Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Making Some pfSense

Not that I really need it, but an idea of getting rid the household of ads was compelling enough.  So I got myself a little "industrial PC", added a stick of RAM and mSATA SSD from an old laptop and installed pfSense in no time!

As you can see, a SATA cable is provided - this is important because the other end uses a proprietary connector.  This cable created a rattling noise which made me worry when I first got my hands on the box.  The cable goes unused.

The enclosure is all metal, and there are no moving parts inside.  The CPU heat-sink is touching external wall of the enclosure - you can see the PCB is flexing noticeably.

There are 4 Intel NICs onboard!  pfSense assigns names in a somewhat unexpected manner:
Port#pfSense Default Assignment

mSATA SSD and RAM installed.  There is a slot for a WiFi card which I left unpopulated.  I rely on Ubiquity Access Point for that.
Power supply brick.  Very unimpressive.
It idles at 7W, spikes to 14W.

pfSense installation went smoothly, all components were recognized during the install - you do need to tell pfSense to use AES hardware. It does dissipate a decent amount of heat, so that after running a night in an enclosed cabinet the temperature went up to 50C. Adding a vent reduced temperature 35C. CPU cores temps reported at 36C. 

I run DNSmasq, DHCP server, Squid, ntpd and ntopng (highly recommended). I was surprised how much HTTPS and how little HTTP is there, but Squid did manage to cache iTunes updates. CPU use spikes to 32% but most of the time it is below 5%.

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