400RPM Drive. Your probably wondering why i have two drives in this machine? Thats because i set up something called GEOM Mirror which is a RAID Configuration in RAID 1 the reason on why i did this is because if one drive goes down i have the other to back me up so i won’t loose internet access or VPN access to my Server. It took awhile to set up LAN 3 which is to my Access Point in order to use more than two NICs you need to bridge the cards together so it acts more like a Network Switch once setup it works brilliantly.

With the BT Homehub Routers my bandwidth was all over the place but ever since implementing the pfSense Router to my Network i noticed a lot of a difference with the bandwidth wether its sending or receiving Packets.

The old Core 2 Duo seems to be coping with my Fibre line i get around 80 to 90 down 22 to 23 up which is more stable than the HomeHub router. I have connected the pfSense machine to my 1gbp Network Switch to give all my machines over LAN internet access i only use WIFI for my iPad & iPhone everything else is connected via my 1gbp Ethernet line.

For WIFI if it wasnt for my iPhone or iPad i wouldn’t really of bothered with WIFI so i bought a Access Point which cost me around £30 its made by TP-Link the model is TL-WA901ND then just hooked that up to LAN3 instead of my Switch.

I must say that i have a better uptime on my Connection now after a day it hasn’t cut out like on my old Router as to where every night at 8pm the internet would just disconnect but don’t seem to have this issue with my pfSense just goes to show that these BT Routers are not that good.

Ive also installed a 400watt UPS to keep the uptime for both my pfSense Machine and my Server both machines don’t use a lot of juice like Server grade hardware. So if theres a Power Outage its all covered by the APC 400Watt UPS i have set both to turn off if the battery is low over Ethernet which is very nice.

Overall its a very Stable Router and has indeed sorted out my Internet Problems.

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