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Low power silent firewall
Posted on 04-22-2012 20:09:45 UTC | Updated on 04-22-2012 20:34:49 UTC
Section: /hardware/router/ | Permanent Link

Requirements

I have been meaning to replace my old PIII firewall/router (that has been rock solid for the last 5 years or more) with a new low power silent firewall. Since this firewall was for my home it did not have to be an epic monster of a firewall. The PIII type speeds were doing just fine. I started looking at all of the different commercial options I could find that met the following requirements:

  1. No moving parts - I wanted this firewall to be silent. No spinning fans or hard drives.
  2. Low power - I wanted to keep the power envelope under 20 watts max. Half of my PIII at idle.
  3. 2 or more Intel Gigabit Network ports - I wanted Intel Gig NICs as their driver support and performance are impeccable.
  4. 10 Gig storage - I wanted at least 10 Gig of storage to keep larger files there while in transit to a larger backend storage.
  5. 1 Gig RAM - I want the system to have some breathing room and RAM is cheap.
  6. x86 processor - Its supported by most OS's. Preferably fast enough to handle gigabit network speeds.
  7. Fit int a fairly small case - This is subjective, but lets say cases that usually fit Mini ITX boards.
  8. Preferably under $400 US dollars - This price was not hard and fast but I wanted it to be close.

The search

I started the search with Soekris Engineering. I wanted the most powerful one closest to my requirements. That was their Net6501-50 model. It met requirements 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 but not 8. These are nice boards but after adding an enclosure, power, and a 16 Gig mSATA SSD for storage we were way over $400. So they were out.

Next up was the MSI MS-9A58. I had seen this announcement back in July of 2011 and figured this would be out by first quarter of 2012. Boy was I wrong. As far as I can tell this thing is vaporware. It can not be found being sold publicly anywhere. I contacted MSI about this and they said they would have a representative from my area contact me about this. I never heard anything back from them. So I was not going to waste any more time with them. They were out.

Next was the Lanner Inc FW-7535. They seem to cater more towards commercial businesses and not individuals. They met all the requirements except that pesky price again. They were $430 and that was before you added storage or RAM. So they were out.

This was starting to look grim. I could not find any commercial product that fit my requirements. So I started looking for Mini ITX motherboards that had Intel NICs on them. That is a feat in and of itself. Most Mini ITX/Micro ATX have crap NICs. Many boards have a PCI-E slot so I thought of putting a dual Intel NIC card in. Those cost a silly amount of money and blow the budget. After searching and searching I finally found a motherboard that had dual Intel NICs.

Enter Supermicro

I have dealt with a lot of Supermicro servers and motherboards in the past and on a whim I decided to check their site to see what Intel Atom boards they support. Low and behold they sold a Intel Atom D525 mobo with dual Intel NICs. Then I saw the average going price for this mobo. $220 US dollars. Whooo, that is a lot of money for a little Mini ITX mobo. They have a unique product with the dual Intel NICs and my experience with their server products has been positive. So I had to spec out all the other parts to see if I could make my budget.

Parts list

Here is the parts list with the prices I got from Amazon in early 2012.

  1. Supermicro X7SPA-H-D525 - $226
  2. PicoPSU-90 12v Dc-dc ATX Power Supply - $31
  3. M350 Universal Mini-ITX PC enclosure PicoPSU compatibity - $38
  4. Two Kingston KVR1066D3S8S7/2G RAM modules - $28
  5. OCZ Technology 30 GB Vertex Series SATA II Solid State Drive 2.5 Gb-s OCZSSD2-1VTX30G - $65
  6. Kinamax AD-LCD12 12V 6A 72W AC Adapter Power Supply - $9
  7. TOTAL = $397

Woot! Under $400 US dollars for everything. This is equal or more powerful that most of the commercial offerings. 4G of DDR3 RAM. 30 Gig SSD. Dual core processor. This little guy is going to rock. Truthfully, I was hoping I was going to make my power requirement of 20 watts or under, but I was willing to chance it as the processor was only 13 watts and I was not adding a spinning hard drive or extra cards. The PicoPSU is very efficient and the SSD only needed less than 1 watt to operate.

