I suggest the pfSense route. I've been using pfSense for many years. It is great. And yes, you should be able to put your current wifi router into AP mode.
Check out this. Makes a great Lil pfSense router. Add a stick of ram and small ssd.
Keep in mind the processor in that doesn't support AES-NI, which will be required as of pfSense 2.5. I've been using one of these for a little over a year. It has Realtek NICs and boot takes a little longer because of a FreeBSD issue with the SD card reader, but otherwise, it's been solid.
I'm running mine on a little Zotac zbox, just needed to add in a bit of RAM and a hard drive. Works like a charm :-) Currently running squid, snort, and surricata with no issues.
I picked up a Zotac Zbox a little over six months ago for my pfsense machine, and it's been running beautifully. Absolutely zero complaints so far. The price is just right, and the form factor is perfect for my needs.
I put untangle on one of these https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0179S50UU/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o04_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1 My WAN is a USB 3.0 to Ethernet and I use the two built in LANs for Home network and LAB network.
So i go Cable modem in bridge mode -> untangle server -> eth 1 -> DD-WRT -> home devices eht 2 -> Cisco switch -> lab devices.
IMO something like untangle or pfsense blows DD-WRT out of the water. I used DD-WRT for many years, so I am not knocking it.
Just remember if you allow ANY connection in, there is ALWAYS a risk. Your goal is to reduce risk as much as possible. Keep your stuff up to date to cover 0days and privileged access vulnerabilities. Any firewall is better than none, but I would recommend something with more control than a consumer router. Block any unused outbound port. Hackers can use these to get a reverse connection.
I got one of these (below) and put untangle on it. Its CPU blows those atoms out of the water since it has AES-NI. You don't mention if this is for home or business. For home untangle is $50 a year (yes i know that's more than free pfsense). If this is for business, untangle license cost per connection. However they wouldn't support it installed on a consumer computer lol. You could still install pfsense, I just prefer untangle at this time. As a side note, if this is for business... don't cheap out.
PFSense does all this no problem. If you don't have an old computer, here is a new computer that works: https://www.amazon.com/ZOTAC-Quad-Core-Graphics-Barebones-ZBOX-CI323NANO-U/dp/B0179S50UU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1479736533&sr=8-1&keywords=zbox
Add 4GB ram and some storage. Add more ports with a cheap switch if you don't need vlans. If you need vlans use a smart switch. Use your old router in access point mode for Wifi.
Notes: The wifi card is not pfsense compatible but if using pfsense it is not ideal to run internal wifi. Take the card out or just ignore it. The NICs are made by Realtek. They may give you a few headaches to work through.
The modem is easy, you will likely end up with a Motorola SurfBoard. The router has lots of choice. I personally use PFSense which requires a computer with two NICs. If you have a Pentium 4 or better laying around you can usually just put a $10 NIC in it. If you don't have a spare machine, this: https://www.amazon.com/ZOTAC-Quad-Core-Graphics-Barebones-ZBOX-CI323NANO-U/dp/B0179S50UU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1475677423&sr=8-1&keywords=zotac+NUC
Add $17 for 4GB ram and $25 for small SSD
It comes with the entire CI232. You would need RAM and a HDD (plus repairs) to get these going.
Take a look at this box: https://www.amazon.com/ZOTAC-Quad-Core-Graphics-Barebones-ZBOX-CI323NANO-U/dp/B0179S50UU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1475677423&sr=8-1&keywords=zotac+NUC
I know its only two ports (Lan/Wan) but it runs PFSense well and supports AES-NI which seems to be a sticking point on other devices. Add $17 for 4GB ram and $25 for a SSD.
Yeah. This box. ZOTAC ZBOX C Series Passive Cooling Mini PC, Intel N3150 Quad-Core CPU, Intel HD Graphics Barebones System (ZBOX-CI323NANO-U) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0179S50UU/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_5031xbD43WAQQ
It has AES-NI. Just add 4gb ram for $20 and a SSD for $25. Under $200 and low power.
