USB web-camera with a pfSense. Anything we can do?

  • Hi everybody!

    I have spent a lot of time playing with the ffmpeg package and the motion package.
    And I can not make them working. Had anybody tried? Any achivements? It is quite an interresting thing: how we can make a simple motionjpeg translation trough the internet from our servers?

    Let's discuss! Had anybody even tried?  ;)

  • Rebel Alliance Developer Netgate

    You'd have to install so many extra packages on the firewall to even have a chance at getting video to work (including large chunks of that it wouldn't be worth it. Just find another dedicated box to plug a camera into, or even better, spend a few more bucks on a true networked camera. They're pretty cheap these days.

  • Well, it is difficult to argue with an administrator and a hero-member :)

    But I would notice, that we do need only to have a ffmpeg (ffserver is included) with a video4linux2 support. And this is a main question.. In FreeBSD ports the package has no v4l2 support, and when I try "gmake" it from source, I have different errors. There is a way to install this support for v4l2 using /usr/ports/… but we do not have this possibility in PfSense.

    Few more bucks - it is not a way I like. I tryed ffmpeg on my asus WL500-GP router and it work OK. I think of making a small web-translation from my firewall. It is interesting.
    So, any ideas how to make /usr/ports/.. work on PfSense? Or anybody did ffmpeg compiling?

  • Netgate Administrator

    If you want to compile from source for pfSense you have to do from a FreeBSD install. 8.1 for pfSense 2.0.X or 8.3 for pfSense 2.1.
    I ran a usb webcam a number of years ago though not with pfSense. I used it to take stills only, updated every few minutes. I didn't require much by way of dependencies. The biggest problem I found was finding a USB webcam that had driver support for a reasonable cost (almost nothing!).


  • Steve,
    Thank you for reply

    But what about compiling? Could you please tell me, how should I do it, Using the gmake command?

    And is it possible to have ports installed on PfSense? so I will run installation from /usr/ports/… ? How (and should I actually do) run sysinstall?


  • Netgate Administrator

    Depends what you want to compile. If you want to add binaries to pfSense 2.0.X download and install FreeBSD 8.1 and compile on that. Run it as a VM if you have that facility. I have it running on a very old laptop which suffices for the occasional stuff I do.
    Whilst it may be technically possible to get ports installed on pfSense there are almost no benefits of doing so and the chances of getting it working are very very small! Don't do it.  ;)


  • Or, convert your hardware to be a VM host.  Run both pfSense and the OS that does what you want with the camera as VMs.  VMware ESXi 4 and 5 is free and very lightweight, stable too.  As long as your hardware is "big" enough it'll run pfSense perfectly well and a lightweight OS for your camera needs; you can assign USB devices to individual VMs.  I can't imagine a lightweight Linux or BSD that'll do what you need taking up much more than a GB of disk and 128MB or 256MB of ram.

    Of course, I have no idea what your pfSense install and needs are like, but I wouldn't imagine that would be too hard to put together cheaply, if not free if your current hardware can handle it all.  It's quite possible that ESXi could do that all in 2GB of RAM on a Pentium-D, Athlon 64 X2, or higher CPU (needs to have at least 2 cores or 2 physical CPUs and x64 support, VT-x is not required if you're running 32 bit OSes.)  (ESX/ESXi 3.5 can run on 32bit CPU's, but won't passthrough a USB Webcam to a guest OS, you'll need ESXi 4 or above, which needs x64 support.)

  • matguy,
    My hardware is not so good as you describe. I have a pentium 3 800 MHz processor and 198MB of RAM. I think i will not be abble to run several v-machines at the same time.

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