Are Virtual wireless networks possible?



  • Hello,

    I am trying to setup a home network, complete with segregated wifi networks for various mobile devices.  I'd like to have multiple wifi networks (multiple SSIDs), specifically a 2.4 ghz network and a 5 ghz network. My intentions are so legacy devices can connect on the 2.4 ghz band, and high performance/newer devices can connect to the 5ghz band (and down the road a third wifi network that pipes through OpenVPN, but that is outside the scope of this post).  Also, another guest wifi would be nice to have as well.

    My setup is a Dell Optiplex 390, with an ethernet card and this pcie wifi card, that supports 2.4 and 5 ghz bands (atheros chipset).
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B071K8P4Z4

    I'd like to keep my setup to ONLY one box, meaning NO external access point.  I have done this in the past using virtual wireless interfaces via TomatoUSB on a NightHawk R7000, so I know this is possible, I just feel like I'm too limited in pfSense to accomplish this task.

    My question is: Is the limitation with my wifi card/chipset? or is this an inherent limitation in pfSense?

    I've attached a picture of my TomatoUSB wifi setup. The SSID "The Promised LAN" is on the same wireless interface as SSID "Tomato50" and the last SSID, "ZIKA2-NN" is the only one on a 2.4 ghz band.  How could I accomplish the same thing in pfSense?

    I've also attached another screen shot of the VLAN menu that is currently available to me.  Notice that I cannot add a virtual interface to the wifi module, as it is not available in the menu (its name is wlan0, or ath0).

    Would I be able to make a virtual wifi interface in the command line in order to get this to work?
    Again, I don't want an external AP, so if you're going to post only to tell me to buy an AP, then just don't post at all, please.

    Thank you for any help on resolving my issue. 




  • Rebel Alliance

    "with an ethernet card and this pcie wifi card,"

    Waste of time and effort… Freebsd, therefore pfsense support of wifi is horrible..

    Save yourself time and effort and frustration and just get an AP that supports vlans.. Now you can do exactly what you want with no muss or fuss.

    If this has to be done on a shoestring budget then get some old wifi router that supports 3rd party firmware that does vlans..  But to be honest if you want good wifi, and vlan support then spend a couple of bucks and get appropriate hardware.. The unifi AC lite model retails for like $80... Can do 8 ssid per radio.. Can even do radius assigned vlans so you can really do almost unlimited vlans for your wifi clients.  You can even do MAB assigned vlans on your psk networks so again you can assign vlan to device based on its mac, etc.

    When you need a screwdriver to do a job - you don't just use the hammer you have in your toolbelt.  Use the proper tool for the job..



  • I found my issue.  The R7000 netgear wireless router actually does have 2 wireless interfaces/radios (over 3 antennas). I'm not sure how they do that, but it explains why I could have one wireless network running on 2.4 ghz, and another one running at 5ghz on the same unit, with virtual wireless networks (multiple SSIDs per both frequencies).

    I was able to make a second SSID on my wireless interface just fine, with potentially a different WPA2 password, however I could not put it on a different frequency.  Once I made a change to the channel number, txpower, or frequency, it changed it on BOTH interfaces, which is super annoying.  I think this is either a hardware limitation with the PCIe card, an OS limitation in BSD, or a driver limitation of sorts.  Either way, pfSense is working as intended, and I am just not fully understanding everything.

    Are there PCIe cards with 2 radios available? I believe my card only supports SISO, are there any that natively support MIMO? Would I need a 3 antenna card for this?

    Would this card support what I am trying to do? ie simultaneous 2.4ghz and 5ghz?
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0721MRS47/ref=ask_ql_qh_dp_hza


    @johnpoz - No thanks for your response. I explicitly said in my original post "NO external access point" so I wouldn't get comments like this.  Again please refer to my original post, that says the following:

    if you're going to post only to tell me to buy an AP, then just don't post at all, please


  • Rebel Alliance

    Good luck

    • I would suggest you read up on how wifi actually works as well..

    " 2 wireless interfaces/radios (over 3 antennas). I'm not sure how they do that"



  • Many APs (avoid TP-Link) support multiple SSIDs & VLANs.  You assign the different SSIDs to the LAN or VLANs as appropriate and configure pfsense to use VLANs.  This is the way it's normally done.



  • @Chwaee:

    … second SSID ... different WPA2 password, however I could not put it on a different frequency ... which is super annoying.
    I think this is either a hardware limitation with the PCIe card, an OS limitation in BSD, or a driver limitation of sorts.

    Technical suggestion: it's a limitation of the admin to understand how WiFi with multiple SSIDs on the same wireless NIC works.

    Multi-SSIDs will always be the same channel. It just broadcasts a different SSID simultaneously, which obviously happens on the same frequency/channel.

    You have already been told that FreeBSD's support for WiFi is "minimal" at best. Keep that in mind before posting something about limited wireless config options or less than expected WiFi throughput and such.
    Best option is to buy a used Ruckus 7372/7982 on eBay for $40 and forget about all WiFi troubles. Even though you don't wanna hear that.

    You have been warned…


 

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