Can i install pfsense on a macmini



  • Hello,
            I have been searching on the internet on other forums and around for someone with the knowledge or know how or has done this before:-
                                                                                                                                                                                                              I want to install pfsense on a mac mini late 2012 dual core i7 
      (yes!, I know, over kill, but I don't care it is laying around doing nothing here. Bar putting a 250GB ssd in it and selling it on ebay and buying a diy box in its place then I would rather use this mac mini).
    So has anyone done this before if so I would like a walk through of the install process if possible or if there is too much of a problem with the hardware side not compatible with pfsense thanks.

    Duey


  • Galactic Empire

    VMware ESXi

    https://www.vmware.com/products/esxi-and-esx.html

    You'll need to run it as a router on a stick as there's only 1 ethernet port unless tou get a thunderbolt to ethernet adaptor, not even sure if the adaptor would be seen under the VMware hypervisor.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One-armed_router



  • @Duey182:

    Hello,
            I have been searching on the internet on other forums and around for someone with the knowledge or know how or has done this before:-
                                                                                                                                                                                                              I want to install pfsense on a mac mini late 2012 dual core i7 
      (yes!, I know, over kill, but I don't care it is laying around doing nothing here. Bar putting a 250GB ssd in it and selling it on ebay and buying a diy box in its place then I would rather use this mac mini).
    So has anyone done this before if so I would like a walk through of the install process if possible or if there is too much of a problem with the hardware side not compatible with pfsense thanks.

    Duey

    While it might be neat to make work I would sell the mini on eBay since they get 4-500 for a 2012. Use part of the money to buy the SG-3100 from Netgate. It’s a fantastic router and supports the project. Pocket the rest of the money for something else. Just what I would do.



  • @gsmornot:

    @Duey182:

    Hello,
            I have been searching on the internet on other forums and around for someone with the knowledge or know how or has done this before:-
                                                                                                                                                                                                              I want to install pfsense on a mac mini late 2012 dual core i7 
      (yes!, I know, over kill, but I don't care it is laying around doing nothing here. Bar putting a 250GB ssd in it and selling it on ebay and buying a diy box in its place then I would rather use this mac mini).
    So has anyone done this before if so I would like a walk through of the install process if possible or if there is too much of a problem with the hardware side not compatible with pfsense thanks.

    Duey

    While it might be neat to make work I would sell the mini on eBay since they get 4-500 for a 2012. Use part of the money to buy the SG-3100 from Netgate. It’s a fantastic router and supports the project. Pocket the rest of the money for something else. Just what I would do.

    Thanks for the advice but i think ill stick to this idea…..

    SG-3100
    The SG-3100 pfSense Security Gateway Appliance can be configured as a firewall, LAN or WAN router, VPN appliance, DHCP Server, DNS Server, and IDS/IPS with optional packages to deliver a high performance, high throughput front-line security appliance at an excellent price in a compact footprint. With preloaded pfSense software, the SG-3100 is a fast networking security solution unencumbered by traditional annual contracts, licensing fees, or artificial limitations. Flexibility is built in to the SG-3100 with upgrade options such as a m.2 SATA SSD, LTE cellular, or mPCIe Wi-Fi.
    A$696.00  Inc Tax

    They sound great but I don't think I would have much left over after buying this fantastic piece of equipment and as for selling the mac I won't get much more then a couple of hundred dollars Australian for it I just looked at what they were selling for same as the iPhone 8 plus won't get much here for it second hand.



  • You can also get VMware Fusion and use that as the hypervisor.  It allows you to have both the MacOS and pfSense running simultaneously.



  • @tim.mcmanus:

    You can also get VMware Fusion and use that as the hypervisor.  It allows you to have both the MacOS and pfSense running simultaneously.

    Yes I like this idea been big on VM's for a while but does it protect the net work for other machine on the net work whats the through put like and hows it set up…???
    any one have any ideas on best working set up. here is what i have so far in the way of equipment to get started I think ie:-

    mac mini  mac OS high sierra installed, VMWare Fusion 5 or 6, thunderbolt ethernet connector

    Yes this idea makes more sense to me, it probably would be better bare metal install, but much harder I think much more easier to control then bare metal install.

    So I need someone with a working walk through set up. and yes could set up server with it with cashing hmm nice...that's if it works the way I'm think it works.

