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How to assemble a low cost firewall with professional capabilities

ALIX 2D13 offers :

  • 500 MHz AMD Geode LX800 (x86)
  • 256 MB DDR DRAM
  • 3 Ethernet NICs (Via VT6105M 10/100)
  • Storage CompactFlash socket
  • Serial port
  • 2x USB ports
  • MiniPCI-slot

In order to construct our firewall we need :

Prolific USB to RS232 CableA Prolific USB to Serial Male cable from Ebay ( TomTop or Search USB to RS232 or Search USB to Serial).
Make sure that the cable comes with the prolific PL-2303 chip since cost a lot less and has drivers to Windows, Linux and Mac.
Drivers for this cable can be found here using "GUEST" as username and password. If you have problems under Vista / Windows 7 you can use the drivers from cooldrives.
Cost 4$


Null modem

A female to female null modem adapter. (Ebay)
The null modems is needed in order to communicate our PC with the ALIX 2D13 motherboard.
For more informations about the null modem can be found at Wikipedia. If you have two female RS232 adapters you can create your self constructed null-modem.
Please make sure that your null modem is female to female (F-F).
Cost 8$


Compact Flash Card ReaderA Compact Flash Card reader (Kingston 19-in-1 USB 2.0 Flash Memory Card Reader FCR-HS219/1)

A CF card reader is needed in order to copy pfSense from our computer to the CF card.
Notice : my Ebay CF card readerĀ  had defective cable (bad shielded?) and did not worked. I needed to change the cable with my photograph's camera USB cable. No drivers are needed for Win XP.
Cost 3$


Compact Flash 4GBA Compact Flash 4GB card (SanDisk SDCFH-004G-A11 4GB 30MB/s ULTRA CF Card (US Retail Package))


A smaller Compact Flash card can be used (1gb, 2gb or 4gb).
Cost 15$


Power Plug 12vA 12v 1.25A Power Supply Wallplug EU type (Ebay or Aerial)
Ebay offers cheap power supplies at 1A.
From amd (pdf) we can see that ALIX 2D13 consumes about 6 watts.
From the PC Engines official site we can find that the input voltage of this device can beĀ  from 7V to max. 20V
So P=V*I => Imax=6watt/12volt=0,5A.
So the Ebay power supplies should be compatible for the ALIX 2D13 motherboard.
Cost 3$


ALIX.2D13 - 3 LAN, 1 miniPCI, LX800, 256 MB (Aerial or PC Engines shop)
From the left to right we can see the serial port the OPT WAN LAN Ethernet the two USB jacks and the power jack.
ALIX 2D13 has a battery so pfsense can remember day and time.
Cost 115$


ALIX2D13 EnclosureEnclosure for ALIX 2D13 (Aerial or PC Engines shop)
The enclosures are black or red colored or aluminium.
Cost 12$


Total cost 160$