Guide to Installing pfsense on a firebox - I can't find one!

  • Hello all,

    I have just purchased a WATCHGUARD Firebox X Core X2500 R6264S from Ebay and am looking forward to receiving it.

    Given the popularity of using pfsense with a firebox, I was hoping there would be a ready available guide walking people though to the stage where one can log-in to the web gui and start setting things up. Problem is, I can't seem to find anything up to date or comprehensive.

    I have found this monster thread:,7458.0.html

    And this brief page:

    Is there a definitive guide or resource for getting pfsense up and running on a firebox that I may have missed?

    Thanks a lot for the help.

  • same as any other embedded install.
    Write image to a compact flash.
    Take lid off swop the CF cards in the firebox.
    Plug in serial cable to pc and run serial console.
    Switch on firebox.
    Config from console and should….. all being well.... be done.


  • Thanks Chris23.

    But I have read scattered reports that the bios needs to be flashed or something?

  • Netgate Administrator

    No bios flashing required on the X-Core. It can be a bit picky about CF cards though. Try to use an older 1GB card if you have a choice.

    That page you linked to is for the X-E box but it's not obvious.  ::)

    We really should get guide together.


  • Thank you so much for this information! You just saved me going out and buying a console cable!

    So all I need to do is write the nano version of the latest pfsense to a CF card, stick it in the box and boot her up? Then just log in via the web interface right and I am golden? So much less mucking around. Seems like the X version is the way to go then out of the Firebox range? I picked it up (for what I thought) was a steal on Ebay and can't believe the specs and form-factor of these boxes for the $$. I should really go and pick up a few more as backups before they all disappear.

    A downloadable PDF guide would be fantastic :)

  • Sorry - that was stupid. Of course I still need a console cable to install pfsense once written to the CF card.

    OK will go and buy a cable. Think I am on the right track now.

  • Netgate Administrator

    Of the three hardware versions available (on Ebay!) X-Core, X-Peak and X-e the X-Peak would be my choice mostly because it has all Intel NICs which behave much better in FreeBSD. It's never given me any trouble.
    The X-Core has 100Mb Realtek NICs which can cause trouble and it's a relatively old design, Pentium 3 era.
    The X-Peak is still old but has Intel NICs, including 3 Gigabit, and Pentium 4 CPU with greater RAM expansion capability.
    The X-e box is far newer. It's a Pentium-M based design which gives low power consumption and has all gigabit NICs. They are Marvel though and currently there is a driver problem. When that gets solved, hopefully with pfSense 2.1, these will be the box to have.


  • Hmmm…looks like I may have bought a dud then :(

    That said, it's only function is to be firewall for an ADSL connection so 100mb connections should be fine.

    Hopefully the Realtek NIC's are ok though. I have used them for years in PC's and never had any problems so here's hoping.

    I was hoping it would be a low-power device, using a CF card and everything, but perhaps this will not be the case now.

    Still happy, but a little bummed out I didn't know about the specs of the different model numbers beforehand....doh! Hopefully this post will help out other in the future.

    By the way, I found this great guide on installing monowall (similar to install of pfsense): to load m0n0wall onto a WatchGuard Firebox x500.pdf

    Hopefully helps someone out.

  • Netgate Administrator

    It's still a capable box, like you say easily able to keep up with an ADSL connection.
    The Pentium 3 Tualatin was a highly efficient CPU, when the Pentium 4 was introduced many people saw it as a backwards step. The actual CPU in the X-Core is a 1.2GHz Celeron but it has the same architecture. It uses about the same power as the X-e but has less processing power. Don't dismiss it yet.
    There are many users who have no trouble with the Realtek NICs. It does seem to be largely dependent on what they're connected to but no hard facts have been established.
    It's shiny and red!  :)