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nexusN
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Hi everybody,

I live in HK and some ISP provides 1000Mbps broadband, recently I have upgraded to one of them.
On testing the throughput, directly connect my server to the modem, I can get the speed reach 900Mbps, which is pretty good.

While after passing through my router, Buffalo WZR-HP-G300NH, it drops to only 130Mbps.
This is understandable as I have studied a bit for the capability of router handling a large bandwidth, so I actually planned to build my a X86 router for the job.

As planned, my router will be using either Atom D525(D2700 if available in a short moment) or AMD E-350 as CPU which is embedded onboard;
together with the lan port with Realtek controller, additionally an Intel Pro 1000 CT will be installed; RAM will be 2 or 4GB depends on budget; WiFi will be settled by using an USB WiFi adapter.

However, I do not know if the above set up would really suffice the need.
I have discussed with my friends that they guarantee the above set up will be enough, but rarely I can see someone testing this bandwidth on a X86 router.
Also, which router software is suggested? I heard MikroTik RouterOS is one of the best available but it costs, I want to suppress the cost of the router to <$179 USD.
Reading from m0n0wall's doc, it won't use more than 64MB RAM on my regardless of loading.......will this be an issue at all?
Recently I planned to give ClearOS a shot, do you have any idea on its possible performance?

The spec maybe as below(subjected to change as none was bought except the NIC)

CPU : Intel Atom D525/D2700/Celeron G440
Ram : Kingston DDR3 1333 2G~4GB
Storage : Flash Drive/Harddisk
NIC : Using Atom boards-Realtek 8111X, Using Intel H61 Board-Intel 82579V; and another Intel Pro 1000 CT

If you have more ideas on the spec, please feel free to let us know.

Thank you so much for your attention.

*This post was first made on Anandtech forums, after the reminder of the members, I realize that I should ask it on a more suitable location like a Router OS community, thus forwarded here. You may refer to the below link for some previous discussion, thank you.
http://forums.anandtech.com/showthread.php?t=2207926
Tuesday, November 29 2011, 07:15 AM
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  • Accepted Answer

    easyspot
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    Saturday, December 10 2011, 07:02 AM - #Permalink
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    About WinSCP, yeah it used alot of cpu resources that's why I use it to see wattage coz WinSCP will force CPU to work at peak load. I also use WinSCP for transfering critical files coz they guarantee no error on transmitting, while FTP n Samba may have error.

    About wireless, never use PC to work as wireless coz PC use CISC architecture (eat alot of power, high throughput need fast processor, n of course having more troubles). Better buy branded wireless since they use RISC architecture so you can get better throughput n stability. Consider to buy TP-Link products then load DD-WRT to replace original firmware. TP-Link boards always provide JTAG connection so in case if u make your hardware brick, u can easily reprogram using USB to JTAG.

    Note that u can never beat RISC performance since they need less power, lower processor speed, less memory, but having so high performance :D
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    Monday, December 05 2011, 05:35 PM - #Permalink
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    For wireless the currently recommended option is to use a WAP or WiFi-Router (cabled to a LAN port with DHCP turned off) as an access point. Hopefully this will improve with 6.1.
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    nexusN
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    Monday, December 05 2011, 04:34 PM - #Permalink
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    Thank you for your information on 82579,
    then it will be feasible to do with the new H61 boards.

    For CPU, 240e is a lower power CPU, while it doesn't contain the IGP, taking it into account it should not be making great difference from G530 in power consumption, while on processing power G530 does look a bit better.
    It would be perfect if there can be a G530T for the purpose, while I don't know why we haven't seen it since 3Q11 it was announced.

