PFSense on a Qotom Q310P mini PC computer


Purchased one of these to check out running PFSense on it.  Got a deal on it.
Note this is levels above any type of SOHO combo router
I am posting this under security because with today's internet you really need something better than the combo routers provided today by your ISP or purchased SOHO combo boxes.
Note here have always done my ISP connection a la carte with purchase of a modem, firewall, WAP (POE).
Keeping it simple here as current PFSense box has 2 WAN ports (using two ISP connections) and 4 LAN ports.
Qotom Q31OP
  • Dimension: 187*115*52mm(L*H*W)
  • Power Consumption: TDP 15W
  • CPU onboard: Intel Celeron 3215U Processor, 2M Cache, dual core 1.7 GHz
  • Integrated graphics: Intel HD Graphics
  • Memory: Support DDR3L 1333/1600 MHz, 1.35V, Non-ECC - 1 x DDR3 DIMM Memory Slot - Max. Support up to 8GB Memory
  • Hard Disk - Support SSD (MSATA / SATA) - Support HDD (2.5 inch SATA HDD)
  • Onboard LAN - 2 x Intel I211-AT- 10/100/1000 Controller
  • Audio Solution - Realtek ALC662 6-Channel HD Audio
Front-Panel Connectors

• Power on/off button
• 2 x USB 3.0 Ports
• 2 x USB 2.0 Ports
• 2 x Serial port (RS232)
Internal Connectors

• 1 x Minipcie port (for mSATA SSD)
• 1 x Minipcie port (for WIFI/Bluetooth Module or 3G/4G Module)
• 1 x DDR3L SO-DIMM Memory Slot
• 1 x SATA Port
• 1 x SATA power connector
• 1 x Automatically boot jumper
• 1 x SIM Card slot
Back-Panel Connectors 

• 1 x DV 12V DC input
• 2 x HDMI Connectors
• 2 x Intel RJ-45 Ports
• 2 x USB 3.0 Ports
• 1 x Speak Out & Mic In Connector
• 4 x Serial port (RS232)
Testing today...

- 2Gb DDR3 RAM installed - might go to 4Gb DDR3 RAM
- 32Gb SSD
- VGA port in front
- 2 serial to RJ-45 adapters came with it and will probably use these for the GPS

- Installed Ubuntu 18.04 desktop while connected to a small touchscreen - checked out fine
- Installed current version of PFSense via USB stick and image- checked out fine

Might make it an access point using the mini-pcie card and antennas (I have a spare here from another motherboard).
Build of Qotom Q310P hardware adds:
1 - GPS with PPS for time sync via serial port
Ublox LEA-5T-0-003 50-channel 15ns 1pps Timing GPS module WD22UGRC - Ebay price without antenna is around $20.
2 - UPS (mini) 12VDC to power Firewall, Gb Mini Switch, Modem, POE to WAP, DECT Phones and VOIP box.
Software installation of PFSense

3 - POE power splitters for DECT phone and VOIP box.
10th of June, 2019
Shutting off current combo ISP modem, installing new modem and switching over to PFSense today.  This will save a $13 / month cost on lease if ISP equipment.
Last time I did this connecting a laptop to the modem did not work such that it was a phone call to switch over to a new modem.
1st add post installation will be UPS.  PFSense will manage / monitor UPS.

11th of June, 2019

Three adds today...
  • 4Gb DDR3 SODIMM - A-Tech 4GB DDR3 1600MHz PC3-12800 204-pin SODIMM Laptop Notebook Computer Memory RAM Module   $17.00 (Amazon)
  • DIN mount plate to mount firewall and modem -VIVO Black Steel Arm Bracket Holder for Intel NUC - Back of Monitor VESA Metal Plate Mount Extension (MOUNT-VESA01)  $14.99 (Amazon)
  • GPS with RS-232 with PPS - NEO-8M GPS Satellite Positioning Module for Arduino STM32 C51 $7.49

Will utilize micro USB for 5VDC power and make up an RS232 cable with PPS.
Will take a picture once installed.
12th of June, 2019
Looking for a medium sized UPS that I can mount on a bracket on a cement wall today.
Thank you BSR.  Looking maybe now to DIY some sort of mounting bracket for the UPS.  The bracket would be mounted on cement.
So far many of the brackets I am finding are more expensive than the UPS's.
The DIN plate is for the NUC but it should work fine for mounting the PFSense box and Modem.   Will take a picture of the bracket with the PFSense box and ISP Surfboard modem.

