Sunday, November 27, 2022

Best pfSense Boxes For All Devices


Since we all use devices including smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktops, and even TVs while being connected to the internet, making sure that you are safe from any kinds of cyber security attacks is highly important. While most modern devices come with a basic firewall for the same, using a hardware-based firewall box is a much better idea. For the same reason, we are here with the best pfSense boxes in this list that have been picked based on these factors:

  • CPU: Because your pfSense box has to handle all network requests while running a firewall program, it needs to have a powerful CPU for the same. As a result, different pfSense boxes will have different CPUs installed in them. This can include options like the Intel Pentium N3700, Intel Celeron J4125, Intel Celeron J3455, and even the Intel Core i3 4005U, where a higher-end CPU will always offer the best performance.
  • RAM: Similar to a computer, even if your pfSense box has a high-end CPU, it won’t be able to perform the best if it does not have enough RAM to go along with the same. Because of this, while entry-level pfSense boxes may only offer 4 GB RAM, higher-end units can even come with 6 GB or even 8 GB of RAM for much better performance.
  • Storage: Even though you won’t be storing any media or data files on your pfSense box, you still need storage for the firmware and the firewall applications that you will install on your pfSense box. Because of this, while entry-level options may only include 16 GB SSD storage, all higher-end units come with 128 GB SSD storage or higher.

Despite being some of the primary factors related to pfSense boxes, there is still so much more that you need to keep in mind. And for the same reason, all of the best pfSense boxes present in this list also have their major features and options given along with them. More importantly, you can also discover an extensive “Buying Guide” and the top FAQs for the best pfSense boxes down below which should help you in picking the perfect for your needs.

Best pfSense Boxes List

Best pfSense Boxes Reviews

1. Protectli pfSense Boxes

Protectli is among some of the oldest brands out there when you are talking about products like pfSense boxes that also offer decent performance like its pfSense box given down below.

The Protectli Vault FW4B pfSense box is present in the 1st position of this list since this is a great option for those who want a decently powerful and barebones option. Taking a look at its performance numbers right away, this pfSense box uses the Intel Celeron J3160 quad-core CPU with up to 2.24 GHz clock speeds. However, since it is a barebones pfSense box, you do not get any RAM or SSD installed in it out of the box.

Thankfully, Protectli does offer a decent amount of connectivity ports which include 4 x GbE LAN ports, 2 x USB 3.0 ports, 2 x HDMI ports, 1 x COM port, and 1 x audio port. Another great thing about this pfSense box is that Protectli also includes a 1-year warranty with it for your peace of mind.

Best Features:

  • Powered by the Intel Celeron J3160 quad core CPU with 2.24 GHz boost clock speed
  • Includes 4 x GbE LAN, 2 x USB 3.0, 2 x HDMI, 1 x COM, 1 x audio ports
  • Backed by a 1 year long warranty period

Pros:

  • Pretty powerful pfSense box thanks to its efficient heat sink design
  • Large number of connectivity ports for a highly versatile pfSense box
  • Allows to easily upgrade its internals thanks to a barebones design

Cons:

  • Does not include any RAM or SSD storage installed out of the box

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2. AWOW 6 GB DDR4 pfSense Boxes

AWOW 6 GB DDR4 pfSense BoxesWhen compared with most other pfSense boxes available in the market, AWOW and all of its offerings are much more affordable and can be viable for all those who are on a budget and looking for something affordable.

AWOW’s pfSense box is present in the 2nd position of this listicle as it is hands down the most affordable option given here, which is why it’s ideal if you are on a tight budget. Unlike what you would expect from such an affordable pfSense box, it uses the Intel Celeron J3455 quad-core CPU with up to 2.3 GHz boost clock. But the best part about this pfSense box has to be that even at the given price tag, it still includes 6 GB DDR4 RAM and 128 GB SSD for amazing performance instead of being a barebones model.

Another great thing about this pfSense box is that you get a large number of ports, including 2 x GbE LAN ports, 5 x USB 3.0 ports, 2 x HDMI ports, 1 x micro SD card slot, and 1 x audio port, which makes it quite versatile. Even with the given entry-level price tag, AWOW still features a 1.5-year warranty period with this pfSense box for great longevity.