    For Wireless, I have also gone through some posts in Clear Community as well as pfsense's, it seems wireless is not very mature as a part of x86 router, and there will be much to be done before I can get it working, using the existing router, connecting it to the x86 router, as a portal will be the most painless solution.
    Luckily, I have deployed a few 10 Meters Cat 6 cables, so at the moment all my devices are corded and I can leave the wireless adapters later. :lol:
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    Sunday, December 04 2011, 03:45 PM - #Permalink
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    I'd probably go for a 240e rather than 240 as it has a lower TDP to start for a similar processor power with but otherwise I'm pretty much with you.

    I missed your WinSCP comment, but it is not the fastest way to transfer files because there is a big encryption/decryption overhead. For big files you're better off with FTP or Samba, and if you use Samba to Windoze, it is best with a Win7 machine due to a much better TCP/IP stack. I nearly doubled my transfer speed when I went from WinXP to Win7. I'm also hoping Samba 3.6 will improve things again with the smb2 protocol.
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    easyspot
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    Sunday, December 04 2011, 10:46 AM - #Permalink
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    Well about TDP... I tried to compare some processors:
    A Sempron 64 2500+ (1.4GHz) vs A Sempron 64 3000+ (1.8GHz) same TDP, same manufacturing process, but 3000+ ate more 3-5w at full load.
    A Regor x2 240 (2.8GHz) vs A Regor 260 (3.2GHz) also same TDP n manufacturing process, but 260 ate more about 4-8w at full load.
    Temperature depends on load. For me, TDP not important, just find as small as manufacturing process (higher speed at lower power n lower temp), then find lite mainboard (for networking purpose u wont use optical audio, HDMI, bluetooth, etc). Disable (at bios setup) all devices that u not using, to release IRQ, address, n sure will decrease power consumption :D
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    Sunday, December 04 2011, 09:34 AM - #Permalink
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    @easyspot,
    TDP still confuses me. I understand the definition, but I cannot reconcile it to the fact that a range of CPU's, say the Athlon X2 3600+ through to the 5400+ with clock speeds from 1.9GHz through to 2.8GHz can have the same TDP. Speed is generally related closely to power. What this indicates is that if you under-clock a 5400+ CPU from 2.9GHz to 1.9GHz it will use considerably less power than the 3600+ processor. As the processors have the same architecture (internal layout, manufacturing process etc) I find this hard to understand.
    The main things I did to reduce the overall power draw were to use a 2.5" disk, on-board graphics, no CD-ROM (except when required for installation) and a pico-PSU. One thing with PSU's, even the 80+ efficiency ones, is that their efficiency drops way down at very low power (say 10-20% of max) so a 450W PSU running at 7% wastes quite a lot of power in the overall power draw of the system. I used a 120W pico-PSU just so it could cope with the start-up power, but even that is generally running between 25-30% which is a bit better on the efficiency front.
    It is nice to have confirmation that you can get Gb throughput. I am jealous - very.

    @nexusN,
    There is one thread in this forum you may want to read about the 82579V where the O/P had to install his own driver. The process is pretty straightforward. Tim has precompiled kmod e1000e drivers here and they more recent than those referred to in the post.. It may just be the o/p had a problem with his board and it will be OK for you, but when you install, I'd make sure you had your second NIC installed at the same time to give you a good chance of LAN connectivity. If you don't have any LAN connectivity it is harder to upgrade the drivers.

    ClearOS 5.2 is not good for wireless. There are some posts on this forum but you'll need to track down how to configure it. You also need to ensure the wireless module supports master mode so it can be an access point. I believe 6.1 will have better wireless support but it is only in beta at the moment.
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  • Accepted Answer

    nexusN
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    Sunday, December 04 2011, 02:12 AM - #Permalink
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    Thank you all for your clarification on the TDP issue,
    I mentioned this as there acn be a comparison:
    ASUS RT-N56 seems to be able to do the same with a much less power consumption.

    If I am to build a router at last, the possible hardware could be as below:
    CPU : Intel® Celeron® Processor G530T
    MB : Intel® Desktop Board DH61DL, this board armed with an Intel® 82579V Gigabit Ethernet Controller
    RAM :Some Kingston DDR3 1333 2Gx2
    2nd NIC : Intel® Gigabit CT Desktop Adapter
    Chassis+PSU : Some 2 in 1 solution
    WIreless : Is it possible if I actually use Intel WiFi Link 6XXX Mini Card? This board has the slot.

