I think many people like me have been eyeing these Chinese made small x86 boards as potential routers.

Well i decided to be one on the brave and give one a shot. I have not seen many posts discussing these so I decided to add my voice to the discussion.

Requirements

I wanted something small and quiet. An old pc would work fine but i would rather avoid the noise and power draw of one.

I just got a 1gb internet connection so this is going to be the most difficult challenge. I know that i won’t be able to add every rule and feature in and still expect to run at 1gbs. But I am hopefully going to be able to maintain a reasonable throughput.

I will be running pfsense and hopefully some additional plugins.

The hardware

QOTOM-Q190G4-S02 2016

  • Onboard CPU: Intel Celeron Processor J1900 Quad-Core 2M Cache, 2 GHz, up to 2.42 GHz
  • Power Consumption: 10W
  • Memory: 1 x Memory Slot, Support 2G/4G/8GB 1333/1600MHz DDR3 SO-DIMM Memory
  • Hard drive: 1 x mSATA SSD slot;1 x SATA HDD Slot
  • LAN: 4 x RJ-45 port – 4* Intel WG82583 – 10/100/1000 Controller

Kingston Digital 60GB SSD mSATA (6Gbps)

Crucial 8GB Single DDR3L 1600 MT/s (PC3L-12800) SODIMM

Both the SSD and ram are over specked for this build. But the price was right so the extra over head is nice to have.

Build

As simple as it can be open up the box and slot in the SSD and ram.

You can use a 2.5″ Sata Drive if you would like. But I went with a mSATA.

The single Dimm slot maxing out at 8Gbs is a limitation. But for PFsense this should not be an issue.

Installing pfsense

Again a very simple the NICs show up as expected and install went smooth.

Configuration

My isp centurylink uses both a ppoe username/password and a vlan tag on their routers. I could have set up that router to pass through to my router. But no reason to add an extra box if I don’t need to.

Additionally I have installed pfBlockerNG and pulled in some of lists. I am planning to do some more extensive things latter, But started easy.

Performance tests

I did test to some online tests but I wanted a cleaner test.

For anyone looking to test a Gig internet connection I have found DSL reports to have the best one that I have used.

I ran Iperf3 between to systems one inside the firewall one out. This is not a perfect test But I wanted to ensure that I can get the raw through put.

I was easily able to put 900mbs through the Firewall. I will want to keep an eye on this as I add more and more services but this is sufficient for my goals.

Conclusions

I am really happy with this setup. It is inexpensive silent and small.

For anyone that has been eyeing these types of boards this is an good choice.