Another option with dual NICs and the same processor: ZOTAC ZBOX C Series Passive Cooling Mini PC, Intel N3150 Quad-Core CPU, Intel HD Graphics Barebones System (ZBOX-CI323NANO-U) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0179S50UU/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_0vGSxb1SSM2VF
Here is an even cheaper option the the previous one I posted, and with Celeron quad core CPU. Realtec NICs though, so doesn't meet the NIC requirement from the OP. Good reviews from people running PFSense.
Just don't expect to have decent VPN performance, as the CPU in this doesn't support AES-NI, and it's quite a few generations old. You can look around for something with an N3150, which is only a year old at this point and supports AES-NI, the clock speed will be higher, quad-core, and it'll support more RAM all while keeping power consumption low. Also, the boards with this CPU can run fanless.
Here's one with dual-ethernet built in for only $150, still needs a HDD & RAM, but those are dirt cheap. http://www.amazon.com/ZOTAC-Quad-Core-Graphics-Barebones-ZBOX-CI323NANO-U/dp/B0179S50UU
Dust will be an issue, but if you are able to spend a bit of money, rather than recycling an existing box, you can get an appropriate machine for cheap.
Unless you are going to be doing some intensive work on the machine, you can get by with a small fanless box. Something like this. Depending on which model you choose, you may need to add a HDD, but those can be had for cheap these days, or you can use an old one laying around.
I would make a little box for it, and put some mesh / foam around the box to keep out some of the dust. It is passively cooled, so no dust will be sucked in, but workshops are dusty, and dust doesn't need help to collect.
I have a similar box, and I will be doing this exact thing in the near future.
You don't need much power to run youtube videos and some music. Even Sketchup should work fine. If you are going to be running some serious CAD / Design software, you may need something a bit more powerful, but the box / foam should still work just fine. Whatever you do, allow some airflow around the machine either way. Don't do what some people do and seal the machine in an air-tight, or low-flow box to protect it.
No problem. I get irritated when people ask for help and then break down the help offered.
I understand your concern about single NIC, however it should be fine with multiple NUCs doing work. It is less than ideal, however you are getting lots of capacity and physical box failover. You can set speed limits for management functions like vMotion so that they do not saturate your single NIC with management traffic. You can also set affinity rules for your high utilization VM so that they are 'suggested' to run on separate NUCs. You don't want to make this mandatory that they run on a specific host because your VM will die when the host dies or needs to go down for maintenance. This is a common mistake. Plan for failure.... There may be a way to add a NIC to a NUC, I don't know what mini pcie slots they have. Also a possible option: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0179S50UU?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=ox_sc_sfl_title_7&smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER
However, previously mentioned mini itx supermicro boards might be the way to go in this instance anyways. Just get a herd of them instead and apply similar logic to them.
The N3150 bare bones (no win10, etc.) though I already had RAM and such.
need to manually update the Realtek NIC driver (https://forum.pfsense.org/index.php?topic=103841.75) if you want throughput above 200 Mb/s without watchdog timeouts and ignore the bitching about the SD card reader on boot but it supports AES-NI and is cheap and works great.
I could buy a machine for $250, install Mesen, and get 99.6% accuracy. Why spend another $200? for the "blow-in-the-cartridge" experience?
Im running untangle on one of these: https://www.zotac.com/product/mini_pcs/zbox-ci323-nano#spec Granted my service is 38MB down, I've never seen the CPU go over 1%.
What about this one?
I've been using this Zotac Barebones for my pfSense firewall. It came in at around $200 after 4GB of RAM and a small SSD. It works great for my 100/100 connection and supports AES-NI.
Another option would be to go with one of their official appliances. The SG-1000 costs $149 and comes with pfSense installed.
I know English isn't your native language so just to help; thin client is not the right word as it is specifically for client/server architectures and references the processing load the client assumes. In most cases pfSense is considered the server and it's processing load is not 'thin'.
