2.0 + ALIX + 3G USB?

  • Hi there,

    It's been a while since I last visited the forum.  I just moved to Australia, where internet access is akin to somebody's hand (the ISP's) always at the tap, ready to turn the water off (or slow it to a trickle) once you've had too much.    Having come from Singapore where you can leave your megabit connection on 24x7 for as little as $15/mo,  I will need a different approach with Australia when it comes to internet access.  I'm not ready to commit to an ISP for 24 months, so I'm now on prepaid mobile broadband (USB stick), which gives me more control over my bills.

    I'm currently using pfSense 1.2.3 on an ALIX and am very happy with it.    Knowing my ALIX has a couple of USB ports on it, naturally the thought occurred: use the 3G modem on it, then track my usage using the RRD graphs.

    I'm thinking of getting another CF card and install 2.0 on it.  Before I attempt this, I'd like to hear from other forum readers who have more experience in 2.0 whether what I'm planning will work.  To sum up, I would like the following:

    pfSense 2.0 on an ALIX board
    Huawei k3520 usb 3G modem on one of the USB ports
    Track data usage
    and, as an extra, shape traffic once usage goes beyond a set threshold.


  • Is the Huawei K3520 supported by FreeBSD 8.1? A lot of Huawei modems are but this one is not listed in the FreeBSD 8.1 Supported Hardware List nor on the u3g man page nor in the u3g drver. But it seems Huawei modems can be known by a number of different model or type codes so probably best to try it and see.

  • 3G modems work very well in pfSense. Developers in the US and elsewhere use various modems from different manufacturers, some in production environments. My favorite is the Sierra Wireless C885, also known as the AT&T USBConnect Mercury. Like the previous poster said, check the hardware compatibility lists and Google before you buy if you want to be sure. There is a small thread in this forum where working modems are listed.

    If you enable "Uptime Logging" in the 3G PPP setup screen pfSense will keep track of cumulative uptime for your connection.

    I'm not so sure about the cumulative data usage tracking or shaping traffic on cumulative data usage.


  • Thanks all for the replies.  Will take your advice into consideration.

  • A good provider in australia is TPG. They give you heaps of bandwidth (180GB) for $50 a month or so. I think you have to get a contract with them. Their service desk is crap, so hope you never have an issue

    Internode and iinet are the next best on bandwidth but much better on support. For $50 per month I get about 60GB bandwidth at ADSL 2+ speeds.

    I know this is nothing like Singapore but these are the best options.

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