Data breaches are not limited to the Enterprise. Every device and computer connected to the Internet is a potential target for attack. Fortunately, budget limitations need not put smaller businesses at a security disadvantage – Network appliances from Netgate® with pfSense® software deliver best-in-class network protection at very attractive prices.

Recommended Appliances for Small Business

Best Used For Processor RAM Storage Options Ports Price
Netgate SG-1000 pfSense Security Gateway Appliance
SOHO Network
Remote Worker
600 MHz
4GB eMMC Flash 2x 1GbE $149 More Details
Netgate SG-3100 pfSense Security Gateway Appliance
SOHO Network
Remote Worker
ARMv7 Cortex-A9
1.6 GHz 2-Core
8GB eMMC Flash 2x Intel 1GbE $349 More Details
Netgate SG-4860 pfSense Security Gateway Appliance
Medium Business
SMB Network
Gigabit Speeds
Intel Atom®
2.4 GHz 4-Core
32GB eMMC Flash
6x Intel 1GbE $749 More Details

Appliance Guidance

The following outlines the best practices for choosing the appliance best suitable for your environment.

Feature Considerations

Most features do not factor into hardware sizing, although a few will have a significant impact on hardware utilization:

VPN - Heavy use of any of the VPN services included in the pfSense software will increase CPU requirements. Encrypting and decrypting traffic is CPU intensive. The number of connections is much less of a concern than the throughput required. AES-NI acceleration of IPsec significantly reduces CPU requirements on platforms that support it.

Captive Portal - While the primary concern is typically throughput, environments with hundreds of simultaneous captive portal users (of which there are many) will require slightly more CPU power than recommended above.

Large State Tables - State table entries require about 1 KB of RAM each. The default state table size is calculated based on 10% of the available RAM in the firewall. For example, a firewall with 1 GB of RAM will default to 100,000 states which when full would use about 100 MB of RAM. For large environments requiring state tables with several hundred thousand connections, or millions of connections, ensure adequate RAM is available.

Packages - Some of the packages increase RAM requirements significantly. Snort and ntop are two that should not be installed on a system with less than 1GB RAM.