There are many low power devices out there. Take a look at Zotac Zbox C - https://www.amazon.com/ZOTAC-Quad-Core-Graphics-Barebones-ZBOX-CI323NANO-U/dp/B0179S50UU/ref=sr_1_1?s=pc&ie=UTF8&qid=1479829776&sr=1-1&keywords=zotac+zbox
Or many solutions from JetWay - https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dcomputers&field-keywords=jetway
Zotac zboxs are popular and a low end bare one box will run you about 200 in total https://www.amazon.com/ZOTAC-Quad-Core-Graphics-Barebones-ZBOX-CI323NANO-U/dp/B0179S50UU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1469615562&sr=8-1&keywords=zbox
I recently bought one of these with this RAM and this hard drive to replace my virtualized pfSense install after I was away for two weeks and had ESXi issues that took my VPN offline. I know this sub isn't a fan of Realtek NICs, but what I was looking for was: a processor that supports AES-NI, fanless, compact, dual NICs, low power consumption, and decent price. This machine hit all of those, with the only drawback being non-Intel NICs. So far, I've had absolutely no issues with it. It's a little overkill if you just want basic routing, but I wanted to be able to run OpenVPN, Snort, pfBlockerNG, etc. and have a comfortable overhead for anything I wanted to try in the future.
For an access point, Ubiquiti UniFi UAP-AC-LITE or UAP-AC-PRO are pretty popular "prosumer" products. I'm sure someone can recommend some good switches, but I'm currently running a Netgear GS724T and it provides me with the features I need (VLAN, LAG/LACP) and I'm happy with it.
Quoted from a post I made about the new pfSense box I just put together, this would also work well for your needs:
>I recently bought one of these with this RAM and this hard drive to replace my virtualized pfSense install after I was away for two weeks and had ESXi issues that took my VPN offline. I know this sub isn't a fan of Realtek NICs, but what I was looking for was: a processor that supports AES-NI, fanless, compact, dual NICs, low power consumption, and decent price. This machine hit all of those, with the only drawback being non-Intel NICs. So far, I've had absolutely no issues with it. It's a little overkill if you just want basic routing, but I wanted to be able to run OpenVPN, Snort, pfBlockerNG, etc. and have a comfortable overhead for anything I wanted to try in the future.
I would avoid the Pipo box you mentioned, as it only has 10/100 Ethernet ports.
seems like they do not sell the exact one anymore but the Intel N2930 version is similar
Something like this would work well for your needs:
I personally just bought one of these, but they're 'currently unavailable' so I'm not sure when they might be back on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01720AOMY?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o03_s00
The one I got was $196 shipped, 32GB SSD and 2GB RAM installed. Had some super-pirated Win 8.0 Enterprise installed...but I blew that away and installed Linux right away anyway.
Anything with the Braswell Quad Core N3150 processor will rock for what you're wanting. It's a POWERFUL CPU for the watts used and dollars spent for sure.
in the 200 dollar range i was looking at these 2 other boxes.
The onda M2 http://www.gearbest.com/tv-box-mini-pc/pp_272896.html
And the Voyo V3 http://www.gearbest.com/tv-box-mini-pc/pp_292915.html
The problem on the voyo is the lack of a ethernet port. but it has 5ghz AC, but the 4gb of ram and 128 SSD make it a nice choice, as well as packing the top of the like X7 atom.
the Onda carries a J1900 celeron, so it might be more powerful. the thing is that im unsure if its fast or giga.
you can also get a barebones from zotac, http://www.amazon.com/ZOTAC-Quad-Core-Graphics-Barebones-ZBOX-CI323NANO-U/dp/B0179S50UU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1454976362&sr=8-1&keywords=Zotac+ZBOX+CI323+NANO
Comes with no harddrive or ram, but its 149 bucks. mind you you might want to update the bios before starting to work on it.
how about the Zotac ZBOX-CI323NANO-U. it has dual NICs & a WiFi adapter too. With N3159. Would this be a good platform?
My previous Realtek NIC box was cutting my line speeds in half and had a fan, this box still has Realtek NIC but it's not slowing me a bit at 100mbs speeds, has no fan, and is barely breaking a sweat. It has AES onboard but I've not done anything to push that. WiFi appears unsupported but I'm okay with that for now.
Cheap enough for you?