Wireless drops with no LAN connection?



  • I’m seeing some odd behaviour with pfSense running on an ALIX 2D2 board, that I hope someone can help me with.  I’m hoping it’s something obvious, but I haven’t turned up anything with the search yet.

    I installed a snapshot from this week and made limited configuration changes to bridge wireless (ath0) with LAN (vr0), enable the DHCP server, and add rules to allow all traffic on the LAN and wireless interfaces.  I’m essentially setting it up as a wireless router, and it seems to work well as long as I have something connected to vr0.  If I disconnect vr0, then a client on ath0 continues to work fine for a minute or two but then loses connectivity, though remains wirelessly associated.  Reconnecting vr0 allows traffic to flow for the ath0 client again almost immediately.  When the wireless client loses connectivity, it maintains its DHCP lease (and the DHCP lease webpage shows it as active but ‘offline’).

    I’m testing this in a simple configuration, with nothing connected to WAN (though I’ve previously tested this with my Vigor 100) and the LAN/wireless clients trying to view the pfSense installation’s web interface.  I’ve tried 3 different ath cards with the same results, and a couple of different wireless clients.

    Thanks for any assistance!



  • This is expected behaviour.
    For a bridge to work all the related interfaces have to be up.

    It’s enough if you connect a switch/hub to the LAN port without any wired clients.
    You could even have a loopback connector.
    The interface just has to be up.



  • It’s not the wireless that drops, it’s the LAN and its IP that aren’t there if the LAN isn’t plugged in. Expected behavior.


  • Rebel Alliance Developer Netgate

    @GruensFroeschli:

    You could even have a loopback connector.
    The interface just has to be up.

    FYI- this may no longer be enough. Last time I tried this on my ALIX I had to connect to a switch. My loopback plug brought the interface up but it still did not work. Not sure when that behavior changed.



  • Interesting - thanks for the replies.  I’ve made myself an ethernet loopback connector to fix this, so I’ll give it a go and see if it works.  The last reply doesn’t sound too encouraging though.  😕

    It’s not the behaviour I was expecting, or hoping for, though.  Is there any other way to maintain activity if nothing’s connected to the LAN interface in this scenario?  Presumably this works OK with off-the-shelf routers as they have built-in switches?

    To give some explanation as to why I want this, I have my ADSL modem in my hallway separate from the rest of my network.  vr1 is my WAN interface, connected to the modem.  The rest of my network lives at the other side of my house and has a wireless client device that connects to ath0 to give internet access.  vr0 (LAN) is normally unused, but I occasionally plug devices into this and obviously want them on the same subnet as the rest of the network, hence the bridge.  Well, this is the way that it currently works with my DD-WRT router, and I was hoping to simply replace that with the ALIX/pfSense.

    If it’s not possible to keep the bridge up in this scenario, is there any better way of configuring it whilst maintaining the same functionality?


  • Rebel Alliance Developer Netgate

    Not sure if this might work but have you tried bridging LAN to ath0 instead of the other way around?

    Or reassign the wireless card as LAN and set it up there, and bridge your vr0 (now an opt port) to it?



  • @jimp:

    Not sure if this might work but have you tried bridging LAN to ath0 instead of the other way around?

    That should work. The problem isn’t the bridge, it’s when you have an IP assigned to an Ethernet interface and it’s down, the IP is gone.


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