Connecting AP directly to pfSense

  • Hey, I'm moving from a consumer router to pfSense + AP. My box has a i340-t4 NIC (simply because that's what was available at the time). Here's the thing, the only place I have need for (or, want for, rather) wired ethernet is in my TV-bench (receiver, smart-tv, consoles etc), so I was planning to run cable from my pfSense-box to my TV-bench and keep the switch in there. The "problem" is that where the TV-bench is placed in my house is really far from optimal placement of an AP. And I rather not have to run a cable first from pfSense to TV-switch and then back again from the switch to where I want the AP. The pfSense-box however is placed at a much more optimal location and I could easily just run a wire from a 3rd port on my pfSense to the AP. Will this setup punish performance in any way? Should the AP be connected to the switch instead? Part of my reason for asking is wanting both a normal WLAN and a guest WLAN with only internet-access and no LAN-access. I figure this is best done through use of VLANs, but my knowledge of VLANs is pretty basic, and much of my reasoning for using pfSense is to learn new things, VLAN being one of them. I know switching is better done by switches and so on, so are there any benefits in letting the switch do all of the work or will it work just fine putting the AP directly in pfSense? Am I better off putting a managed switch with the pfSense-box to connect the AP to, and putting a dumb switch in the TV-bench?

    I'm fairly certain this topic has been covered before, and I really did search the forums, reddit and other places, but somehow I never found a clear answer. Maybe it's because english is not my native language and there's alot of jargon and terminology I'm somehow not grasping correctly :)

  • LAYER 8 Netgate

    Put a switch by pfSense and connect your bench switch to that. Both of the managed type. Then you can put APs at both locations if you like.

  • Yeah, I edited that into my post just as you replied to it. I guess the question then boils down to, what are the drawbacks of putting my AP directly into pfSense as opposed to buying a second switch. Asking mostly for education here. The costs of a second switch are fairly negligible.

  • LAYER 8 Netgate

    You will have to bridge router interfaces to get wifi networks on the same broadcast domain as any other router interfaces.

    Sub-optimal. Use a switch. Tag VLANs to it. Use your switching layer for what it is supposed to be used for.

  • Thank you very much. One last question, mostly because I'm curious if I understand it correctly. If I put a dumb switch with the TV, as opposed to a managed one since I have no use for any VLAN down there, the only consequence would be that I couldn't connect an AP to that particular switch and get VLANs working with it?

  • LAYER 8 Netgate

    Yeah. Send an untagged VLAN to it from the managed switch and all ports on it will be on that VLAN. Can be any VLAN on the managed switch as long as it's connected to an untagged port.

  • Cheers. This was actually very helpful, thanks for taking the time.

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