PfSense as a DSL Router



  • Hi, I'm new to pfSense and the forums and was wondering if it is possible to use pfSense as a DSL router, like my ISP provided to me.

    Thanks



  • @ncisi74:

    Hi, I'm new to pfSense and the forums and was wondering if it is possible to use pfSense as a DSL router, like my ISP provided to me.

    Thanks

    You could use a PCI ADSL Modem but they are quite exotic and most, if not all, use an internal nic to avoid compatibility issues.



  • Would you recommend PCI ADSL cards which would work with pfSense?



  • @ncisi74:

    Would you recommend PCI ADSL cards which would work with pfSense?

    None are supported.



  • So, then (and please excuse my newbieness) if I connect a pfSense appliance in between my pc and my current DSL modem/router will it use the pfSense firewall or will it use the firewall built into my standard issue crap router?



  • You need to put your ISP provided modem/router into bridge mode.



  • @gderf:

    You need to put your ISP provided modem/router into bridge mode.

    After spending some hours on each I was unable to get a Zyxel ADSL modem/router or a Billion ADSL modem/router to operate successfully as a modem (they were both fine as modem/routers) with pfSense and was frustrated by the lack of logging and diagnostic facilities on the modem/routers. I decided it was probably worth spending $20 to get a basic ADSL modem (no router function) rather than spend more time trying to get the modem routers to work just as modems. For a couple of years now I have been using a Tenda D820B ADSL modem successfully.

    Reports in the pfSense forums indicate a number of readers have successfully made a variety of ADSL modem/routers work in bridge mode (modem only).


  • Netgate Administrator

    Although there are no PCI ADSL modems that are supported there are cards such as this:
    http://traverse.kd85.com/
    This is effectively a SOHO router on a PCI card. pfSense sees it as a Realtek ethernet card so it doesn't need adsl specific drivers. You have to configure it in bridge mode as you would with an external router.

    Many people will advise against putting a modem in your machine as it makes it far more susceptible to lightning damage. I guess it depends on your local weather and how much you want a one box solution.  :)

    Steve



  • Funny that you posed this question, ncisi74, as I have what some might now consider 'extensive experience' on the topic of using the Transverse Viking  PCI ADSL2+ modem card with pfSense.  The short answer is: if you tend toward being a masochist, go ahead and give it a try.  The reasoning behind my advising you in this way is that there is a steep learning curve for getting the modem to work with your pfSense box, both hardware- and software-wise; the device is not cheap (ca. $135.00 with shipping); it has to be ordered from Europe; it will generate additional heat in your pfSense box; and, as Steve already mentioned above, it increases your risk of lightning damage to your pfSense box.  Oh, and did I mention that the manufacturer of the modem has recently taken it out of production and no longer supports it via its web page?  You might want to save yourself a lot of grief and stick with using the modem that your ISP has already supplied to you (in bridge mode).

    All of the above being said, here is what you would need to do to realize such an elegant build (be prepared to waste a lot of time and tear your hair out in the process):

    1. Buy the modem from its reseller in Belgium via the link Steve gave above (if it still has it in stock) and wait two to three weeks for it to arrive at your doorstep in the U.S.

    2. Install the modem via a PCI slot in your pfSense box's motherboard–I had to use a special riser card (for my 1U Supermicro chassis and motherboard) and buy a special adapter cable to supply 12VDC to the riser card in order to make the modem card operational.

    3. Configure the modem for pfSense--it should recognize its adapter without any problem.

    4. Telnet to the modem to set it up in bridge mode and change its VCI/VPI settings to conform to your U.S. ISP's requirements (remember, the card was made in Australia where the standards are different--this is not an "optional" step).

    5. Configure pfSense to allow access to the browser-based GUI of the card if you would like to view its stats in real-time operation (I finally accomplished this somewhat daunting task last night after otherwise using the card sucessfully for over nine months).

    Good Luck (you will surely need it).

    :D



  • So, with all of this in mind (and thank you all for your advice) I would have to purchase a separate modem because the bozo employee that set it up put me in a lease contract. So because I am leasing, and not owning the modem, I cannot alter ANY settings or they will terminate my internet service… Would any of you recommend any good modems to use as a bridge?



