Segmenting a network with Subnets and VLANs

  • If I have a router that has multiple extra ports, but I do not have a managed switch, is it possible for me to just use the router and the extra nics to set up the VLANs?

    If it is not possible, and I want to segment my network, do I basically need to plug in all the different ethernet ports connected to the areas of the network I want to connect to into separate switches, and then plug them into the different nics?

  • Rebel Alliance Global Moderator

    if you do not have smart switch that does vlans then yes you would need multiple switches.

    While you could just plug all your interfaces into the same dumb switch and run different networks.  This would be running multiple layer 3 over the same layer 2 and that is a BORKED configuration.

    So get as smart switch that can do vlans, and then yes you can put all your different nics on your router in different vlans.  Or use multiple dumb switches plugged into your different nics and you can provide separation that way.

  • Awesome, guess I need a smart Switch.

  • So if i'm looking at buying a smart or fully managed switch, would my best bet be to buy a smart switch and let the pfSense do the routing between vlans?

    Would that mean I would connect the smart switch to just a single interface of the pfSense? Or is it a better idea to use multiple interfaces?

  • Moderator

    @Atreides: That depends on how you want to structure your network. If you want to achieve something like a "core" concept (e.g. a bigger level 3 switch as switching and routing central normally with a big trunk towards the firewall), you'd need a fully managed switch.
    Pro: you can normally route on the core much faster than on a filtering firewall
    Con: complexity, quite often the "filtering" those switches do are not nicely configurable (bad GUI or CLI and complex rules necessary if you do want to filter between networks)

    Normally in anything less than a bigger corporate network, you can go with a smart switch that can do VLAN and do the routing/filtering in pfSense. I'd doubt you would need the performance and complexity of a level 3 switch :)


  • Well I found a slightly used tp link 24 port L2 managed switch for $240, VLAN heaven here I come!