PfSense in VMware server multi wan.



  • Hi all,

    I've got a XP server which is connected to 3 different DHCP router and a AP. Two of them is wireless the other one is wired. All of these are WAN connection. Apart from the AP which is LAN only. I want to setup load balance / fail over on this server so that all machines connected to the AP will have WAN. Currently I'm only using 1 WAN at a time as XP is not able to support ICS on multiple wan. If WAN goes down I have to set the routing table manually to use another WAN.

    Is it possible to use pfSense to do multi-wan load balacing in this setup? I'm looking to run pfSense in VMware server. From the guides and post I read on this forum I have sort of drew up a plan and could you guys see if I'm on the right track.

    Setup VMnet2 VMnet3 VMnet4 VMnet5 on vmware server.
    Bridge:
    VMnet2-> physical NIC 2 wireless
    VMnet3-> physical NIC 3 wireless
    VMNet4-> physical NIC 4 wired
    VMNet5-> physical NIC 5 wired (AP)

    Boot up pfSense, set all VMnet2,3,4 to WAN apart from VMNet5 to LAN. After that I'll just need to login to pfSense and configure all the routing. (I'll update this after I setup the windows / vmware server part)

    @Pootle:

    As long as Windows can drive it you should be OK, although you might bump into some issues if the windows drivers are at all flakey.

    Make sure you turn off all services except VMWare bridge protocol on Nics that connect to modems / routers.

    Pootle have advise me to turn off all services on each of the physical NIC apart from VMware Bridge Protocol. Currently my XP server have custom routing tables. I assume I would need to clear them all and start from scratch?

    Please let me know if I'm going on the right track or I'm messing it up.

    Edit: oooh :D I think I got it to work!! :D I got this to work on a testing network. Will go home and try it out after work.

    Edit2: oops, it doesn't quite work the way I wanted it.. Still tweaking the configs :(



  • Have you made it yet?  the multiple wireless bit is going to be messy I would have thought - I like to stick to wired for connecting to modems / routers.  Are you using multiple wireless NIC's?



  • @Pootle:

    Have you made it yet?  the multiple wireless bit is going to be messy I would have thought - I like to stick to wired for connecting to modems / routers.  Are you using multiple wireless NIC's?

    Yes I've got it to work, and I have triple wireless NIC with an AP next to the server. Although everyone say they don't interfere but I think they actually do.. Every now again I'll get extremely high latency up to 2k. Also many other strange problems… I really don't wanna use it in vm. Sometimes it works for days then nothing would work until I reset it.



  • Have fixed the ping issue, seems like MTU is the problem. Lowered it and it is fine now.

    But other problem I have is the speed issue. Max I get is 30-40k/s down. But when I use my Windows box (with pfsense running). I can get the max speed which is around 500k/s-700k/s down. But my windows box is accessing the wan via pfsense. So I really don't know what is wrong, might be my AP problem which I highly doubt it. Cause when I connect directly without pfsense it is fine.



  • BaNZ, have you spread the channels that your wireless APs use?  Also are you getting any interference from other wireless nearby?  You should also make sure that that the APs are as far apart as you can manage.  Best thing would be to try with just one on then see what happens as you add the others.



  • @Pootle:

    BaNZ, have you spread the channels that your wireless APs use?  Also are you getting any interference from other wireless nearby?  You should also make sure that that the APs are as far apart as you can manage.  Best thing would be to try with just one on then see what happens as you add the others.

    Yes, I've checked my neighbour channel and changed to a different one. I've changed my channel to 3 and I tried 4 / 5. I found out it's not interference. Its something to do with my cheap AP and pfsense. If I connect my AP to pfsense all the clients on the AP gets around 50-70k/s and if I turn on a p2p application I get 20-40k/s. This is really strange because if I plug a router directly to pfsense it is perfectly fine and I get my max speed. So I took my AP and plug it in directly to WAN instead of going through AP, this works fine too I get my max speed. This proves that my AP is working. When I check my AP in the dhcp page on pfsense it shows its offline. But after pinging the AP from pfsense it shows online and brings the speed up to around 100k/s. But if I reset the AP it will again show its offline and the speed drops down again.

    I tried to plug another wifi router and I get my max speed fine. So it is definitely something wrong with the AP with pfsense. I tried fiddling around the threshold in my AP and it improves it slightly but not much. I probably gonna have to get a new wifi router. Or maybe use pfsense->router->ap since I have a spare router lying somewhere and I can save some money.

    update: bought new wifi router and plugged it in.

    It is now fine. Had a problem earlier when I'm transferring large files, basically it kills all other clients connection when there is a huge amount of traffic. I changed the channel and it is fine.


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