  • Alcatel Speed Touch Home. Every one I have ever used was given to me for free or the for the cost of shipping. Many available on ebay. Cheap enough to have a spare lying around.

    http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_odkw=alcatel+sth&_osacat=0&_from=R40&_trksid=p2045573.m570.l1313&_nkw=alcatel+speed+touch+home&_sacat=0

    Also very cheap on ebay is the Netopia 3347. Easily put into bridge mode. I use mine only as a wireless AP after I disabled the WAN port and DHCP server.

    http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_trksid=p2047675.m570.l2632&_nkw=netopia+3347&_sacat=11176&_from=R40



  • Who is your ISP?  If it is Verizon or AT&T you should be o.k. purchasing a modem, but if you have some oddball ISP you will need to make sure its internal VPI/VCI settings are compatible with your ISP.

    "[Modem] rental fees?"–ISPs are sure nickel and diming their customers these days.



  • I use AT&T Uverse, 16 mbps down, 2 mbps up (When I use my VPN, sometimes I get 5 to 6 mbps up…)



  • Uverse is not DSL. DSL modems will not work with it. You are stuck with using the equipment AT&T provided.


  • Netgate Administrator

    Uverse can use DSL between the Node and premises:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AT%26T_U-verse#Services

    Steve



  • Good luck finding an aftermarket modem that can be used with it.



  • Yes, I have a DSL-style RJ11 line running into my home, so I think it will work.


  • Netgate Administrator

    The problem is that most (all?) DSL modem/routers you might get don't have provision for IPTV and VoIP. I assume you have these services provided?
    I live in the UK, I have no idea what Uverse looks like!  ::)

    Steve



  • Ah, I didn't think about that. I have IPTV service from AT&T so that might not work out too well…


  • Netgate Administrator

    Don't abandon hope just yet. There will be others who have tried this before you.  :)
    Search the forum. Use Google!

    Steve



  • I wonder if I could purchase a U-Verse router/modem and use it as a bridge…



  • @ncisi74:

    I wonder if I could purchase a U-Verse router/modem and use it as a bridge…

    What make/model is your current ISP supplied hardware? Can you find a full manual for it? What does it say?



  • @gderf:

    @ncisi74:

    I wonder if I could purchase a U-Verse router/modem and use it as a bridge…

    What make/model is your current ISP supplied hardware? Can you find a full manual for it? What does it say?

    @ncisi74:

    So, with all of this in mind (and thank you all for your advice) I would have to purchase a separate modem because the bozo employee that set it up put me in a lease contract. So because I am leasing, and not owning the modem, I cannot alter ANY settings or they will terminate my internet service… Would any of you recommend any good modems to use as a bridge?

    Emphasis mine.


  • Netgate Administrator

    Cannot change any settings on the leased modem but does that mean you can't replace it with your own modem and change the settings on that?  Probably.  ::)
    But I'm sure there are people who have done it and if you ever have a problem just replace the leased modem.

    Steve



  • I could replace the modem/router with a purchased one. With that, I could alter the settings some. I don't know of any U-verse modems, though, that could be used as a bridge.



  • Something tells me it can't be that easy, the lack of bridging aside.

    Something tells me that the Uverse unit you have is identifiable by AT&T and that identity is what is used to authorize your TV channel package.



  • It probably is identifiable… hmm. I will check it out with AT&T to see if I can replace my equipment and keep my service.



  • @ncisi74:

    Hi, I'm new to pfSense and the forums and was wondering if it is possible to use pfSense as a DSL router, like my ISP provided to me.

    Thanks

    I was having serious bandwidth issues with my Zyxel PK5001Z from Centurylink and pfSense. Torrents downloads were erratic and unpredictable. Sometimes I had great speeds and other times were just dismal. Things were great with the pfSense box out of the loop. I happened upon a suggestion that I switch the Zyxel to Transparent Bridge mode. Once I found the instructions it took about 10 minutes to get it going. My pfsense box was already set for DHCP for my WAN connection so all I had to do really was setup the modem and restart both boxes. Here's some instructions from Centurylink: http://qwest.centurylink.com/internethelp/modem-pk5001z-adv-bridging-ctl.html

    Of course your carrier may be different.

    Running pfSense 2.03 and SNORT on an ASUS B75 chipset microATX with i3-3220 CPU + 16gb RAM  + 120GB SSD + 2 Intel EXPI9301CT PCI-Express Gigabit NICs.

    This has finally cured my bandwidth issues where the connection would just seem lost or severely lagging.