Using pfSense as Firewall/Router on ESXi



  • AT&T Gateway –---------------- ESXi Box with pfSense VM
              |                                                    |
              |                                                    |
              |                                                    |
              |                                                    |
              |                                                    |
          Switch -------------------------------|
              |
              |
              |
              |
              |
    DD-WRT Router ------------------------ WAP

    That's the setup I currently have to have to get WAN access from the LAN. If I disconnect the AT&T Gateway from the switch, not only do I lose access to the WAN, but to the ESXi box. When I disconnect the Gateway from the ESXi box but leave it on the switch, I lose WAN and ESXi access again. What could cause me to need both to access the ESXi box and prevent WAN access without the gateway-to-switch connection?

    The subnet for the gateway is 255.255.0.0.
    The WAN IP for the ESXi box is in the gateway's dhcp range, as is the WAN IP for pfSense.
    The subnet for pfSense is 255.255.128.0.
    The WAN IP for the dd-wrt router is in pfSense's dhcp range.
    The LAN IP for the dd-wrt router is in the gateway's subnet, but not in that of the ESXi box (is this a problem?).
    The LAN IP for the WAP is in the dhcp range of dd-wrt.


  • LAYER 8 Global Moderator

    why would you not do it this way

    gateway -  wan esxibox - switch wap

    If you can not put your "gateway" in bridge mode then use 192.168.A/24 on wan side of pfsense vm, on lan side use 192.168.B/24

    Using a /16 anywhere on a lan is mostly going to be WRONG.. In what scenario would you ever have or want 65k some devices on the same layer 2?

    On your esxi box your vmkern vswitch can the same as your normal lan vswitch or it could be different and still be on your 192.168.B/24 network..

    I have no idea what your wanting/trying to do with your dd-wrt – sure you could use it as a AP, it has no use of a router if your going to use pfsense vm on your esxi host both for your vms and your physical network.  That is how I run mine.



  • The dd-wrt router is the old router I was using before this setup. It's in a closet and I intend to use it mostly like a switch when everything else is good. I could replace it with a switch, but I don't think I'll spend the extra money right now.

    As far as which subnets to use, I'm just learning this all on my own, so it's just that I don't know what I'm doing. I believe the gateway was set up with the /16 from at&t. If I should change it I will.


  • LAYER 8 Global Moderator

    I find it highly unlikely that some isp gateway has a /16 mask.. Default networks on all of those devices are almost always 192.168.0/24 or 192.16.1/24 –- always /24

    If you want to use it as a switch/AP sure go ahead but your setup is still makes no sense.  Your going to have to port forward if you want anything outside your esxi host to talk to any vms behind pfsense.  Why would you not just leverage pfsense vm as your router/firewall for your whole network?


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