Wifi hotspot as backup WAN interface?



  • We have a business cable connection in a terrible area with no competition, which costs over $500/month and often has downtime. I'd like the ability to switch the WAN connection over from the cable modem to a 4G LTE phone with wifi hotspot when the wired connection to the WAN from our ISP goes down. This way it is a seamless transition for the 100+ devices connected to the LAN at the router level. It wouldn't be optimal, but better than nothing during the frequent downtime.

    If I were to pick up a machine that had two LAN interfaces and one wifi interface, would this be doable? Telling pfsense to use the cable connection for WAN, but being able to disable that on will and have pfsense box's wifi interface connect to a wifi network and use that for WAN when the cable connection goes down?

    Thank you, and my apologies if this has already been documented or discussed.


  • Rebel Alliance Developer Netgate

    It would work the same as any wireless WAN. Though you'd want to keep gateway monitoring disabled so it doesn't needlessly consume your tethering/hotspot data. Since it's your secondary/backup WAN that won't make any functional difference to how it operates for you.

    Wireless WANs can be OK, but honestly it's better to use a wired connection to a "myfi" or similar device that handles the wireless in an abstracted way and uses an Ethernet (not USB!) handoff to the firewall.


  • LAYER 8 Global Moderator

    Yeah wouldn't it be easier to just get something like this LTE modem.
    https://www.amazon.com/NETGEAR-LTE-Modem-Broadband-Connection/dp/B01N5ASNTE
    $120

    And then connect that to a ethernet wan port on pfsense and use it as your backup link?  A device like this has to be better than a hot spot running off a phone ;)


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