Replacing Mikrotik with Pfsense



  • Hi

    After more than five years using Pfsense just as a Firewall and captive portal i decided to use it to replace my Mikrotik Access Point(don't like the Hotspot service of it).
    This way I eliminate one computer (save on the electric bill  and hardware).

    I have tested the latest version indoor with two Atheros cards (AR5006XS,AR5002x very old card) and was positively surprised , i manage to reache 3.9 Megabytes (Around 32 Mbits) of bandwidth with G only cards (not Turbo mode), and emptied my 100Mbits connection over wired connection.(speedtest reported 89 Mbits)
    Running Alix 2C2 with 1G image of Pfsense,I have seen people reporting that the maximum throughput of this board would bee around 50 Mbits, but my is reaching the 89Mbits as speedtest reported.

    This board will be outdoor and i need to do some tuning of the wireless interfaces to optimize the throughput and stability.

    Just to start I'll need to set "Long Preamble" to allow old 802.11B devices to connect and make the change permanent .
    If any of you are using Pfsense as an outdoor Access point or bridge (or both)please leave some feedback on some tuning you have made to overcame the problems of outdoor wireless.

    Thanks.



  • Status Report:

    Changed the Os of the Alix2C2 now running Pfsense nanobsd (4G)and placed outdoor.(See attachement)
    Improvements on the bandwidth the clients with the best signal have improved from 8 Mbits to 13Mbits (running Gargoyle with foneras and Tp-link routers). ;D
    The Max bandwith was 17 Mbits of a 600 meters and  link with out los(signal going over buildings) and with the settings in the second attachement.

    When i tried to change the beacon interval, because in WiFi clouded environments changing the default Beacon Interval from 100 to 120 will improve performance (a lot from my experience).

    I have tried to see the beacon configured ,but after execution the command i stopped having access via SSH.
    I could see the clients connected in the wireless status, but no connectivity.

    ifconfig ath0_wlan0 get_bintval
    

    Is this the right way to do it ?

    After a reboot (from WebIf) everi thing was normal again i executed the following code and it worked

    
    ifconfig ath0_wlan0 down 
    ifconfig ath0_wlan0 bintval 120
    ifconfig ath0_wlan0 up
    

    then i did

    ifconfig ath0_wlan0 down 
    ifconfig ath0_wlan0 get_bintval
    
    

    and i lost ssh again.
    I went to Webif and disabled and re-enabled the wireless card and it was online again.

    Now i Have a question how can i make the beacon interval permanent?(i believe if i reboot i will lose the setting)

    Thanks



    ![Common wireless conf.png](/public/imported_attachments/1/Common wireless conf.png)
    ![Common wireless conf.png_thumb](/public/imported_attachments/1/Common wireless conf.png_thumb)



  • You could install the "shellcmd" package and set it to run those commands on startup.



  • @Jason:

    You could install the "shellcmd" package and set it to run those commands on startup.

    Thanks for the reply,
    But do you know if is there some place (conf file) to edit this values?



  • @rt_rex:

    @Jason:

    You could install the "shellcmd" package and set it to run those commands on startup.

    Thanks for the reply,
    But do you know if is there some place (conf file) to edit this values?

    No idea.  I don't use pfSense for wireless.  All my APs are Ubiquiti UniFi.



  • I have been messing around with the wireless CAPS of my atheros cards and i found some curious stuff.
    for instance:
    Changing the distance (tried from 200m to 30000m) in the web interface does not change the following caps

    sysctl dev.ath.0.acktimeout
    sysctl dev.ath.0.ctstimeout
    sysctl dev.ath.0.slottime

    This are the results for one of my cards

    
    [2.0.1-RELEASE][root@pfsense.uvf]/etc(49): sysctl dev.ath.1.acktimeout
    dev.ath.1.acktimeout: 25
    [2.0.1-RELEASE][root@pfsense.uvf]/etc(50): sysctl dev.ath.1.ctstimeout
    dev.ath.1.ctstimeout: 25
    [2.0.1-RELEASE][root@pfsense.uvf]/etc(51): sysctl dev.ath.1.slottime
    dev.ath.1.slottime: 9
    
    

    Does the distance setting affects other variables then this ones?

    Thanks



  • After a long search I just want to share the wireless caps on Pfsense (freebsd 8.1)

    http://www.freebsd.org/cgi/man.cgi?query=ifconfig&apropos=0&sektion=8&manpath=FreeBSD+8.1-RELEASE+and+Ports&arch=default&format=html

    Some pages down look for "The following parameters are specific to cloning IEEE 802.11 wireless…"

    The most interesting is the Mesh possibility ,just imagine pfsense boxes running mesh. ;D



  • After more then 6 months everything is still running .

    Installed shellcmd package as a user suggested and added this commands to get a better wireless link .

    ifconfig ath0_wlan0 down 	
    
    ifconfig ath0_wlan0 bintval 120 	
    
    ifconfig ath0_wlan0 -bgscan 	
    
    ifconfig ath0_wlan0 maxretry 3 	
    
    ifconfig ath0_wlan0 up 
    

    But i am still missing one major wireless feature, SHORTPREAMBLE.
    In AccessPoint  mode is enable by default but i would like to disable it .

    Does anyone knows if its possible to disable it and whats the syntax of the command ?

    ![pfsense 111 days.png](/public/imported_attachments/1/pfsense 111 days.png)
    ![pfsense 111 days.png_thumb](/public/imported_attachments/1/pfsense 111 days.png_thumb)


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