Best Features:

  • Powered by the Intel Celeron J3455 quad core CPU with 2.3 GHz boost clock speed
  • Offers 6 GB DDR4 RAM along with 128 GB SSD storage
  • Includes 2 x GbE LAN, 5 x USB 3.0, 2 x HDMI, 1 x micro SD card, 1 x audio ports
  • Backed by a 1.5 year long warranty period

Pros:

  • Amazing pfSense box option for those who are on a tight budget
  • Large number of connectivity ports for using as more than a pfSense box
  • Includes high capacity RAM and storage despite the given entry level price tag

 Cons:

  • Could have included 2 more GbE LAN ports for better networking usage

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3. Qotom 8 GB DDR3 pfSense Boxes

Qotom 8 GB DDR3 pfSense BoxesQotom is one of the higher end brands when you are talking about pfSense boxes but it still makes for a great pick for most because it offers amazing performance with most of its offerings.

This Qotom Q330G4 pfSense box is present in the 3rd position of this article because it is the most powerful option discussed here in terms of its processing power. To make the same possible, Qotom has used the Intel Core i3 4005U quad-core CPU with up to 1.7 GHz clock speed. Although, despite offering 8 GB DDR3 RAM for great performance, this pfSense box only features 16 GB SSD storage which is a bit low considering the given price tag.

Fortunately, other features of this pfSense box are quite good, including its connectivity options which include 4 x GbE LAN ports, 2 x USB 2.0 ports, 2 x USB 3.0 ports, 1 x HDMI port, 1 x COM port, and even 2 x audio ports. Since Qotom is a high-end brand of high-performance pfSense boxes, its included 1 year long warranty is to be expected.

Best Features:

  • Powered by the Intel Core i3 4005U quad core CPU with 1.7 GHz boost clock speed
  • Offers 8 GB DDR3 RAM along with 16 GB SSD storage
  • Includes 4 x GbE LAN, 2 x USB 2.0, 2 x USB 3.0, 1 x HDMI, 1 x COM, 2 x audio ports
  • Backed by a 1 year long warranty period

Pros:

  • One of the most powerful pfSense boxes out there in terms of processing power
  • Large number of connectivity ports with multiple types and versions for versatility
  • Easy to upgrade for adding more RAM or storage if needed

Cons:

  • Could have included more storage considering the given price and included CPU

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4. Vnopn 8 GB DDR3 pfSense Boxes

Vnopn 8 GB DDR3 pfSense BoxesVnopn is another mainstream brand of networking products like pfSense box that can be one of the best options out there if you are looking for something which is great for long term usage.

The Vnopn pfSense box is given in this list since it is hands down the best option listed here for those who want something that can easily last for years to come. Apart from being highly durable and reliable, this pfSense box even offers decent performance thanks to its Intel Pentium N3700 quad-core CPU with up to 2.4 GHz boost clock speeds. More importantly, you even get 8 GB DDR3 RAM and a 128 GB SSD storage drive with this pfSense box for the best possible performance numbers.

Taking a look at the exterior of this pfSense box, you will find handy connectivity ports like 4 x 2.5 GbE LAN, 2 x USB 3.0, 1 x HDMI, and 1 x VGA ports for amazing networking performance. But the best thing about this pfSense box is that you get a 3-year warranty with it which makes it excellent for long-term usage.

Best Features:

  • Powered by the Intel Pentium N3700 quad-core CPU with 2.4 GHz boost clock speed
  • Offers 8 GB DDR3 RAM along with 128 GB SSD storage
  • Includes 4 x 2.5 GbE LAN, 2 x USB 3.0, 1 x HDMI, 1 x VGA ports
  • Backed by a 3 year long warranty period

Pros:

  • Excellent networking performance thanks to high-end ethernet ports
  • Fairly powerful internals thanks to a decent CPU and high capacity RAM and storage
  • Amazing warranty period for your peace of mind and long term usage

Cons:

  • Not a budget-friendly pfSense box in comparison to other offerings out there

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5. Netgate 4 GB DDR4 pfSense Boxes

Netgate 4 GB DDR4 pfSense BoxesUnlike most other brands of pfSense boxes given here which are ideal for advanced users, Netgate and its offerings are more ideal for the masses as its offerings are much easier to use.

Netgate’s 2100 pfSense box is given in this listicle as it can be the perfect option for all those who want something that is easy to use and does not require any technical knowledge. Since this pfSense box comes configured out of the box, it uses a basic Cortex A53 dual-core CPU with up to 1.2 GHz clock speeds. Similarly, this pfSense box uses 4 GB DDR3 RAM and 8 GB eMMC storage which is the minimum system requirement for pfSense.

Thankfully, you won’t have to worry about the connectivity options of this pfSense box when it comes to networking as it features 4 x GbE LAN ports other than its WAN port. Because Netgate is a mainstream brand of networking products, you also get a 1 year long warranty period with its pfSense box which is always great to have.

