The pfSense software distribution is compatible with most hardware supported by FreeBSD.
pfSense version 2.4 and later is compatible with 64-bit (amd64, x86-64) architecture hardware and the SG-1000 ARM-based firewall.
pfSense version 2.3.x and before was compatible with 32-bit (i386, x86) and 64-bit (amd64, x86-64) architecture hardware.
Alternate hardware architectures such as ARM (other than SG-1000), PowerPC, MIPS, SPARC, etc. are not supported at this time.
The best way to ensure that hardware is compatible with pfSense software is to buy hardware from the pfSense Store that has been tested and known to work well with pfSense. The hardware in the store is tested with each release of pfSense software and is tuned for performance.
For home-built solutions, the FreeBSD Hardware Notes is the best resource for determining hardware compatibility. pfSense version 2.4.4-RELEASE-p2 is based on 11.2-RELEASE-p4, so compatible hardware is found in the hardware notes on the FreeBSD website. Another good resource is the Hardware section of the FreeBSD FAQ.
A wide variety of wired Ethernet cards (NICs) are supported by FreeBSD, and are thus compatible with pfSense firewalls. However, not all network adapters are created equal. The hardware can vary greatly in quality from one manufacturer to another.
We recommend Intel PRO/1000 1Gb and PRO/10GbE 10Gb NICs because they have solid driver support in FreeBSD and they perform very well. Most hardware sold in the pfSense Store contains Intel NICs.
Of the various other PCIe/PCI cards supported by FreeBSD, some work fine. Others may have problems such as VLANs not working properly, not being able to set speed or duplex, or poor performance. In some cases, FreeBSD may support a particular NIC but, with specific implementations of the chipset, driver support or may be poor. When in doubt, search the pfSense 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¶
We do not recommend using USB network adapters of any make/model due to their unreliability and poor performance.