Routing 169.254 Networks

  • I know that network are link-local only and are not supposed to be routed.
    However, my pfSense box's WAN is in an internal network and our office's printer is at
    The WAN IP address of my PF Box is 189.237.x.x, which is the external IP to the internet. (GW: 189.237.x.20)

    I have set "no_apipa_block" to "true", and specifically added a route on re0:

    route add -net -interface re0

    I have also added a Floating IP to in which allows the PF Box to ping the printer.

    Now my question is, is it possible to create some sort of virtual host on LAN ( which maps to the printer IP?
    For example, connecting (which is outside DHCP range) will actually connecting the printer at at re0.


  • LAYER 8 Global Moderator

    If you need to print to your printer from other networks in your org, then your printer shouldn't be using a 169.254 IP... Give it a actual routable IP..

    Which is it by the way you say your pfsense wan is internal network, and then you say it has a public IP? You are using public IPs internally? Which is nothing wrong with that - but this gateway is on your side or the public side?

    And you run your Printers on this same L2, just with link local addresses?

  • Yes, and i am not allowed to change the network configurations too...

    The way I meant it is in an internal network is the won't get pass our company's upstream GW, so the printer traffic is still remain on the same internal network (I guess the company switch/router blocked it?), but still I got a public (static) IP on my WAN.

    Is there any way I could access the printing service on the WAN 169.254 subnet?

    I suppose the issue is on non-Windows only as I have seen other colleagues using the printer without any issues. I suppose Windows will scan all addresses eventhough the NIC address is public? On Linux (I am only the one using Linux in the office...lmao) it requires adding a route specifically: ip route add <printer ip> dev eth0) and it works fine. After adding my PF box as personal FW, I am out of idea.


  • LAYER 8 Global Moderator

    Please draw up this mess of a network and where these other people are printing to a 169.254 address from another segment. If they reside on the same L2 then yeah they could print to it... But windows doesn't route that either..

    So your printers reside on the wan network in your office? Or you have taken it upon yourself to put your device(s) behind a firewall in this network?

    That 189.237 is owned by Uninet S.A. de C.V. in MX, did you just make up that space - or are you using public space that is not yours? You seem to be from HK, that is where all the the IPs you talk to forum from are from..

    If these other users reside on that L2 then they are not routing 169.254, they just reside on that network.. 169.254 does not route, and even if it did the device couldn't talk back to you since it has no gateway... You would have to nat to talk to that network. So in theory you could nat your traffic behind pfsense to that 169.254 address..

    But its just plain moronic to not give printers an IP on the network they reside on!

  • Yes, you got me, I just made up that address. The IP I was using is static and I don't want to disclose it here. Please just pretend is my IP and the upstream GW is, it is not relevant in this context anyways.

    For the network diagram, honestly I have no clue on how my company setups the network, all we have is just a LAN port and a static IP given to us with upstream GW This is the public IP address and is visible to remote servers.

    For the network, I am pretty sure every colleagues just use one computer plugged into the LAN port and setup their respective static IP address (same network, same upstream GW). The printer itself is also plugged in to the LAN port but there is no static IP assigned to it, so it has fallen back to link-local address.

    If I have to guess the network diagram, I think it looks something like this:
    PFS printer.png


  • LAYER 8 Global Moderator

    Well if your clients are on the same L2 as the printer... Then yes they could directly talk to the 169.254 address since they are on the same L2 network... Amounts to just running multiple L3 on the same L2.. And to be frank its BORKED!!

    If your company owns the IP space, and they want to use it on their devices... And allow them to be directly exposed to the internet ??? That is up to them.. Not something I would ever do in a million years.. Public space is fine if you own it, allowing it to be directly exposed is just plan moronic in this day an age.

    If you want to put yourself behind a firewall where the 169.254 resides on your wan, the only way your going to be able to talk to it is nat to it..

    Create an outbound nat rule to the vip you created on your wan with some 169.254.x.x address... NAT the traffic you need to send to your printers 169.254 address to your vip.

  • There is of course a FW after the GW, which doesn't made the devices directly expose to the internet. Opening a port to the internet requires some kind of commercial HIDS agents installed on the machines (and exhaustive paperwork too!).

    For that outbound NAT Rule to the VIP, I need to create the VIP with the address 169.254.x.x, right? Is it possible to create one in 192.168.1.x range (and outside DHCP range too) so that my Linux machines doesn't need to setup a route specifically for eth0?

    I was hoping there is a "virtual host" on 192.168.1.x which redirect traffics to it to the printer at


  • LAYER 8 Global Moderator

    You could create a port forward, but your still going to need the 169.254 vip on the wan.

    You understand all these problems would go away if they would just give the printer a 189.237 IP.. Why do they not give the printer an IP on the network its sitting on?

