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Can a laptop emulate a 2 NIC box?


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I have an old laptop (originally running Windows Vista, updated to Windows 8.1) which has (as usual) just one Ethernet port. Can I plug in a USB-to-Ethernet adapter to get a second Ethernet port? I am thinking of repurposing it to a router box, what are my chances of success?

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Yes, pfSense does have a very nice web ui.  I typically hook up a monitor/keyboard to set it up, and then it runs headless, sometimes for a couple years before I need to redo something.

 

I thought Untangle was a bit more needy of RAM than pfSense, so hadn't thought of using an old laptop for it, but it's not something I've researched. 

 

I'm pretty happy with my current (3yo) setup, but that's an Intel motherboard with a Celeron, 8GB of RAM and two Intel gigabit NICs.

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Untangle's smallest hardware appliance has 1GB of RAM. My current rig has 1.5GB of RAM, but if I install all 25 available apps, then the rig stutters. I have already uninstalled 6 apps which functionality I certainly don't want (I have to be productive, after all) and there is no stutter, but the rig is slow to respond to control changes (throughput is not a problem).

 

What I am trying to do these days is to get adequate protection with the 9 free apps which is half the number of the currently installed apps. The old laptop has 4GB of RAM which is almost three times that of my current rig, so that may work, we'll see :)

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I guess it's a pretty cheap solution to try out, as there are plenty of USB NICs in the $10-20 range on Amazon.  Is Untangle picky about the brand of NIC?

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That's exactly what I don't know, hence my original post. I should perhaps lurk over at the Untangle forum.

 

I am still evaluating paid apps vs free apps (like Web Filter vs Web Filter Lite) on my present rig. Spent zero dollars so far in the free trial and I am liking the rig so far  :)

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It looks like a USB NIC may/would incur installing the right Linux driver for the right device - for simplicity sake, I'll just stick with my present test rig for some time to come :)

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  • 4 months later...

I found a some belkin branded USB NICs that do work with pfSense. I don't have the actual chip that's used in them off hand, but they are on the OpenBSD hardware compatibility list. If you're interested, PM me and I'll check.

 

I used them initially to add interfaces so that I could separate out WAN/LAN/DMZ/Lab networks. The USB NICs did work, but they weren't stable. They'd periodically drop out for long enough to interrupt TCP connections. In the end I bought a smart switch and started using vLANs.

 

So, in my view, not recommended. :/

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