2.2. Supported Standard PC-Based Hardware

SmallWall will run on any standard x86 PC that supports at least two network interfaces.

2.2.1. Minimum Requirements

486 processor - Any 486 or higher processor is sufficient for SmallWall. Exactly how much processor you will need for your particular implementation varies depending on your Internet connection bandwidth, number of simultaneous connections required, what features you will use, etc. For most deployments, a 486 or Pentium processor is sufficient.

128 MB of RAM - 128 MB RAM is the official suggested minimum. The CD version of SmallWall has been reported to work fine for some people with only 64 MB. When using the CompactFlash or hard drive versions of SmallWall, expect upgrades to fail with less than 128 MB. This is because SmallWall stores everything in RAM and uses no swap space - when it runs out of RAM, it has nothing to fall back on.

2.2.2. Recommended System BIOS Changes

There are some BIOS settings that may need to be changed for SmallWall to function properly.

Plug and Play OS

Most system BIOS have a setting for "Plug and Play OS" or something similar. This should always be set to "no" or "disable". With this setting turned off, the BIOS assigns system resources rather than leaving that up to the OS. FreeBSD (and hence SmallWall) works best when the BIOS handles this task.

Disabling Unnecessary Devices

You most likely won't have to worry about this, but if you have hardware-related issues, we recommend disabling all unnecessary devices in the BIOS, such as onboard sound, and in some cases parallel ports, serial ports, and other unused devices. If you aren't using it, it is safe to disable it.

ACPI - Advanced Configuration and Power Interface

Sometimes ACPI options can cause booting problems. If you have these, disabling it can help.

2.2.3. Storage Medium

SmallWall will run off of a CompactFlash card, hard drive, USB stick or CD with floppy or USB stick to store the configuration.


At least an 16 MB CompactFlash card is required.

USB Stick (Thumb Drive)

At least an 16 MB USB stick can be used to boot SmallWall.

Hard Drive

Any IDE or SCSI (with supported controller) hard drive will work fine with SmallWall.

CD and floppy/usb setup

Any IDE, SATA or SCSI (with supported controller) CD-ROM or DVD drive will work with SmallWwall. Some USB attached CD-ROMs will work, and others have problems. Also required for this setup is a 1.44 MB floppy drive with blank floppy disk or a USB stick formatted with MS-DOS/FAT file system. Any standard floppy drive will work. For this setup, you must have a PC that supports booting from CD-ROM.

Zip drive

SmallWall can run the hard drive image from a Zip drive. Write the disk the same way you would write a hard drive.