Inexpensive 4x 2.5GbE Fanless Router Firewall Enclosure Review

Hunsn 4 Port 2.5GbE I225 Intel J4125 Firewall Box Ports NIC

Over the past few weeks the new pfSense CE 2.6.0 has been released and this has allowed us to more directly use a machine we purchased some time ago. There is a cheap Intel i225 (B3) 4x 2.5 GbE machine that now works with pfSense. OS support as a whole isn’t too mature, but Ubuntu works on those as well. It looks like it might be time to upgrade to an inexpensive 2.5 GbE firewall. Let’s get into the box and what it offers.

Inexpensive 4x 2.5GbE Fanless Router Firewall Enclosure Review

We actually have a little video accompanying this one where we get into the experience, as well as how it compares to an ISP provided router and WiFi unit. You can find the video here:

As always, we suggest you open it in its own YouTube tab, window, or app for the best viewing experience.

The box itself goes by several names. Here is the unit we have on Amazon (affiliate link) and we’ll note that it was quite expensive for the 8GB/256GB configuration. We only recommend getting that much storage and memory if you have a good reason for a box, but since we also wanted to use it with Linux until pfSense support came, we used the extra capacity.

Screenshot Amazon Hunsn 2.5GbE J4125
Screenshot Amazon Hunsn 2.5GbE J4125

The tricky part is that the same motherboard at the heart of this system is used in many systems with different exteriors. We ordered the cheaper Topton version with a larger heatsink chassis through AliExpress, but it’s been a slow trip across the Pacific Ocean, apparently via a lobster.

Screenshot AliExpress Topton 2.5GbE J4125
Screenshot AliExpress Topton 2.5GbE J4125

We also have a few other smaller heatsinks, but our best advice is to look at the USB, VGA, and HDMI sides to make sure it’s that motherboard. Also, you’ll want to make sure you get the same revision of Intel i225 NICs and probably the Intel Celeron J4125 as we do. Then it’s a matter of cost. Now let’s move on to that hardware to see what we got.

Hardware Overview of Cheap 4x 2.5GbE Fanless Router Firewall Enclosure

Let’s start with the star of the show. This palm-sized box (you can see it in my hand in the video) has four ports, ETH0-ETH3. Each is a 2.5GbE port, a big upgrade over the previous generation 1GbE models that many of our STH drives use. We also have status LEDs and a 12V DC input on this side.

Hunsn 4 Port 2.5GbE I225 Intel J4125 Firewall Box Ports NIC

The other side has the power button. Our unit was set to turn on immediately on AC, which is always nice. We also have two USB 3 ports, an HDMI port and a VGA port. This unit has no out-of-band management, and that’s a good thing.

Hunsn 4 Port 2.5GbE I225 Intel J4125 Firewall Box Display and USB Ports
Hunsn 4 Port 2.5GbE I225 Intel J4125 Firewall Box Display and USB Ports

A quick note is that there is also a reset switch and there are two covers for the WiFi antenna holes. We don’t generally recommend Wi-Fi in this box, and just tell our readers to use dedicated hotspots. If you spend a few hundred dollars on a firewall, you probably have dedicated WiFi hotspots as well.

The chassis is not completely closed, there are actually air vents on the side.

Hunsn 4 Port 2.5GbE I225 Intel J4125 Firewall Box Angle
Hunsn 4 Port 2.5GbE I225 Intel J4125 Firewall Box Angle

Cooling, however, is provided by the metal chassis with the small heatsink on top. This unit absolutely drank power, with most of our usage being in the single-digit watt range.

Hunsn 4 Port 2.5GbE I225 Intel J4125 Firewall Box Top Heatsink
Hunsn 4 Port 2.5GbE I225 Intel J4125 Firewall Box Top Heatsink

The processor is an Intel Celeron J4125 quad-core processor with a 2.0 GHz base and a 2.7 GHz turbo clock. It is part of the Gemini Lake Refresh series of processors. As it is an Atom part, it has a paltry maximum TDP of 10W.

Inside the system we have a few components. One that we won’t talk much about is that there is a SATA data and power configuration, and one can mount a 2.5″ drive on the lid. We have an mSATA drive instead.

Hunsn 4 Port 2.5GbE I225 Intel J4125 Firewall Box Internal Angle
Hunsn 4 Port 2.5GbE I225 Intel J4125 Firewall Box Internal Angle

Here is a photo of the inside of the system. The network adapters are Intel i225-V SLNMH units, which means they are stage B3. Previous stages of the i225 required new stages for stability.

Hunsn 4 Port 2.5GbE I225 Intel J4125 Internal Firewall Box with SATA Cable
Hunsn 4 Port 2.5GbE I225 Intel J4125 Internal Firewall Box with SATA Cable

Here we can see the single 8GB DDR4 SODIMM and our 256GB SSD. Again, this is overkill for most pfSense or OPNsense appliances, but if you want to run Linux it might make sense.

Hunsn 4 Port 2.5GbE I225 Intel J4125 Firewall Box 256GB SSD and 8GB SODIMM
Hunsn 4 Port 2.5GbE I225 Intel J4125 Firewall Box 256GB SSD and 8GB SODIMM

We can also see a slot for a SIM card and a slot for a WiFi card. Again, we’re just suggesting getting external WiFi here.

Next, let’s move on to the software.


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Steven L. Nielsen