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 From:  "Lee Sharp" <leesharp at hal dash pc dot org>
 To:  "m0n0wall" <m0n0wall at lists dot m0n0 dot ch>
 Subject:  Re: [m0n0wall] System requirements / tweaks for maximum performance
 Date:  Thu, 16 Mar 2006 10:29:18 -0600
From: "Fred Weston" <fweston at gmail dot com>
> On 3/16/06, Lee Sharp <leesharp at hal dash pc dot org> wrote:
> > From: "Fred Weston" <fweston at gmail dot com>

> > > I used to use m0n0 quite extensively a few years ago but haven't used
> > > it recently.  I was wondering what the minimum recommended system
> > > would be to ensure that adding m0n0 in between my LAN and the Internet
> > > will not adversely affect throughput or latency.  A friend of mine is
> > > running m0n0 at home with 5mbit cable and notices that his speed
> > > diminishes an average of 1-1.5mbit when using m0n0 vs directly
> > > connecting to the cable modem.  He is running a PII 266MHz with 64MB
> > > RAM.  This is what has kept me away from using m0n0, but I am in need
> > > of an inexpensive VPN solution, so thought I'd ask if this is typical
> > > results from using older hardware or perhaps just something screwy
> > > with his config.

> > What load and other hardware?  For example, VPN takes some horsepower.
> > Traffic shaping takes some power, and a bunch of ram.  Cheap nics 
> > offload
> > all of the work onto the CPU.  IRQ conflicts kill speed...  That said, I
> > have some very heavy load applications on duel T1 connections hammering 
> > away
> > at wire speed using P2 450s 3com nics, and 128 meg of ram.  I also have 
> > a
> > BUNCH (20 or so) of newer systems with 800mhz Durons 256 meg (for future
> > growth) and realtek nics.

> Almost no load and zero VPN.  This was setup on a home network with
> only two hosts.  I don't recall the model of the NICs being used.  I
> believe they were Realtek, not sure, but I have some older 3c905 PCI
> NICs that I could use.  Is there any way to do a sort of system
> diagnostic with m0n0 to ensure that everything is running at peak
> efficiency?  For example, the hardware doesn't tell me anything about
> IRQ conflicts, but that doesn't mean they don't exist.  How would I
> find out if I had one?

I build a lot of these, and I have found a few minutes in the BIOS will save 
a lot of heartache.  Non-plug&play OS, lock down IRQs, no APIC, and so on. 
As to nics, 3com and Intel have the best drivers for m0n0wall.  on some 
cheap older cards you can set up polling and try and work around them.  But 
the 3coms are your best bet.

> As a very broad, general statement, would you say m0n0 would be
> faster, slower, or about the same as a Linksys router if both were
> doing nothing other than DHCP, DNS forwarding and NAT on something
> like a 266MHz box?

Which one? :-)  But I think configured correctly, both would be faster than 
your internet connection.  However, I do like 128 meg in the m0n0walls. 
Others are fine with 64...