PFSense: part 2, going overboard, ftw

Whelp, as with anything IT, things change and don’t always work properly. It’s both a blessing and a curse to always be busy when it comes time for upgrades and maintenance. Let’s begin.

Background from my previous post:
“I recently upgraded to Gigabit FIOS speeds and noted I couldn’t get much past 650mbs down or up. I saw a couple burst speeds but nothing higher. I have a full Cisco Catalyst 4000 series switch as a backbone, full gigabit everywhere so this wasn’t the issue.:

Well, here we are and the i5 couldn’t handle the VPN and bandwidth still on the network. I was consistently seeing a fully maxxed out core anytime doing speed tests and still noted some latency when probing local DNS. Attempting to download several games at once through different installers caused more issues and pfSense was struggling when closing in on the full 1000mbs throughput.

The i5 system was an i5-2400 series CPU. 4GB DDR3 RAM and a normal hard drive (500GB Seagate). I opted for a little more horsepower and figured I’d future proof it while I’m at it.

A quick trip to ebay and I picked up a used i7 SFF system and upgraded it for this purpose. Current specs:

  • i7-2600
  • 8GB DDR3 RAM (4X2GB)
  • 240GB Kingston SSD
  • Intel Pro 1000/GT Dual Gigabit NIC

With this I actually have seen some speed increases when browsing the web and day to day browsing. It’s overkill for my network, but there’s definitely some speed benefits that I’ve seen. If FIOS’s speed test would actually work consistently, I’d be showing speed tests but so far the speeds have been sub 300 during testing on their website (speedtests net are usually 850/900 or higher).

Conclusion: The system was worthy of an upgrade. Is it overkill? Sure. Is it also future proof? Definitely. Short of getting higher than gigabit internet speeds (highly unlikely), this will be my firewall for a long time coming. Cheers!

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