    Lets see if I have this right if I install mac OS high sierra on the mac mini in question then install VMWare fusion install pfsense on fusion ware set up (Hmm there I am stuck on what to do next) now I need to setup  through put for my network to run off the mac mini running through pfsense on VMWare fusion is it even possible to such an thing i have been to a few places that state they have done this but the setup makes no sense what so ever , some have even been a lab setup on the said computer running the virtual lab not what I am after. But if  can get through put to an external switch and run a bare metal net work of up to say 2 other devices and computers or more, then I would be very happy..

    All these ideas but I can't find any walk through setups, I'll give this ago my self I think and write one my self now that will be a feat in its self for me...



  • If you don't need MacOS on the Mini (or you're able to run it as a VM), you could go the ESXi route:

    https://www.virtuallyghetto.com/2012/06/thunderbolt-ethernet-adapter-in-apple.html

    then you could just follow the bouncing ball:

    https://doc.pfsense.org/index.php/PfSense_on_VMware_vSphere_/_ESXi



  • @biggsy:

    If you don't need MacOS on the Mini (or you're able to run it as a VM), you could go the ESXi route:

    https://www.virtuallyghetto.com/2012/06/thunderbolt-ethernet-adapter-in-apple.html

    then you could just follow the bouncing ball:

    https://doc.pfsense.org/index.php/PfSense_on_VMware_vSphere_/_ESXi

    Thank you biggsy  not sure if that ESXi is gonna be a bit over my head I'll have a better look at it later before I make my mind up.



  • @Duey182:

    @biggsy:

    If you don't need MacOS on the Mini (or you're able to run it as a VM), you could go the ESXi route:

    https://www.virtuallyghetto.com/2012/06/thunderbolt-ethernet-adapter-in-apple.html

    then you could just follow the bouncing ball:

    https://doc.pfsense.org/index.php/PfSense_on_VMware_vSphere_/_ESXi

    Thank you biggsy  not sure if that ESXi is gonna be a bit over my head I'll have a better look at it later before I make my mind up.

    These are home lab situations and don't protect the host very well as far as I can see if I was to do some thing like this how would I connect my host computer to the internet  safely does it connect to the internet via vmware or what does it do, how does it work, I have read through these links and I cannot see any ting that is going to help me, but still, I cannot find any thing other than bare metal install on a mac with 2 NIC's or in my case, 1 NIC and a thunderbolt Ethernet adapter as it is I have every thing here but no walk through not to mention these sites are like 3 and 5 years old.



  • @Duey182:

    @gsmornot:

    @Duey182:

    Hello,
            I have been searching on the internet on other forums and around for someone with the knowledge or know how or has done this before:-
                                                                                                                                                                                                              I want to install pfsense on a mac mini late 2012 dual core i7 
      (yes!, I know, over kill, but I don't care it is laying around doing nothing here. Bar putting a 250GB ssd in it and selling it on ebay and buying a diy box in its place then I would rather use this mac mini).
    So has anyone done this before if so I would like a walk through of the install process if possible or if there is too much of a problem with the hardware side not compatible with pfsense thanks.

    Duey

    While it might be neat to make work I would sell the mini on eBay since they get 4-500 for a 2012. Use part of the money to buy the SG-3100 from Netgate. It’s a fantastic router and supports the project. Pocket the rest of the money for something else. Just what I would do.

    Thanks for the advice but i think ill stick to this idea…..

    SG-3100
    The SG-3100 pfSense Security Gateway Appliance can be configured as a firewall, LAN or WAN router, VPN appliance, DHCP Server, DNS Server, and IDS/IPS with optional packages to deliver a high performance, high throughput front-line security appliance at an excellent price in a compact footprint. With preloaded pfSense software, the SG-3100 is a fast networking security solution unencumbered by traditional annual contracts, licensing fees, or artificial limitations. Flexibility is built in to the SG-3100 with upgrade options such as a m.2 SATA SSD, LTE cellular, or mPCIe Wi-Fi.
    A$696.00  Inc Tax

    They sound great but I don't think I would have much left over after buying this fantastic piece of equipment and as for selling the mac I won't get much more then a couple of hundred dollars Australian for it I just looked at what they were selling for same as the iPhone 8 plus won't get much here for it second hand.

    Not sure what you looked at but the SG-3100 is $349. Add $43 if you buy their SSD.