  • Of course everything would be fine if the printer got an IP address on, but due to limited IP address space we own, they seems to think having a dedicated IP for a printer in a small office is a wasteful of resources. Plus the fact that no other colleagues had issues with current setup on Windows (only me because I need my PF Box).

    I tried adding as IP alias VIP, but it messed up my route in my PF Box.

    My original config is adding the route at system boot, which is quite hacky IMO:
    (Adding in "shellcmd" in "system" stanza of /conf/config.xml) (Have to put in this way or will flagged as spam by the forum's spam detection engine "flagged as spam by")

    route add -net -interface re0

    which result in the following routes (netstat -rn)   <re0's MAC Address>  US          re0

    When added the VIP, the route became as follows:      link#1             UHS         lo0   link#1             U           re0

    Pining always pinging the local machine (the PF Box itself).

    Should I remove the floating IP too?

    Any ideas?


  • This post is deleted!

  • LAYER 8 Global Moderator

    @hopkins said in Routing 169.254 Networks:

    but due to limited IP address space we own, they seems to think having a dedicated IP for a printer in a small office is a wasteful of resources.

    Then put your printer on a rfc1918 and put it on its own segment and route... JFC some people shouldn't be allowed to touch a network. Or for that matter give it a rfc1918 address and now you could just run the multiple layer 3 on the same layer 2.. Vs using IP space this is not routable.

    If they are limited with their space they own - then don't freaking use it internally then.. The whole F'ing point to rfc1918 space!!

    If you give your interface a vip on that 169.254 network, you would not need to create a route... Just create a port forward using your lan interface and using your vip as the nat.

    If I get a chance I will duplicate this moronic setup and post screenshots how to do it.

  • LAYER 8 Global Moderator

    Ok: So I didn't forget about this... But didn't get to it last night. And wife still sleeping so didn't want to fire up the laser printer because it makes a bit of noise.. But I did get my wan L2 running through my switch - so I can no easy add anything to that L2 I want and duplicate your 169.254 nonsense on my 64.53.x.x public wan.

    When I get back from walk will connect something with 169.254 and then try and access it from my lan behind pfsense.

  • LAYER 8 Global Moderator

    Ok here you go - sorry for the delay... When got back from walk yesterday I got side tracked on other things then had to leave for work.

    Set my printer to, connected it to my wan L2


    Created a vip on my pfsense

    Made sure pfsense could ping it

    Created outbound nat rule

    Created a port forward for ping to some odd rfc1918 IP that would send to - you will need whatever port(s) your using for printing.

    Then from my PC I pinged the portforwarded IP in my case - and via sniff on wan while this is happening you see that pfsense changed that to its address

    Make sure you turn off blocking APIPA
    JimP has a post here about it

    Validate that is working by looking at your full rule set or looking in your system of your config - download that section via backup and look at it with fav text editor..


    Good Luck - but you really should get with your IT to do this correctly!!! Such a setup is just plain BORKED!!!

    edit: To to be 100% complete on this - check your full rules
    pfctl -sr
    If you see

    block drop in quick inet from to any label "Block IPv4 link-local"
    block drop in quick inet from any to label "Block IPv4 link-local"

    In there which is the default then no its not going to work.. Check the above setting in your <system> part of the config and do your filter reload, then check your rules again.

  • Thanks! It was very kind of you to post the steps and screenshots.
    It is working and I can finally connect to my printer now!

    I really appreciate for your help :)

  • LAYER 8 Global Moderator

    Yeah never know when the next guy will have the same question ;)

    Glad you got is sorted - but its still BORKED!!! dude.. Your IT guys need to rethink how they have their printer setup.. That is just nonsense to have to have users create route statements, etc.

  • To be fair, I don't think they will do anything about it though. Regardless the network is borked or not, they won't modify the network settings for the one single guy who wants more security with a PF box. Especially when other (Windows) users doesn't have any issues.

    Funny thing is, the printer seems automatically change its IP every few days, I guess I have to live with it and use IP Aliases..ha!

  • LAYER 8 Global Moderator

    APIPA (169.254.x.x) is what is used when device is set for dhcp and it gets no dhcp, so yeah it could change whenever it tries to get dhcp again, or when its rebooted for sure, etc..

    You would think they could take the time to actually just set a rfc1918 IP on the freaking thing - so its always the same IP..

    You sure they even understand what its doing?

  • I am not sure. But if the printer gets a RFC1918 IP (e.g. 192.168.x.x), I think it requires more configurations for my colleagues' Windows PCs, which means they (the IT guys) need to do more things, which means it is better to leave the network configuration to status quo. I don't think they really care if the network is f*'d up or not, as long as it works...

  • LAYER 8 Global Moderator

    No it would require the same sort of shit nonsense with a route statement..

    But it wouldn't be freaking changing as the wind blows.

  • Hmm... I will try to talk to the IT guys later if possible.
    In the meantime I think I probably will need to stick to current configurations.
    Thanks again for your help. You really did save the day!

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