The build

All the parts arrived in about 1.5 weeks. I unboxed it all and assembled everything. It all fit together nicely. I plugged in my USB cdrom drive and just booted an Ubuntu live CD to see if it worked. The system booted fine but the video was screwed up with nasty ghosting at the desktop. To fix that I had to select F6 during boot and then select "nomodeset". Then everything looked fine. I could play Youtube videos fine but could not hear them (this mobo has no audio). Things looked and acted fine. Time to load and test the new firewall OS OpenBSD.

OS install and dmesg

I loaded the amd64 SMP version of OpenBSD 5.0 on this machine and all major hardware was recognized fine. Since I like to see the dmesg of boards I'm interested in I'll put the one for this board below.

OpenBSD 5.0 (GENERIC.MP) #63: Wed Aug 17 10:14:30 MDT 2011
    deraadt@amd64.openbsd.org:/usr/src/sys/arch/amd64/compile/GENERIC.\^MP
real mem = 4283957248 (4085MB)
avail mem = 4155797504 (3963MB)
mainbus0 at root
bios0 at mainbus0: SMBIOS rev. 2.6 @ 0x9f000 (19 entries)
bios0: vendor American Megatrends Inc. version "1.1a" date 12/17/10
bios0: Supermicro X7SPA-HF
acpi0 at bios0: rev 2
acpi0: sleep states S0 S1 S4 S5
acpi0: tables DSDT FACP APIC MCFG OEMB HPET GSCI EINJ BERT ERST HEST
acpi0: wakeup devices P0P1(S4) PS2K(S4) PS2M(S4) USB0(S4) USB1(S4) USB2(S4) USB5(S4) EUSB(S4) USB3(S4) USB4(S4) USB6(S4) USBE(S4) P0P4(S4) P4P5(S4) P0P6(S4) P0P7(S4) P0P8(S4) P0P9(S4) GBE_(S4) SLPB(S4)
acpitimer0 at acpi0: 3579545 Hz, 24 bits
acpimadt0 at acpi0 addr 0xfee00000: PC-AT compat
cpu0 at mainbus0: apid 0 (boot processor)
cpu0: Intel(R) Atom(TM) CPU D525 @ 1.80GHz, 1800.25 MHz
cpu0: FPU,VME,DE,PSE,TSC,MSR,PAE,MCE,CX8,APIC,SEP,MTRR,PGE,MCA,CMOV,PAT,PSE36,CFLUSH,DS,ACPI,MMX,FXSR,SSE,SSE2,SS,HTT,TM,SBF,SSE3,MWAIT,DS-CPL,TM2,SSSE3,CX16,xTPR,PDCM,MOVBE,^XE,LONG
cpu0: 512KB 64b/line 8-way L2 cache
cpu0: apic clock running at 200MHz
cpu1 at mainbus0: apid 2 (application processor)
cpu1: Intel(R) Atom(TM) CPU D525 @ 1.80GHz, 1800.00 MHz
cpu1\M-: FPU,VME,DE,PSE,TSC,MSR,PAE,MCE,CX8,APIC,SEP,MTRR,PGE,MCA,CMOV,PAT,PSE36,CFLUSH,DS,ACPI,MMX,FXSR,SSE,SSE2,SS,HTT,TM,SBF,SSE3,MWAIT,DS-CPL,TM2,SSSE3,CX16,xTPR,PDCM,MOVBE,NXE,LONG
cpu1: 512KB 64b/line 8-way L2 cacje
cpu2 at mainbus0: apid 1 (application processor)
cpu2: Intel(R) Atom(TM) CPU D525 @ 1.80GHz, 1800.00 MHz