    Any idea on the onboard NIC?
    Actually would it make a different for Intel and Realtek?
    Thank you.
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    easyspot
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    Sunday, December 04 2011, 12:16 AM - #Permalink
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    TDP is heat dissipation when loading at full speed. For router purpose it wont be needed to consider coz u can use coolnquiet or speedstep then u can see your heat n power consumption become so low. Note that processor speed not the most important for routing purpose, but bus speed n memory speed. If u really want powerful but average power then just use A regor x2 250 (2x3GHz), mb A785 (ob vga gbe), dual ch ddr3, then u can have so huge throughput. I used it n I can forward full gigabit output with less than 10% processor load. About power consumption, believe or not, only takes 51w with 1xhdd 1tb 7200rpm n 1x hdd 2tb 5900rpm. But it will take over 84w when transfering huge file using winscp (processor load so dam high).
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    Saturday, December 03 2011, 05:05 PM - #Permalink
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    All is not necessarily what it seems for TDP and I don't fully understand how it works as I don't see how a range of processors with different speeds share the same TDP, but........

    On my A 5050e based system the processor has a TDP of 45W, but I use the linux implementation of cool'n'quiet (cpuspeed) to limit what the processor is allowed to do. The maximum clock speed is 2.6GHz with available speeds of 2.6GHz, 2.4GHz, 2.2GHz, 2.0GHz, 1.8GHz and 1GHz. Cpuspeed will automatically drop to the minimum frequency when the full speed is not needed. I also limit it to 1.8GHz, but if I look at my stats, it rarely goes to 1.8GHz. This means my system (M/b with on-board graphics and LAN + Dual LAN PCI-E card + 2.5" SATA disk, pico-PSU, no CD-ROM) generally draws 30-35W which is way below the processor TDP. It boots at nearly 100W but settles right down as soon as cpuspeed kicks in and rarely ever steps up to 1.8GHz. Similarly in Tom's Hardware they have built an i5 system idling at 25w.

    Remember that with cpuspeed running the processor speed, and therefore power, will drop significantly when the router is not under load.

    I am still trying to work out if I can configure my system as multiwan to do a WAN-LAN through the firewall test. I am a bit wary as last time I fiddled round with the interfaces my default route disappeared and I struggled to get it going again. I would also need to work out how to get source based routes to work.
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    nexusN
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    Saturday, December 03 2011, 02:12 AM - #Permalink
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    Thanks for looking up and the suggestion,
    if so I may take Passmark also as a reference for capability.

    Actually It would be possible that I get a G530+H61 board for the CPU part as they are also not really expensive.
    The problem would be on the TDP, which is another quite critical point I am digging from Atom.

    Recently there is no T version of G530, and the ordinary G530 has a TDP of 65W, which pushed the system loading consumption to around 70-80W.
    This number doesn't look good for a router.........I am still waiting for something possible.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Friday, December 02 2011, 06:24 PM - #Permalink
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    It is relatively easy to test the Server-LAN performance using iperf which is what I measured. It is not quite LAN-LAN but does not use the firewall much. I guess you could measure the WAN-LAN performance one way by connection a PC to the WAN and another to the LAN. I'm not sure my other PC supports full Gb speeds as it uses a PCI LAN card and it will take me a while to reconfigure the network so it is not really on the cards for the moment.

    From my understanding the basic firewall has relatively little impact on throughput. The killers are the IDS/IPS and things like QoS. Anything which is processor intensive. That may also include the L7 filter as well but I don't know.

