Using mac pro as router

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Powermange, Oct 1, 2013.

  1. Powermange macrumors member


    Oct 1, 2013
    Hi i have an eight core 4,1 which is always on for home server duties. It has osx server installed. Im loking to upgrade the network hardware at home. I have an original time capsule for router and Wlan. I want more ethernet ports, PoE for cameras etc plus speed. The MP is now home to all time machine backups.
    Initially I was looking to get a good bog standard home use router in the livingroom (maybe an ASUS RT-AC56U) and add a PoE switch in the basement for MP cameras home control etc. (Probably a Netgear GS 108PE).

    But here is the thing! I got curious!

    With the two NIC's on the MP it would be easy to connect my fiber lan isp to one port use the MP and osx server as router and connect second port to switch. Eliminating need for separate router. For Wlan would need an Access Point connected to switch i guess, PoE ideally. Are they fast enough via PoE or fast (N or even ac) AP need PoE+?

    Is there any extra advantages to this approach? Cost comparison? Router or AP would probably be similar. Is range better with dedicated AP? Can the MP server do more than todays smart switch? How much would it drain the server? (8 core 2,26 48 gb ram 500 gb ssd). Better security? Im looking to move our webshop from webhotel to own server this matter at all to either approach? (Probably not a good idea in any case but...)

    I remember back in the day maybe ten years ago switches were expensive but now theyre cheap and smart too so is it better to buy dedicated hardware?
  2. ActionableMango macrumors G3


    Sep 21, 2010
    I prefer a dedicated router. Otherwise when you are futzing around with the MP your family and all the other devices in the house will lose their Internet connection.

    Also I prefer the MP to be on the inside of the router's firewall; by using the MP as the router, it is connected directly to the Internet, so I'd be really concerned about how I use it, what I enable on it, and what is stored on it.

    Lastly, routers these days also include a wireless access point and a switch, things you would have to buy anyway if you were using the MP. (Well, I suppose you could use the MP's Airport card as a wireless access point, but the reception on those is not great.)

    Really the only advantage I can think of for using a MP as a router is that the MP can handle a lot more traffic than a consumer level router. If your web server is attracting thousands of simultaneous connections, you might be exceeding the resources available to a typical consumer router.
  3. ScottishCaptain macrumors 6502a

    Oct 4, 2008
    Buy a nice Routerboard.

    You cannot beat the software capabilities and reliability of these machines for anything in that price range (they kick the **** out of high-end Cisco gear that costs 100x as much). I use these machines, and I can't put into words how awesome those units are.

    As for the Mac Pro, forget about it.

    Mac OS X Server is quite possibly the worst operating system on the planet that you could hope to use for a router (next to Windows Server 2003 running Microsoft IAS 2006). The lack of configurability is absolutely insane and that alone should be a big enough reason not to use it.

    Seriously, leave your OS X Server as a server. Buy a dedicated router, preferably a Routerboard, and forget about this. You are asking for a world of pain by trying to use OS X for that instead.

  4. monkeybagel macrumors 65816

    Jul 24, 2011
    United States
    As other have said, a dedicated router/firewall would be a better option. For home use, it is hard to beat the current AirPort Extreme devices and their transmit power. All of my non-AC devices are getting much better wireless throughput and range with this device over any other home router/AP that I have used.

    If you want a higher end device you could go with a Cisco ASA5505 and it would offer some additional security, but probably nothing needed for home use.

    I would recommend the AirPort Extreme over any other device I have used at home (Netgear, Linksys (not sure why Cisco put their name on this stuff).

    A dedicated device will have many more configuration options than OS X will for port forwarding, etc. It just makes sense to use a dedicated device.

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