Building a FreeBSD switch with commodity hardware

Simon Connah scopensource at
Thu Jan 24 20:39:55 UTC 2019

Hi everyone,

First of all I am not a networking wizard so would appreciate a little 
help to see if my plan is achievable.

I need a 1U switch to put in a datacentre and due to my familiarity with 
FreeBSD I thought building a switch based on FreeBSD would be the 
perfect solution but I'm not sure what the hardware requirements would 
be. I have 10 to 20 1gbps Ethernet devices to connect to the switch and 
a single 1gbps uplink to the rest of the internet.

I'd like to be able to configure VLANs, allocate IPv4 and IPv6 addresses 
to individual machines and use FreeBSD as a firewall for the whole 
process. I also want to be able to expand my system at a later date if I 
need to be able to handle more devices on the local network so I'd need 
to be able to hook the two networks together somehow.

What I'm not sure about is what hardware specs I'll need for this. What 
kind of CPU and RAM will I require and which Ethernet cards should I 
get? This is not a project that requires 100% up time but realiability 
is important during certain hours of the day.

I'd appreciate some advice. If you need any more information then let me 
know and I'll try and provide it.

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