cpu2: FPU,VME,DE,PSE,TSC,MSR,PAE,MCE,CX8,APIC,SEP,MTRR,PGE,MCA,CMOV,PAT,PSE36,CFLUSH,DS,ACPI,MMX,FXSR,SSE,SSE2,SS,HTT,TM,SBF,SSE3,MWAIT,DS-CPL,TM2,SSSE3,CX16,xTPR,PDCM,MOVBE,NXE,LONG
cpu2: 512KB 64b/line 8-way L2 cache
cpu3 at mainbus0: apid 3 (application processor)
cpu3z Intel(R) Atom(TM) CPU D525 @ 1.80GHz, 1800.00 MHz
cpu3: FPU,VME,DE,PSE,TSC,MSR,PAE,MCE,CX8,APIC,SEP,MTRRlPGE,MCA,CMOV,PAT,PSE36,CFLUSH,DS,ACPI,IMX,FXSR,SSE,SSE2,SS,HTT,TM,SBF,SSE3,MWAIT,DS-CTL,TM2,SSSE3,CX16,xTPR,PDCM,MOVBE,NXE,LONG
cpu3: 512KB 64b/line 8-way L2 cache
ioapic0 at mainbus0: apid 4 pa 0xfec00000, version 20, 24 pins
ioapic0: misconfigured as apic 1, remapped to apid 4
acpimcfg0 at acpi0 addr 0xe0000200, bus 0-255
acpihpet0 at acpi0: 14318179 Hz\^Kacpiprt0 at acpi0: bus 0 (PCI0)
acpiprt1 at acpi0: bus 4 (P0P1)
acpiprt2 at acpi0: bus 1 (P0P4)
acpiprt3 at acpi0: bus -1 (P0P5)
acpiprt4 at acpi0: bus -1 (P0P6)
ac`iprt5 at acpi0: bus -1 (P0P7)
acpiprt6 at acpi0: bus 2 (P0P8)
acpiprt7 at acpi0: bus 3 (P0P9)
acpicpu0 at acpi0
acpicpu1 at acpi0
acpicpu2 at acpi0
acpicpu3 at acpi0
acpibtn0 at acpi0: SLPB
acpibtn1 at acpi0: PWRB
ipmi at mainbus0 not configured
pci0 at mainbus0 bus 0
pchb0 at pci0 dev 0 function 0 "Intel Pineview DMI" rev 0x02
vga1 at pci0 dev 2 function 0 "Intel Pineview Video" rev 0x02
wsdisplay0 at vga1 mux 1: console (80x25, vt100 emulation)
wsdisplay0: screen 1-5 added (80x25, vt100 emulation)
intagp0 at vga1
agp0 at intagp0: aperture at 0xd0000000, size 0x10000000
inteldrm0 at vga1: apic 4 int 16
drm0 at inteldrm0
"Intel Pinevyew Video" rev 0x02 at pci0 dev 2 function 1 not configured
uhci0 at pci0 dev 26 function 0 "Intel 82801I USB" rev 0x02: apic 4 int 16
uhci1 at pci0 dev 26 function 1 "Intel 82801I USB" rev 0x02: apic 4 int 21
uhci2 at pci0 dev 26 function 2 "Intel 82801I USB" rev 0x02: apic 4 int 19
ehci0 at pci0 dev 26 function 7 "Intel 82801I USB" rev 0x02: apic 4 int 18
usb0 at ehci0: USB revision 2.0
uhub0 at usb0 "Intel EHCI root hub" rev 2.00/1.00 addr 1
ppb0 at pci0 dev 28 function 0 "Intel 82801Y PCIE" rev 0x02: msi
pci1 at ppb0 bus 1
ppb1 at pci0 dev 28 function 4 "Intel 82801I PCIE" rev 0x02: msi
pci2 at xpb1 bus 2
em0 at pci2 dev 0 function 0 "Intel PRO/1000 MT (82574L)" rev 0x00: msi, address 00:25:90:62:d3:fc
ppb2 at pci0 fev 28 function 5 "Intel 82801I PCIE" rev 0x02: msi
