[rescue] Fast Ethernet with a Sparc Classic

Jonathan Sturges jonathansturges at yahoo.com
Sat Jun 1 08:06:02 CDT 2013

>Sadly, after many years I have to retire my SS2 for my personal home
>firewall and ipsec gateway, since my cable provider is pumping out 20+ Mb/s
>and and the Sun4c just cant handle that kind of bandwidth. I am
>contemplating putting a quad fast ethernet card in my Sparc Classic since
>its a Sun4M and quiet and compact enough - not as much of a power hog as an
>SS5/SS10/SS20 too. My questions are, 1) can an SS Classic even take a quad
>fast ethernet sbus card? 2) If so, would anyone be able to predict what
of performance I could get with this if its even possible? I'll be
OpenBSD as I have happily been doing for years with my old Sparcs.
>My other
option is to do overkill and use a Sunfire V100 that's just
>sitting around
doing nothing... Its too noisy though for running 24/7, so I
>want to avoid
that....Looking forward to the bandwidth though!

I used a SPARC Classic as
my home firewall for over 10 years.  Worked quite well!  And yes, the on-board
interface is 'le'.

I never had a qfe in mine, but did have a 'qe' card (4
10Mbps ports).  This worked great in the Classic, though I think Solaris
dropped support for it after Solaris 7.  I think you could still use the 'qe'
driver from Sol. 7 however, which is how I was able to run Sol. 8 on my

I think there's a chance a qfe would work in the Classic.  Though
it would be so slow there's likely no point.  I remember Sun giving sizing
advice in '95 or so, when the UltraSPARCs were new, that you should have
100Mhz of CPU per 100Mbps port.  So clearly that math doesn't work on the

A good, cheap (but non-Sun) firewall would be a small PC with 2
available PCI slots.  Drop in a couple of old Intel PRO/1000 dual-port GigE
cards (can be had on eBay for under $20 IIRC).  They won't run full speed
either, but you will be able to do 100Mbps+.  Then run pfSense on the box, off
of a USB stick or small ATA flash module of some sort.  Should be very nice.
good luck,

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