Best Features:

  • Powered by the Cortex A53 dual core CPU with 1.2 GHz boost clock speed
  • Offers 4 GB DDR3 RAM along with 8 GB eMMC storage
  • Includes 4 x GbE LAN and 1 x WAN ports
  • Backed by a 1 year long warranty period

Pros:

  • Extremely easy to use pfSense box with no advanced setup or configuration required
  • Solid build quality along with a decent warranty period for your peace of mind
  • Great networking performance thanks to its high end LAN ports

Cons:

  • Offers basic feature sets which might not be ideal for advanced users

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6. MOGINSOK 8 GB DDR4 pfSense Boxes

MOGINSOK 8 GB DDR4 pfSense BoxesMoginsok is one of the premium and high end brands out there which is known for its high performance networking products which also includes its pfSense box offering which is given here.

This Moginsok pfSense box is given in this article because it is the most powerful option mentioned here when it comes to its networking specifications. In fact, this pfSense box even features a decently powerful CPU which happens to be the Intel Celeron J4125 quad core CPU with up to 2.7 GHz boost clock speed. Another great thing about this pfSense nox is that it uses 8 GB DDR4 RAM along with a 128 GB SSD drive.

Because this pfSense box is meant for high end network performance, it uses 4 x 2.5 GbE LAN ports, 2 x USB 3.0 ports, 1 x HDMI port, and 1 x VGA port which should be plenty for most users out there. And being such a high end pfSense box model, its included 1 year long warranty is also to be expected.

Best Features:

  • Powered by the Intel Celeron J4125 quad core CPU with 2.7 GHz boost clock speed
  • Offers 8 GB DDR4 RAM along with 128 GB SSD storage
  • Includes 4 x 2.5 GbE LAN, 2 x USB 3.0, 1 x HDMI, 1 x VGA ports
  • Backed by a 1 year long warranty period

Pros:

  • Exceptional networking performance thanks to its high-end ethernet LAN ports
  • Fairly powerful and high-end internals in terms of CPU, RAM, and storage
  • Highly sturdy metal construction paired along with a decent warranty period

Cons:

  • Slightly on the expensive side as compared with other pfSense boxes

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Buying Guide For The Best pfSense Boxes

If you are looking for one of the best firewall security systems out there, then pfSense can be a great option. But in order to use this firewall software, you will also need a compatible hardware box or device for the same. Thankfully, for the same you can simply go with something like the best pfSense boxes stated earlier in this list.

With all of these pfSense boxes, you will also learn about their major specifications and features as we have explained the same alongside them. However, if you still wish to know more about pfSense boxes, then you should consider checking out this complete buying guide for the best pfSense boxes:

1. CPU

Since your pfSense box is going to be running a firewall program, it will be handling all of your network requests. And depending on the size of your computer network, this can involve a large number of requests. As a result, it is highly important that you go with a powerful enough pfSense box that it does not affect the performance of your computer network.

For the same, you should first check the CPU used in your pfSense box as a higher end and more powerful CPU will always offer better performance. Talking about the CPU options that you can find while getting a pfSense box, it includes options like the Intel Pentium N3700, Intel Celeron J4125, Intel Celeron J3455, Intel Core i3 4005U, and a few more. Out of all these options, the Intel Core i3 4005U will perform the best. And in general, a CPU with a higher CPU model will perform better.

2. RAM

Another factor which can affect the performance of your pfSense box quite a lot is the RAM capacity offered by it. As mentioned earlier, your pfSense box may have to handle a large number of network requests at a given time. And all of these requests not only need a powerful CPU but also require enough RAM for the same. Because of the same reason, even entry level pfSense boxes come with 4 GB RAM or similar. But if you go with higher end pfSense boxes, then they can come with 6 GB RAM or even 8 GB RAM which should be more than enough in all cases.

3. Storage

Apart from having a powerful CPU and enough RAM to go with the same, your pfSense box should also have enough storage capacity. While you won’t be using your pfSense box to store media or data files, you will still need to install a firmware, a firewall program, and other network security programs in your pfSense box. Due to the same, it is quite important to have enough storage in your pfSense box. Thus, apart from a few entry level pfSense boxes which only offer 16 GB SSD storage, almost all other pfSense boxes out there come with 128 GB SSD storage.

4. Connectivity Options

Even if you have a powerful pfSense box with all the high end specifications and components inside it, you won’t be able to use it to the fullest without having the right connectivity options. Since your pfSense box needs to be connected to your network along with other devices, it needs to have the right type of connectivity options.