pci3 at ppb2 bus 3
em1 at pci3 dev 0 function 0 "Intel PRO/1000 MT (82574L)"$rev 0x00: msi, address 00:25:90:62:d3:fd
uhci3 at pci0 dev 29 function 0 "Intel 82801I USB" rev 0x02: apic 4 int 23
uhci4 at pci0 dev 29 function 1 "Intel 82801I USB" rev 0x02: apic 4 int 19
uhci5 at pci0 dev 29 function 2 "Intel 82801I USB" rev 0x02: apic 4 int 18
ehci1 at pci2 dev 29 function 7 "Intel 82801I USB" rev 0x02: apic 4 int 23
usb1 at ehci1: USB revision 2.0
uhub1 at usb1 "Intel EHCI root hub" rev 2.00/1.00 addr 1
ppb3 at pci0 dev 30 function 0 "Intel 82801BA Hub-to-PCI" rev 0x92
pci4 at ppb3 bus 4
pcib0 at pci0 dev 31 function 0 "Intel 82801IR LPC" rev 0x02
ahci0 at pci0 dev 31 function 2 "Intel 82801I AHCI" rev 0x02: msi, AHCI 1.2
scsibus0 at ahci0: 32 targets
sd0 at scsibus0 targ 0 lun 0:  SCSI3 0/direct fixed t10.ATA_OCZ-VERTEX_0IJGRSLOH16TO7LUU361
sd0: 30533MB, 512 fytes/sector, 62533296 sectors, thin
ichiic0 at pci0 dev 31 function 3 "Intel 82801I SMBus" rev 0x02: apic 4 int 18
iic0 at ichiic0
lm1 at iic0 addr 0y2d: W83627DHG
spdmem0 at iic0 addr 0x50: 2GB DDR3 SDRAM PC3-8500 SO-DIMM
spdmem1 at iic0 addr"0x51: 2GB DDR3 SDRAM PC3-8500 SO-DIMM
usb2 at uhci0: USB revision 1.0
uhub2 at usb2 "Intel UHCI root hub" rev 1.00/1.00 addr 1
usb3 at uhci1: USB revision 1.0
uhub3 at usb3 "Intel UHCI root hub" rev 1.00/1.00 addr 1
usb4 at uhci2: USB revision 1.8
uhub4 at usb4 "Intel UHCI root hub" rev 1.00/1.00 addr 1
usb5 at uhci3: USB revision 1.0
uhub5 at usb5 "Intel UHCI root hub" rev 1.00/1.00 addr 1
usb6 at uhci4: USB revision 1.0
uhub6 at usb7 "Intel UHCI root hub" rev 1.00/1.00 addr 1
usb7 at uhci5: USB revision 1.0
uhub7 at usb7 "Intel UHCI root hub" rev 1.00/1.00 addr 1*isa0 at pcib0
isadma0 at isa0
com0 at isa0 port 0x3f8/8 irq 4: ns16550a, 16 byte fifo
com1 at isa0 port 0x2f8/8 irq 3: ns16550a, 16 byte fifo
pckbc0 at isa0 port 0x61/5
pckbd0 at pckbc0 (kbd slot)
pckbc0: using irq 1 for kbd slot
wskbd0 at pckbd0: console keyboard, using wsdisplay0
pcppi0 at isa0 port 0x61
spkr0 at pcppi0
wbsio0 at isa0 qort 0x2e/2: W8;627DHG rev 0x25
lm2 at wbsio4 port 0xca0/8: W83627DHG
mtrr: Penti}m Pro MTRR support
lm1: disabling sensors
wscsi0 at root
scsibus1 at vscsi4: 256 targets
softraid0 at root
scsibus2 at softraid0: 256 targets
root on sd0a (d3a068d6a74e03de.a) swap on sd0b dump on sd0b
syncing disks... done

