PPPoE - Connection drops - needs full reboot to bring it back up

  • I've got a box running pfSense 2.4.4-release.

    This box has been running trouble free for about 4 years now until about last week when it randomly stopped working from time to time. It seems that PPPoE just stops. The internet connection is delivered over fiber with a media converter from the ISP to a copper RJ45, then we plug our pfsense directly into it and setup a sub-interface on VLAN10 and do PPPoE over this interface.

    So far I have done the following

    1. Replace pfSense hardware thinking its failing
    2. Replace all power calbes
    3. Replace all patch leads with new ones

    Remote end (ISP side) just shows PPP drop, nothing worthwhile. Here's system log. The outage happened roughly 08:34 local time. By 08:39 I talked someone through rebooting the gear on-site and it's back up. Note that log entires are newest-on-top.

    Any ideas on whats happening here?


  • Hello, Breakaway!

    Something very similar happened with me a few months ago. The PPPoE just wouldn't connect. I checked my cables and everything, but no luck.

    I called my ISP and they asked me to get a notebook and connect it directly to the Fiber Modem/Media Converter and try authenticating through Windows, and it also wasn't connecting (by this time I still didn't have this pfSense box, I was using a Mikrotik RouterBoard), so they determined that the issue was probably on the Fiber between the light pole and my house, so they sent two technicians.

    And sure enough, after they replaced both ends (one of them even twice), it worked like a charm, and is working until now. (BTW, the connection was doing OK for almost a year, then this happened. a bad connector. and no, I haven't touched it.)

    So, try giving them a call and ask them to test the signal strength on your end, and see if it helps. Also, before that, you can try using a notebook or a computer to authenticate directly on the Media Converter, as I did (you'll need the PPPoE credentials).

    I wish you a good luck!


  • Hi henrique, I have logged a job with the upstream provider now. I also suspect the fault is with either the fiber or their GPON converter (they don't let us plug directly into their network, they actually have a GPON modem/converter device that the fiber plugs into then our pfSense plugs into that.

    My issue isn't pfSense not connecting but rather randomly dropping. At first I thought it happens under load but the connection was fine all night (night time is way more load because of off-site backups) but then dropped at about 8 am as the first people were trickling into our office.

    Let's see what they come back with.

  • Honestly, I don't know if the bad connector was the cause, but for quite some time before it completely broke, I also had a lot of (PPPoE) connection drops.. sometimes even twice a day, and taking up to 30 minutes to come back, but some of it could just have been an unexpected maintenance on their side, or bad configuration at mine (since I was still learning how to properly set up the Mikrotik), I don't know.

    So, yeah, that may be it. =)

    Keep me updated!


  • On Friday, I installed the Realtek v1.95 driver referenced in this thread. https://forum.netgate.com/topic/135850/official-realtek-driver-binary-1-95-for-2-4-4-release/13

    The connection has been up for almost 48 hours now. I’m guessing that this issue was that the Realtek drivers built into pfSense just don’t work properly.

  • Netgate Administrator

    It will be interesting to see if that allows it to come up when it does go down for whatever reason.
    Though you would hope that has removed the previous cause of it going down in the first place.


  • The ISP claimed the RX & TX power is looking good from their end. It may be that there is nothing wrong with their equipment, it could just be idiosyncrasies in the realtek driver.

    This only appears to impact a specific use case, when doing PPPoE interface on top of a VLAN interface. I have other connections that are DHCP or Static IP - those are all fine.

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