Netgate pfsense router able to run a 150 device network?

  • I am planning on using a netgate router running pfsense on a network with 100 - 150 devices. Most of them are IP phones.

    Would it be able to support that many devices connected at once? I tried it with a dd-wrt router and some devices are not getting IP addresses


  • Netgate Administrator

    It depends on many things.

    I assume you mean one of the Alix based Netgate boxes, e.g.

    They have a restricted and non-upgradable ammount of ram, 256MB. This may limit you in terms of the total number of firewall states you can have. However since most of them are IP phones it's unlikely they will have a big state requirement.

    What is your WAN connection?


  • Rebel Alliance Developer Netgate

    Throughput would be your largest concern, those are great for what they do, which is up to about 80Mbit/s in the clear, or 15-18Mbit/s of VPN traffic.

    If your WAN usage is under those limits, and you need less than 100,000 states or so, you're probably fine.

  • Only about 10 devices will be having Internet access.

    Does it make sense that because I have to. Any devices on the network, my wrt160 running ddwrt is not assigning ip?

  • Our IP phones have a bandwidth usage of 150kbps per telefone. So even if you should have the situation, that everybody has a call at the same time (which will never happen, for sure) you should have enought bandwidth, assuming your WAN connection is faster than 22,5Mbs and dedicated just for your phones.


  • Netgate Administrator


    my wrt160 running ddwrt is not assigning ip?

    I assume you're asking if anyone knows why that's happening.
    I would first guess that it's out of spare address space. Perhaps the DHCP lease time is set far too high? Perhaps the number of leases can be increased? Have you checked the logs? I would expect some errors to be in there if it couldn't assign a new dhcp lease for some reason. Is it always the same devices?


  • I have it set to 200 slots, and there arent 200 devices.

    I didnt see anything in any logs. But I am not sure really where to check.


  • Netgate Administrator

    Right but if the lease times are such that some devices are asking for a new IP while the old lease is still valid you could end up with some devices being given more than one slot and hence run out. There should be checks to prevent this though.
    Try reducing the lease times, if they are long.
    I would expect to see some log entries though. I'm not really familiar with DD-Wrt I have always used OpenWRT for such devices.


  • The ALIX can handle 150 devices generally. I'd be a bit more comfortable with the Netgate 7535 at that scale, or one of the slightly higher end options from Hacom or similar.

    My guess on why your DDWRT stops issuing leases is the lease file gets too big for the amount of RAM it has available, and the DHCP server crashes. You can't scale much with the kind of low end hardware DDWRT is generally used with, your average Linksys regardless of what it's running isn't suitable for a 150 device network.

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