Because of the same, you can find connectivity ports like GbE LAN ports, USB ports, HDMI ports, audio ports, communication ports, and others. For all of these connectivity ports, you should go with a pfSense box which offers multiple ports of the latest versions since that will not only result in a highly versatile pfSense box but newer port versions will also offer better performance. All of this is also true for wireless connectivity options like WiFi and Bluetooth if your pfSense box offers the same as well.

5. Accessories

While not all pfSense boxes available out there may offer the same, it is always great to go with a pfSense box that offers additional accessories in the box. Such accessories not only result in a better value-for-money option, but it even makes your pfSense box more practical and versatile out of the box. Some of the common accessories that you can find included with pfSense boxes include things like power adapter, power plug, WiFi antenna, back mount, screws, cables, and a few more handy accessories.

6. Warranty

Other than going with a powerful and highly versatile pfSense box for the best network performance, you should also make sure that your pfSense box is ideal for long-term usage. This is due to the reason that once you have configured your pfSense box and connected it to your network, you would want it to stay functional for as long as possible.

If you want to ensure the same, then you should definitely check the included warranty period of your pfSense box. Fortunately, almost all pfSense boxes available out there come with at least a 1 year long warranty period. In fact, if you are looking for something versatile and practical, then you can also find some other options with a 3-year warranty period which is even better for long term usage.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can you upgrade the internals of a pfSense box for better performance in future?

Ans: Even though pfSense boxes are quite small in size, most of them use standard connectivity options on the inside. To be more exact, pfSense boxes generally use M.2 SSD slots for their storage drives along with SODIMM slots for the RAM. This means that while you cannot upgrade the CPU of your pfSense box in the future, both the RAM and storage should be upgradeable in most models if needed.

2. What is the minimum storage requirement for running pfSense?

Ans: If you are installing pfSense in any hardware device, it is quite important to ensure that you have enough storage space for the same. Fortunately, pfSense firewall has a minimum storage requirement of just 8 GB. And because almost all pfSense boxes given above either offer a 16 GB SSD or a 128 GB SSD, this should not be an issue at all.

3. Is it possible to use pfSense for something more than a firewall program?

Ans: While pfSense is primarily supposed to be used as a firewall program, you can use it for even more if you have a pfSense box. To be more precise, pfSense allows you to configure it as a router that offers multiple functionalities like DHCP server, VPN server, WiFi access point, DNS server, and a few more by using the same pfSense box.

Conclusion

Whether you are talking about the network in your home or your office network, it is highly important to ensure that you are keeping all of your network devices protected from cyber attacks. Thankfully, doing so is quite easy as long as you are using the right firewall box in your network.One such great option can be to go with one of the best pfSense boxes that we have stated earlier in this list. For helping you differentiate between all these various pfSense boxes, we have also given their key aspects and factors next to them. Not only that but you can also find a detailed buying guide and the major FAQs for the best pfSense boxes. And while keeping all of these details in mind, here are our favorite picks for the best pfSense boxes:

  • If you wish to go with a pfSense box that features excellent performance in terms of its processor power, then the Qotom 8 GB DDR3 pfSense Boxes is the perfect option for you. This is primarily due to the reason that it uses the Intel Core i3 4005U processor inside. Since you also get 8 GB DDR3 RAM with it, you can expect amazing performance from it. While it only has a 16 GB SSD storage, you can upgrade that easily if needed. This pfSense box also features a decent amount of connectivity ports including 4 x GbE LAN ports, 2 x USB 2.0 ports, 2 x USB 3.0 ports, 1 x HDMI port, and 1 x COM port.
  • Since not everyone wants to manually set up a pfSense box and get into the technical steps needed for the same, the Netgate 4 GB DDR4 pfSense Boxes is the perfect mainstream option for the masses. Because it comes with everything installed and set up out of the box, it uses an ARM Cortex A53 processor. This CPU is then paired along with 4 GB DDR3 RAM and 8 GB eMMC storage which offers decent performance for most. Since this is primarily a networking device and not a computer, it only offers 4 x GbE LAN ports on the back apart from its power and WAN connectors.
  • Those of you who are on a tight budget but still looking for something versatile should check out the AWOW 6 GB DDR4 pfSense Boxes. Despite the given entry-level price tag, this pfSense box features the Intel Celeron J3455 CPU. Not only that but since it even features 6 GB DDR4 RAM and a 128 GB SSD storage drive, it matches the performance of most premium options out there. One of the best things about this entry-level pfSense box is that it features best-in-class connectivity ports which includes 2 x GbE LAN ports, 5 x USB 3.0 ports, 2 x HDMI ports, 1 x micro SD card slot, 1 x audio jack, and more in the form of wireless connectivity.



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