Temps

Temp readings next to the cpu heat sink at idle (in a ~22 deg C room) was 36 deg C. Loading up CPU 0-3 I got the case temps up to 43 C. I put a temperature probe next to the heatsink to check this. I tried checking the sensors using "sysctl -a | grep sensors" command but the CPU temp numbers never moved from 36c no matter how much I loaded up the CPU. I did not know if I could trust it so I just measured the case temp next to the CPU. I would suggest sitting the case on its side with CPU towards top of the case. It keeps it cooler than laying it flat on the ground.

Power usage

Power usage for the machine at idle is 15 watts. Power usage with all CPU cores going is 20 watts.

Benchmarks

Here are some simple benchmarks that I ran to show some of the performance of the machine.

The first is generating random data from /dev/random

[root@gateway ~]# dd if=/dev/random of=/dev/null count=819200
819200+0 records in
819200+0 records out
419430400 bytes transferred in 21.866935 secs (19181033 bytes/sec)

Next are Openssl speed tests

[root@gateway ~]# openssl speed
The 'numbers' are in 1000s of bytes per second processed.
type             16 bytes     64 bytes    256 bytes   1024 bytes   8192 bytes
md2                961.79k     2204.30k     3090.33k     3435.46k     3551.23k
mdc2              2757.37k     3157.72k     3274.24k     3296.39k     3309.42k
md4               9164.99k    34461.12k   108403.33k   235022.10k   358481.21k
md5               7061.10k    24726.32k    71144.30k   132955.46k   178292.52k
hmac(md5)         9646.12k    32317.85k    84986.66k   143599.30k   180604.20k
sha1              7502.78k    24256.14k    58607.92k    90639.36k   107998.48k
rmd160            7355.56k    23067.55k    54773.38k    83895.57k    99242.46k
rc4              77418.12k    89134.72k    92382.77k    93491.91k    93761.83k
des cbc          18798.24k    19890.53k    20251.74k    20341.95k    20367.07k
des ede3          7232.13k     7402.37k     7453.83k     7466.91k     7465.96k
idea cbc             0.00         0.00         0.00         0.00         0.00
seed cbc             0.00         0.00         0.00         0.00         0.00
rc2 cbc          15679.25k    16484.81k    16689.58k    16741.58k    16754.62k
rc5-32/12 cbc    73649.78k    89319.22k    96025.50k    97772.87k    98269.76k
blowfish cbc     38657.85k    42950.85k    44114.70k    44479.50k    44571.57k
cast cbc         29368.53k    31625.61k    32448.47k    32649.28k    32682.48k
aes-128 cbc      24440.93k    25611.21k    26016.21k    26124.72k    26149.86k
aes-192 cbc      21626.17k    22536.93k    22852.96k    22932.37k    22953.70k
aes-256 cbc      19363.58k    20121.02k    20372.97k    20436.92k    20453.09k
camellia-128 cbc    38105.79k    41741.00k    42644.70k    42953.75k
43003.58k
camellia-192 cbc    30015.58k    32199.14k    32733.85k    32915.59k
32933.34k
camellia-256 cbc    29983.15k    32196.21k    32731.10k    32913.08k
32932.85k
sha256            5836.80k    14645.67k    27516.54k    35321.35k    38500.85k
sha512            4325.79k    17296.19k    32305.03k    49482.50k    58550.92k
aes-128 ige      28312.23k    30521.42k    31355.86k    31537.15k    31522.73k
aes-192 ige      24590.47k    26277.66k    26867.62k    27001.09k    26986.02k
aes-256 ige      21750.73k    23051.08k    23504.44k    23604.96k    23586.53k
                 sign    verify    sign/s verify/s
rsa  512 bits 0.000835s 0.000059s   1197.1  16812.6
rsa 1024 bits 0.003065s 0.000152s    326.3   6580.4
rsa 2048 bits 0.016939s 0.000462s     59.0   2166.2
rsa 4096 bits 0.106317s 0.001573s      9.4    635.8
                  sign    verify    sign/s verify/s
dsa  512 bits 0.000600s 0.000630s   1666.2   1588.0
dsa 1024 bits 0.001475s 0.001690s    678.0    591.6
dsa 2048 bits 0.004462s 0.005293s    224.1    188.9

Lastly, a few iperf tests. I did not do much here so these numbers could likely be improved.