    I looked at the Passmark comparisons in your pfsense and my A 5050e has virtually twice the power of D525 and it's recent replacement, something like the 240e does even better. Following the logic of the pfsense thread, it should be able to cope with your required throughput and it is much cheaper than the i3. Unfortunately, without changing my network significantly I can't check.
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    nexusN
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    Friday, December 02 2011, 04:27 PM - #Permalink
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    Hi Nick,

    Thanks for the sharing,
    for Lan card, I am not so sure but probably I will get an onboard solution as well a PCI-E Intel CT,
    so maybe I have to study the driver.

    While for your speed, is it a LAN to LAN throughput?
    If so, that maybe a different story. Although I am not very familiar with the networking stuff, my experience told me LAN to LAN is much less demanding than WAN to LAN/LAN to WAN.
    For example, my Buffalo now in use can maintain throughput between my notebook and server for ~ 900Mbps,
    while when it comes to a WAN to LAN case, the throughput via router drops to smaller than 150Mbps.
    Even I directly connect my notebook to the modem, the speed won't exceed 500Mbps, only my server can actually fully utilize the bandwidth to push to 900Mbps.

    I say so as you mentioned that you are on a 10Mbps WAN, you may not be able to check the true capability of your x86 router.
    Still, I am looking for more ideas, actually from pfsense community, many mentioned that they have already discussed a lot on 1000Mbps router and ATOM won't have the job done:
    http://forum.pfsense.org/index.php?topic=43536.new;topicseen#new
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  • Accepted Answer

    Thursday, December 01 2011, 10:19 AM - #Permalink
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    If you have an r8111 based card you will need to use the r8168 drivers from Realtek (compile your own) or use Tim's pre-compiled kmod ones here.

    I also agree keep away from PCI cards and go for PCI-E because of the extra bandwidth on the bus. The R8111 is effectively an internal PCI-E.

    I am surprised at easyspot's speed issues and it could be an atom thing. My server is a clock limited A 5050e system, generally running at 1000MHz (but limited to 1800MHz) and like that my dual port PCI-E Intel card is able to support speeds at over 900Mbps using iperf (I can't remember the exact figure as I have not tested for a couple of years as it is comfortably faster than my LAN PC's disk so not a bottleneck). I have not tested my R8111 embedded card as I have a 10Mbps WAN connection which it can manage in its sleep.

    FWIW my clock limited A5050e with a dual port WAN card, 2.5" disk and pico-PSU generally runs at 30-35w. It boots at just under 100W until the speed limiting kicks in. I saw an article on SilentPCReview about a new i5 unit they built in a similar way and got to idle at under 25W, so you can build boxes with standard components to run at fairly low power with the advantage that they are mulit-core and fully x64 capable.
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  • Accepted Answer

    nexusN
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    Thursday, December 01 2011, 08:42 AM - #Permalink
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    Thank you for your sharing of 1000Mbps routing on Atom board, that is what I have been looking for.
    That's why I have to make it sure before any purchases, although so many people do think that Atom or E-350 will be enough, the story is not necessarily as thought.

    If I am to build the router, it must be able to fully utilize the bandwidth or it would be a waste of time and money, thank you for pointing out the capability!
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    easyspot
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    Thursday, December 01 2011, 08:27 AM - #Permalink
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    About E350, it wont work with ClearOS 5.2 coz lack of drivers.
    About D525, it's connected to onboard PCIe Realtek 8111 but becoz its atom, low internal transport system, u wont have full 1000mbps. U cant even reach 800mbps. In my test, I can only get around 600-700mbps at onboard PCIe, and I cant even get 600mbps at PCI Intel GBe. If u make it working together, 1 as input, the other as output, u can see so dam low throughput with intel atom boards. So my opinion is, forget atom unless u really want low power instead of speed :D
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  • Accepted Answer

    Thursday, December 01 2011, 04:26 AM - #Permalink
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    I'm not an expert on this stuff, but if your second NIC is not in a PCI-Express slot (or embedded onto the board with access to the PCI-E bus) I think your performance will suffer.
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