Is PFSense for me? A question from a DD-WRT user



  • Hi everyone,

    A member from another forum recommended that I should give PFSense a shot, since I complained about the lacklustre performance of my Linksys WRT54GL (DD-WRT) since my ISP had upgraded our internet connection to 50Mbps. So I decided to join this forum, and see if pfSense is for me.

    Instead of purchasing a $200 router for my needs, he suggested that I should install PFSense and run my network off of it, as it will be cheaper and have better performance.

    I currently have 2 DD-WRT wireless routers bridging together (Client Bridge), an ATA, and a few other wireless and LAN devices connected with a 50Mbps internet connection. However, my WRT54GL has bottlenecked my internet connection.

    I've briefly looked over the pfSense site and found some documentation on hardware requirements.

    Some of my questions are:

    • How many NICs will I need?
    • Can I use my existing G-routers to run a wireless bridge for my wireless devices?
    • Is there a diagram or a chart that can explain a basic setup with pfSense?

    I am trying to visualize how this will work.

    The Old PC that I am planning to set it up on runs with a AMD S939 CPU, with 1 or 2GB of RAM, will that be sufficient for my needs?

    TIA!



  • Your old PC should be plenty. You even might think about underclocking/undervolting to reduce energy consumption, heat, noise, etc. I'm running an old AMD Athlon with 512 MB RAM, have some 20 PC's on the network and have no problem maxing out our main 70/70 mbit connection both directions with some 70-80% CPU utilization.

    Installation and configuration are simple enough even for non expert such as myself, sometimes with some help from the forums or the book.

    The number of NIC's would depend on what you'd want to accomplish. I guess the basic scenario would be two NIC's - WAN+LAN interfaces. In my case I use 3 NIC's since I have a failover setup with two internet connections.

    As for the available wireless routers that you have, you can always use them as access points - just connect them to the network through one of their LAN ports (http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/wireless/wireless-basics/30338-how-to-convert-a-wireless-router-into-an-access-point), plus you can use them as switches to connect more devices on the fixed network.



  • I was using a WRT310n with DDWRT mini. Sometimes DD got frozen and I have to reboot it manually. This makes a lot trouble for me.

    Now I switch to Pfsense because my ISP is going to provide the fibre-optical connection. It's much faster than before(it was 2M/4M, Now it's 10M/20M/100M).. DD may also work with this fast speed network but I am sure that a ROS system like Pfsense will be a better choice. Since I am running a small personal server at home. I just installed the Pfsense as a virtual machine within Vmware.
    WRT310n will be  a Access Point and HUB which connect to the Pfsense.

    It takes some time for setting up Pfsense, but it still worths a shot.


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