Triple WAN with 2 routers?

  • Hey all,

    I'll kick off my first post with a quick hat-tip to home awesome pfsense is  :) Have been using it in the office for our internet startup ( for the last 6 months, and it has done a great job of load balancing our 2 WAN connections (running on an Alix board).

    Anyway, we have recently put in another WAN, but the Alix board only has 3 NICs, so I'm not sure the best way to integrate this new connection. Alix doesn't do a board with 4 NICs, so I was wondering if I can buy another, and run a setup like this:

    WAN 1 –------------------->|
                                        | --- pfsense 2 ---->  LAN
    WAN 2 --|                      |
                |--- pfsense 1 -->|
    WAN 3 -

    i.e. load balance WAN 2 & 3, then load balance this with WAN 1.

    Anyone got any advice on whether this is a good idea before I blow £100+ on another Alix :) ?



  • How fast are your WAN connections?  Depending on their speeds, it should be possible to use a VLAN-capable switch and connect one or two of your pfSense box's ports to the switch and connect all of your WANs to the switch.  On the switch, you would configure each WAN port to its own VLAN and configure one or two ports on the switch as VLAN trunk ports to use with your pfSense box.  On your pfSense box, you would add VLANs on the ports you have connected to the switch (but don't assign the same VLAN to more than one port on the pfSense box).  You could then assign these VLANs as your WAN interfaces.

    Whether you use two ports on the switch for the pfSense box or just one would depend on how fast your WANs are.  If one 100mbps port would be fast enough, you could get away with just using one for your pfSense box's WAN connection.  Otherwise, you could have one of the VLANs on one port and the other two on another port.  But then again, you are only using a single port to connect to your LAN, so probably only one port would be necessary for your WANs.

    Basically it would look like this:

    WAN 1
    WAN 2 -> VLAN-capable switch -> pfSense box -> LAN
    WAN 3

    (note:  I don't actually have any experience with this.  I'm only going by what I recall from what I've heard about it.)

  • May be it's better to look at Soekris boxes?

  • Thanks guys, I'll take a look at these 2 solutions and let you know how I get on. Don't have a VLAN capable switch so I think I'll end up going for Soekris box, that way our other office can have the Alix :)

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