The pfSense® software distribution is compatible with most hardware supported by FreeBSD.
Current versions of pfSense software are compatible with 64-bit (amd64, x86-64) architecture hardware and Netgate ARM-based firewalls.
Alternate hardware architectures such as Raspberry Pi, other Non-Netgate ARM devices, PowerPC, MIPS, SPARC, etc. are not supported.
The best way to ensure that hardware is compatible with pfSense software is to buy hardware from the Netgate Store that has been tested and known to work well with pfSense software. The hardware in the store is tested with each release of pfSense software and is tuned for optimal performance.
For home-built solutions, the FreeBSD Hardware Notes for the FreeBSD version used in a given build of pfSense software is the best resource for determining hardware compatibility. pfSense software version 2.5.2-RELEASE is based on 12.2-STABLE@f4d0bc6aa6b. Another good resource is the Hardware section of the FreeBSD FAQ.
A wide variety of wired Ethernet Network Interface Cards (NICs) are supported by FreeBSD, and are thus compatible with pfSense software. However, not all NICs are created equal. The hardware can vary greatly in quality from one manufacturer to another.
The best practice is to use Intel NICs because they have solid driver support in FreeBSD and they perform well. Most hardware sold in the Netgate Store contains Intel NICs.
Of the various other PCIe/PCI cards supported by FreeBSD, some work fine, others may suffer from instability or poor performance. In some cases, FreeBSD may support a particular NIC but specific implementations of the chipset may be lower in quality or have poor driver support. When in doubt, search the Netgate Forum for experiences of others using the same or similar hardware.
When a firewall requires the use of VLANs, select adapters that support VLAN processing in hardware. This is discussed in Virtual LANs (VLANs).
USB Network Adapters¶
USB network adapters of any make/model should not be used due to their unreliability and poor performance.