  • @gsmornot:

    @Duey182:

    @gsmornot:

    @Duey182:

    Hello,
            I have been searching on the internet on other forums and around for someone with the knowledge or know how or has done this before:-
                                                                                                                                                                                                              I want to install pfsense on a mac mini late 2012 dual core i7 
      (yes!, I know, over kill, but I don't care it is laying around doing nothing here. Bar putting a 250GB ssd in it and selling it on ebay and buying a diy box in its place then I would rather use this mac mini).
    So has anyone done this before if so I would like a walk through of the install process if possible or if there is too much of a problem with the hardware side not compatible with pfsense thanks.

    Duey

    While it might be neat to make work I would sell the mini on eBay since they get 4-500 for a 2012. Use part of the money to buy the SG-3100 from Netgate. It’s a fantastic router and supports the project. Pocket the rest of the money for something else. Just what I would do.

    Thanks for the advice but i think ill stick to this idea…..

    SG-3100
    The SG-3100 pfSense Security Gateway Appliance can be configured as a firewall, LAN or WAN router, VPN appliance, DHCP Server, DNS Server, and IDS/IPS with optional packages to deliver a high performance, high throughput front-line security appliance at an excellent price in a compact footprint. With preloaded pfSense software, the SG-3100 is a fast networking security solution unencumbered by traditional annual contracts, licensing fees, or artificial limitations. Flexibility is built in to the SG-3100 with upgrade options such as a m.2 SATA SSD, LTE cellular, or mPCIe Wi-Fi.
    A$696.00  Inc Tax

    They sound great but I don't think I would have much left over after buying this fantastic piece of equipment and as for selling the mac I won't get much more then a couple of hundred dollars Australian for it I just looked at what they were selling for same as the iPhone 8 plus won't get much here for it second hand.

    Not sure what you looked at but the SG-3100 is $349. Add $43 if you buy their SSD.

    https://adsldirect.com.au/index.php?rt=product/category&path=72



  • Cut out the middle man.
    With AU$1.00 = US$0.78 (actually it was over 0.79 yesterday) you're looking at around AU$450 + shipping for the SG3100.
    I suspect shipping isn't going to cost you ~AU$200.

    ESXi takes over the physical NICs and presents virtual ones to the VMs.  Quite safe.  Lots of people virtualize pfSense under ESXi.
    While those links are quite old, the pfSense one has been updated for later versions of ESXi.  Support for the T-bolt NIC is almost certainly still there in ESXi 6.5.



  • @Duey182:

    @tim.mcmanus:

    You can also get VMware Fusion and use that as the hypervisor.  It allows you to have both the MacOS and pfSense running simultaneously.

    Yes I like this idea been big on VM's for a while but does it protect the net work for other machine on the net work whats the through put like and hows it set up…???
    any one have any ideas on best working set up. here is what i have so far in the way of equipment to get started I think ie:-

    mac mini  mac OS high sierra installed, VMWare Fusion 5 or 6, thunderbolt ethernet connector

    Yes this idea makes more sense to me, it probably would be better bare metal install, but much harder I think much more easier to control then bare metal install.

    So I need someone with a working walk through set up. and yes could set up server with it with cashing hmm nice...that's if it works the way I'm think it works.

    Lets see if I have this right if I install mac OS high sierra on the mac mini in question then install VMWare fusion install pfsense on fusion ware set up (Hmm there I am stuck on what to do next) now I need to setup  through put for my network to run off the mac mini running through pfsense on VMWare fusion is it even possible to such an thing i have been to a few places that state they have done this but the setup makes no sense what so ever , some have even been a lab setup on the said computer running the virtual lab not what I am after. But if  can get through put to an external switch and run a bare metal net work of up to say 2 other devices and computers or more, then I would be very happy..

    All these ideas but I can't find any walk through setups, I'll give this ago my self I think and write one my self now that will be a feat in its self for me...

    I'll post some setup steps later today.



  • Hi. Just seen came across this post. I know it’s 9 months old now but just thought I would share.

    I was in the same place. A Mac mini just sitting around doing nothing and wanted to set up pfSence. I had no requirements for running macOS on this box at the same time.

    The Mac mini only has the one NIC as we all know. I had a USB nic laying around so thought I would give that a go. Hooked up monitor, keyboard etc. Created a bootable USB stick installer and went for it.

    Everything just worked. No issues at all. I have since replace the USB nic for a Thunderbolt to gigabit one and has been at the front of my network ever since.

    Only other change to my Mac mini is I upgraded the primary hard drive to a 128GB SSD that was spare and disconnected the second (was a Mac mini server) as it was not needed and would just generate heat.

    So short story. Yes pfSense runs fine on Mac mini hardware.