Problems setting up pfsense with Virgin Media (UK) cable modem

  • Hey,

    I'm not sure at all what we're doing wrong here. We've tried ipcop and pfsense and can't ever seem to get an IP address from Virgin Media. In either case we've had the cable modem's ethernet cable connected to the designated WAN port on the box but had no luck. Releasing and renewing comes back with Is there anything specific we need to do with Virgin Media?


  • Cable modems usually only allow a certain number of MACs to communicate over them.
    What you could try:
    Unplug the modem: plug in the pfSense, wait until it's fully booted.
    Connect the network cable from pfSense to the modem.
    Plug in the modem.

    Also make sure you dont have a switch in between with a webinterface or something similar.
    If your modem only allows 1 MAC it could happen that your switch is on this "allow-list" and not the pfSense.

  • You have to power cycle the modem AFTER you have attached it to the router. This new MAC will then be sent to NTL for them to assign an address to it. For some reason a release/renew isn’t enough to force the MAC to be refreshed.
    Typical scenario, you connect up your laptop to the modem and confirm it is working, you then move the patch lead from your laptop to the router, release/renew and NTL/VIRGIN still has the MAC of your laptop assigned to your modem. Pull the power on the modem and then you should be in bizzo.


    PS: One of my modems is playing up today, could just be Virgin throwing a spanner in your works  ;)

  • Hey,

    Thanks for the advice - we were already doing something very similar before, but tried things exactly as suggested here (plus set the DHCP server address, and tried a different network card for the wan interface) and something must have worked because it seems to be running fine now :) we were assigned an address and it's been great ever since. pfSense definitely solved the problem of the crappy VM-supplied netgear router not being able to handle torrenting (and barely being able to handle 20meg in general).

    Cheers guys!

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