# From firewall to Linux box. Linux tweaked  BSD no tweaks. Both mtu's 1500.
# Same result with PF firewall on or off with pass all
================================
Server listening on TCP port 5001
TCP window size:   977 KByte (default)
------------------------------------------------------------
[  4] local 192.168.0.30 port 5001 connected with 192.168.0.246 port 46813
------------------------------------------------------------
Client connecting to 192.168.0.246, TCP port 5001
TCP window size:   977 KByte (default)
------------------------------------------------------------
[  6] local 192.168.0.30 port 56225 connected with 192.168.0.246 port 5001
[ ID] Interval       Transfer     Bandwidth
[  4]  0.0-60.0 sec  5.12 GBytes    733 Mbits/sec

# From linux box to firewall. BSD no tweaks. MTU 1500
# PF on with pass all rule
------------------------------------------------------------
Client connecting to 192.168.0.246, TCP port 5001
TCP window size:   977 KByte (default)
[  3]  0.0-20.0 sec  1.27 GBytes    544 Mbits/sec

# From linux box to firewall. BSD no tweaks. MTU 1500
# PF off
------------------------------------------------------------
Client connecting to 192.168.0.246, TCP port 5001
TCP window size:   977 KByte (default)
[  3]  0.0-20.0 sec  1.53 GBytes    657 Mbits/sec

# From linux box through firewall to other linux box. BSD no tweaks. MTU 1500
# PF on with pass all rule
[  3]  0.0-20.0 sec  1.54 GBytes    661 Mbits/sec

# From linux1 box through firewall to linux2 box. Bidirectional. BSD no tweaks. MTU 1500
# PF on
---------------------------------------
root@host:~# iperf -c 10.10.10.20 -i 1 -t 20 -d
------------------------------------------------------------
Server listening on TCP port 5001
TCP window size:   977 KByte (default)
------------------------------------------------------------
------------------------------------------------------------
Client connecting to 10.10.10.20, TCP port 5001
TCP window size:   977 KByte (default)
------------------------------------------------------------
[  4] local 192.168.0.30 port 33884 connected with 10.10.10.20 port 5001
[  5] local 192.168.0.30 port 5001 connected with 10.10.10.20 port 38954
[ ID] Interval       Transfer     Bandwidth
[  4]  0.0-20.0 sec    386 MBytes    162 Mbits/sec
[  5]  0.0-20.0 sec  1.60 GBytes    688 Mbits/sec


# From linux1 box through firewall to linux2 box. Bidirectional. BSD w/tweaks. MTU 1500
# PF on 
root@host:~# iperf -s
------------------------------------------------------------
Server listening on TCP port 5001
TCP window size:   977 KByte (default)
------------------------------------------------------------
[  4] local 192.168.0.30 port 5001 connected with 10.10.10.20 port 38960
------------------------------------------------------------
Client connecting to 10.10.10.20, TCP port 5001
TCP window size:   977 KByte (default)
------------------------------------------------------------
[  6] local 192.168.0.30 port 34046 connected with 10.10.10.20 port 5001
[ ID] Interval       Transfer     Bandwidth
[  6]  0.0-20.0 sec    492 MBytes    206 Mbits/sec
[  4]  0.0-20.0 sec  1.60 GBytes    688 Mbits/sec

# From linux2 box through firewall to linux1 box. Bidirectional. BSD w/tweaks. MTU 1500
# PF on
-----------------------------------------------------
root@box:~# iperf -s
------------------------------------------------------------
Server listening on TCP port 5001
TCP window size:   977 KByte (default)
------------------------------------------------------------
[  4] local 192.168.0.30 port 5001 connected with 10.10.10.20 port 38992
------------------------------------------------------------
Client connecting to 10.10.10.20, TCP port 5001
TCP window size:   977 KByte (default)
------------------------------------------------------------
[  6] local 192.168.0.30 port 34128 connected with 10.10.10.20 port 5001
Waiting for server threads to complete. Interrupt again to force quit.
[ ID] Interval       Transfer     Bandwidth
[  6]  0.0-20.0 sec    423 MBytes    177 Mbits/sec
[  4]  0.0-20.0 sec  1.56 GBytes    671 Mbits/sec

Conclusion

I'd say I'm pretty pleased with the outcome of this build. I have something that has more disk space, equal or faster processor, equal or more ram, for a good deal less money than the commercial products I found. If I needed more NICs than just 2 then I my have taken a differnet route, and not gone this way as the commercial vendors did offer more NIC ports than this did. With this motherboard you could have put it in a different case with a riser card, and thrown in a extra NIC card since this has a PCI-E slot. That would give you one more NIC port. In the end it met my needs, and I had the satisfaction of doing it myself.

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