In this article, we’re going to look at the best pfSense hardware.
pfSense is a free and open source firewall and router. One of the biggest benefits of pfSense is that it can be installed on various types of hardware. With a compatible network card, you can turn an old PC or thin client into a router or even run it as a virtual machine. If you’d like to purchase a new device, you have various options and that’s what we’ll look at in this article.
There isn’t a right or wrong answer on the best pfSense hardware that you can use, but the items below are some of my personal favorites.
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Best pfSense Hardware
I want to be clear that if you want to purchase a device that has pfSense installed on it by default (and have the option for support), you should purchase the device directly from Netgate. They have various devices that are extremely powerful and will fit almost any budget.
However, if you’d like to install it manually or pick your own hardware, there are some great options that you can select.
Protectli Vault FW2B – Best 2-Port
The Protectli Vault FW2B is a two-port mini PC that has an Intel Dual Core 64-bit processor and 4GB of RAM. It comes with a 32B mSATA SSD. Since this device has two ports, one will be used for your WAN (from your modem) and one will be used for your LAN (to your switch).
I want to be clear that pfSense will not be installed on this device by default, but the install process is very straightforward and you’ll be up and running quickly and efficiently.
Protectli Vault FW4B
The Protectli Vault FW4B is a four-port mini PC that has a Quad Core 64-bit processor and 8GB of RAM. It comes with a 120GB mSATA SSD. It’s extremely similar to the Protectli Vault FW2B, but has four Gigabit ethernet ports as opposed to two. It also has a faster processor, more memory, and a larger hard drive.
You’ll have to install pfSense on this device, but this is a good device for users who are interested in having more than two ports. If you will only use two ports, go with the Protectli Vault FW2B.
The HUNSN RS34g has an Intel Quad Core, 64-bit processor with 8GB of RAM, and a 128GB SSD. The benefit of this device is that it has 4 x 2.5GbE ports as opposed to the 1GbE ports that come standard on the Protectli devices. If your network speeds from your ISP are greater than 1Gbps, you will need to use 2.5GbE to get the full, advertised speed.
If your current ISP speeds aren’t greater than 1Gbps, 2.5GbE is a “nice to have”, at least from a WAN perspective. You can get faster local network transfer speeds with 2.5GbE, but the devices connected must have 2.5GbE NICs as well.
Intel I350 Gigabit NIC
If you have an old device laying around or you’d like to install pfSense on a virtual machine, there’s no reason to purchase new hardware (unless you would like the form factor). An inexpensive Intel I350 NIC can be installed in the device you have (assuming you have a PCIe slot available) which you can then use inside of pfSense.
This device has two ports, and you’ll be able to use one as your WAN (connected from your modem) and one as your LAN (connected to your switch).
This is a great option for people who are interested in using pfSense with existing hardware.
Conclusion – Best pfSense Hardware
There is an endless amount of hardware that you can use pfSense on, but these are some of my personal favorites. Whether you want to purchase a stand-alone device or an individual NIC that will allow you to run pfSense as a virtual machine or on old hardware, you have tons of options.
Thanks for checking out the article on the best pfSense hardware. If you have any questions on the best pfSense hardware, please leave them in the comments!