DIN plate purchased will not work and sending back to Amazon.

I did find the correct DIN mount plate made by Qotom for all of their computers.

Only thing is that I have to order it from the UK. Price is fine. ($10 plus shipping).
I've been pleased with my Qotom Q355G4, an I5-based unit, also running pfsense.  It's really been set-and-forget reliable.  No moving parts; no fan, no spinning disc, all solid-state and totally silent.  I didn't configure any wireless as I've got Ubiquiti access points I'm happier with instead.
Yes none of the wireless cards I had would work as an AP (per PFSense list).  Not sure how well it would work in the basement anyhow.
pete_c said:
Not sure how well it would work in the basement anyhow.
Which is exactly my situation also.  Where the router's placed would be largely useless for any desired coverage. 

I'm much happier with the Ubiquiti units anyway, their management program (java app, running on the same VM that runs pi-hole DNS blocking) provides an excellent view of various wireless info/stats.
Yeah on the PFSense forum site while suggesting AP style wireless cards mostly folks do not create a wireless interface on the box.

Curious why you are using Pi-Hole when you have similiar choices in PFSense?
IE: DNS Resolver and PFBlocker.
Sent back the NUC metal DIN plate today (so easy with Amazon) and ordered the propietary DIN plate for the Quotom computer.
They are all similiarly sized and the DIN mount on the bottom is all the same.  Only thing is that I have to get it from the UK.
Tinkering here have switched over to a Ruckus AP here and might use that over there.  First time venturing away from Ubiquiti in a long time.
26th of June, 2019
Received GPS with RS-232 with PPS - NEO-8M GPS Satellite Positioning Module for Arduino STM32 C51 $7.49 today.
Tested it via micro USB connector.  Works great.
For PFSense wiring up RX/TX/Ground and PPS.  PPS will be going to Pin #1 of RS-232 connector.
Will take a picture of connections.  The GPS will be mounted next to the PFSense firewall and using a remote antenna for it.
02, July 2019
Recieved DIN mount for Qotom Q310P mini PC.  Fits perfectly and will make it easy to mount mini PC on the small network board for my endeavor.
Got two of them and will eventually utilize second one for my replacement PFSense Firewall (which is running on a mITX iSeries board) and will fit it inside of my Leviton media panel.
Small piece of plywood is used for:
1 - SBXXX Arris Gb Modem
2 - 8 port unmanaged Gb Switch'5
3 - Q310 Mini PC PFSense Firewall
4 - GPS with PPS
5 - POE PS for WAP
Noticed yesterday that the NEO-8M GPS pin output (RX, TX, Ground and PPS) are TTL level signals.
Purchased a TTL to RS-232 converter today from Amazon ($7.00)
I have left the PFSense Q310 mini PC on my home network to configure it before moving it in to place.
03, July 2019
Got the RS-232 to TTL converter.  Connect it and it is working fine.  Next have to figure out how to get the PPS from the GPS to Pin #1 of the RS-232.  Might be able to solder on the RS-232 to TTL board a little jumper wire.

Getting different sentences on one interface versus another...

USB interface see:

$GNTXT,01,01,02,u-blox AG -*4E
$GNTXT,01,01,02,HW UBX-M8030 00080000*60
$GNTXT,01,01,02,ROM CORE 3.01 (107888)*2B
$GNTXT,01,01,02,FWVER=SPG 3.01*46

Serial interface see:

$GNTXT,01,01,01,NMEA unknown msg*46
$GNTXT,01,01,01,NMEA unknown msg*46
$GNTXT,01,01,01,NMEA unknown msg*46
$GNTXT,01,01,01,NMEA unknown msg*46
$GNTXT,01,01,01,NMEA unknown msg*46

For PFSense only using the GLL sentence for time sync anyhow.