[Guide] JDM's Mini-ITX pfSense builds

Hey guys, I’m new to all of this, so is this just basically a router replacement? And I would need to add wireless to it in one form or another.

I’ve just had buying my own modem and router on my list of things to do and I came across this topic.

Yup, it’s just a router! If you need more wired ports, you can add what we call a “dumb” switch, like these:

As for wifi, you’d just add a dedicated access point. Most of us here are fans of Ubiquiti APs, here are a few common examples:

Or, as an alternative, you can turn off DHCP on your wireless router that’s being replaced by pfSense, and turn it into an AP.

Edit: Also, if you need a dedicated modem…

You can also find a little more info here (pfSense hasn’t yet been added to this list):Network — Serverbuilds.net


is this just basically a router replacement?

“router” is a very broad term…

It would be more apt to call this an Enterprise Router… most routers can’t do the stuff this one can, and even the ones that come close to the same feature set usually bring your network to it’s knees trying to enable the features you asked for … like vpns, encryption, add blocking, and qos.

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True. And I probably won’t need 80% of it. But it’s basically the same price point for this as opposed to buying a higher end Netgear or whatever and this will blow that away, so why not? Does that make sense?

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Yes, it makes complete sense. Also, if you want to save a couple of bucks, get one of these boxes, like the 6630G…

Thanks for another excellent build guide. I now have the anniversary build and the pfsense build, perhaps I should just defer all future builds to JDM.

I purchased:

  • Intel DQ77KB - ebay $37
  • i5 3470T - ebay $29
  • 4gb RAM - ebay $6
  • 120w 19v DC PSU - ebay $23
  • 60gb msata - amazon $19
  • case Goodisory Tempered Glass - amazon $49

Total: $163 shipped

It occurs to me I’m missing a CPU cooler writing this. All things considered though that $150 price point is a nice sweet spot and I should be able to route my AT&T gigabit WAN connection without too much issue and stay around 10-15w most of the time. Nice!


That’s a lot of pressure, but I’m happy to help however I can! :slight_smile:

Also, the CPU cooler should be listed in the original guide, post #1.

added some photos to my OPNsense build above… the firewall is up, old router now configured as an AP. I still haven’t found the right case for it but have a temporary workaround in place. Maybe I’ll build my own test bench box.

I did want to make sure everyone building one of these got the warning about not updating your bios if you want to use the red nic.

IMO that ^ is the perfect case for this project… but it’s in the uk and not cheap… someone stop me.

Hey all… I’m working on building one of these. Curious if anybody has the full-height IO Shield and would be willing to part with it? I’d be happy to pay, of course!

They are back up on eBay now…

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I don’t use I/O shields on mine… not worth the cost.

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Yeah, $11 on ebay seems pretty steep!!

can get 10 for 50 and give them away as Christmas presents…


I’m getting an error when trying to install pfSense. It gets to the section after the disk partition where the progress bar is loading, when it finishes I get “The checksum for base.txz does not match. It may have become corrupted, and should be re downloaded.” I did validate the checksum of the downloaded file, which was fine. I used rufus to write the .img file to a 1GB usb stick. Any ideas what might be happening?

The first thing I would try is a different USB stick

Yeah… that did it! Thank you!!! I’ll prepare a build-complete post probably tomorrow evening!

Do I need to disable the ethernet port of the Acer SFF to use the NIC? Getting the cable modem turned on by the cable company now so I’ll be starting in on my pfsense and ubiquity setup shortly.

No, you can use the onboard or the NIC. They should all show in pfSense setup.

Ok, thanks. Modem is up and running, Ubiquiti AP is installed, now to figure out how to get them all working together.