• How is this kind of card used ?
  • Is it used to make a computer used as a real switch ?
  • Or does it just bring 4 NICs ?

I want to use a server as router (need 4 NICs) can I use this card ? Are the performances good ?


Edit :

Sorry for being imprecise ! I'm talking about the type of card ! No that particular card ! By the way, I found the answer :

As a PCI-Express option card, it can be used to add scalable switched networking capabilities to any embedded system design with either "x8" or "x16" PCI-Express slots

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3 Answers 3


I cant tell what that part is by looking at it but answering the question on the router... The cheapest way is to buy four realtek-based NICs and put those in a box and gain very acceptable performance. A more costly and recommended option is to buy intel-based NICs. Desktop NICs do a very good job but server NICs may have some features that windows-users might have use for. The most expensive option is to buy one four-port server NIC.

Then there is another option, that is absolutely most flexible. One NIC, VLAN capable operating system and a VLAN capable ethernet switch. VLANs make my life so much easier and by using linux as router OS, I can do anything. I could, if I wanted, make every switch-port in my office show up as individual ethernet-devices, in their own isolated virtual LANs, in my router.

There are many options but the pricetag usually determines which option is suitable. I'd go for the one NIC and VLAN capable ethernet-switch, which can cost as much as one intel server NIC.


That looks to me like a card designed to plug into a router or firewall rather than a PC.


Re using a server as a router: yes you can do it and there's lots of software around to do it. A friend of mine has used Zebra (http://www.zebra.org/) and is very pleased with it. However bearing in mind that Cisco 2600s can be bought on eBay for not very much money wouldn't it be better to just buy a second hand Cisco?

  • Right. It's not clear if he ask for this card or for card in general.
    – radius
    Jul 10, 2009 at 7:51
  • I don't think 2600s will do gigabit without a 2-port Gigabit ethernet module, which bumps the price up beyond what a basic PC and a couple of gigabit cards would cost.
    – RainyRat
    Jul 10, 2009 at 10:13
  • @RainyRat: true, but it seems odd to use GHz cards in a router. How many WAN links have you seen that are even 100MHz let alone a Gig? You could be using routing on a LAN I suppose, though that seems an odd thing to do. If at all possible you'd use a switch. Jul 10, 2009 at 10:27
  • It makes sense in a multi-site LAN (i.e, several buildings, all on the same street but not next door to each other), where you want to segment bits of the network and don't use VLANs.
    – RainyRat
    Jul 10, 2009 at 14:36

the real question is why 4 ports if you want to make a router out of a server / PC / whatever you only need 2 interfaces and as was said you can even narrow it down if you put wan and lan interfaces in diffrent vlan ( not that it would be a secure as a user could inject packets with fake vlan tag at the switch lvl if the switch is not too secure)

also the first thing you should mention is what kind of server you have ( the model and the specs / available buses for nic interfaces ) and the second thing is why a server : servers do not have high networking ability... network devices have dedicated chips to do these things.

as was said linux ... or routerOS or whatever really , you just need to be able to masquarade/nat / route and or forward packets.

post revival ... 8 years old ...

  • The asker did specifically mention needing 4 ports ("need 4 NICs"). Do you have some links/background about performance (or some experiences) you can share? Mar 19, 2017 at 9:53

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