Help, advice, ideas for Home network with PfSense please

  • I am going to set up a PfSense box at home to run the network and I wanted to see what people thought.

    This is what I have:
    In the Lounge there is the modem and currently a Talk Talk router. I have a PS3, media PC dual booting XBMXbuntu and win7 and a FreeSat box connected to the router and a Wii using wireless. The then have a cat5e cable running from the router to upstairs on the landing where there is an 8 port gigabit switch. From the switch there is a NAS (holding media and running upnp), 2 win7 pcs and I will be running a cable to the bedroom where there will be a LinuxMint PC. There are also several laptops, phones etc using wireless in the house.

    My plan is to replace the talk talk router with the PfSense box. So modem into Onboard nic and the another 8 port gigabit switch plugged into the PCI nic.  Everything in the lounge plugs into the switch including the link for upstairs. I then have a second PCI nic that could be used to plug in either the talk talk router, disabling dhcp and try to us it as a wireless AP, I also have a TP link WA801ND wireless AP. Could this be used upstairs as a repeater somehow to extend the signal.

    Or would I be better to plug the AP into the switch? and only use one of the PCI nics? or have upstairs and downstairs seperated using the 2 PCI nics?

    Would it be possible to plug ne AP into the switch downsstairs and one into the switch upstairs and have them running the same wireless for seamless interaction?

    I am trying to worj out the best sollution so that everything insode the house is connected so that they all have internet access but also albe to see eachother to share media from the NAS etc.

    Thanks for any advice or ideas guys, this is my first project using PfSense and I am looking forward to playing about.

  • modem<->WAN-pfSense-LAN<->Switch<-devices, computers, APs… - that is the ordinary way to do it.

    If you do not need any access restrictions between WiFi-connected devices and wired devices, then connect everything, including the APs, to the switch. Make sure any DHCP in the APs is turned off - it can be rather confusing if multiple devices are serving DHCP on a LAN.
    Not sure about having both APs with the same SSID (I guess that is what you mean, makes it easy for each WiFi device to just have 1 SSID+password set and will then connect to whichever AP it feels is best). Others can comment on that.

  • Netgate Administrator

    Since you have a separate modem and router and are using TalkTalk as your ISP I assume you are in the UK and have a FTTC connection? What speed?

    The way you segregate your network is really entirely up to you. I have almost everything separated from everything else but that could just be because I have a box with loads of ports that would otherwise go unused.  ;)
    I like to have wifi separate from my LAN as that's far more likely to end up with bad traffic on it. I also have several APs, at least one completely firewalled from the rest of the network, that allows me to give access to guests without compromising anything if they happen to be carrying malware.

    One important consideration is that often things like upnp media servers/clients are not capable of operating across subnets. There's no technical reason why they shouldn't it's just that software developers like to use 'auto discovery' features in upnp and often don't provide a manual method of entering the server IP. That may well be true between your PS3 and NAS.


  • Thanks Guys,

    Yes I am in the UK with FTTC, I am currently getting around 31mb according to this morning.

    I am going to try and keep it simple for now to get everything working. I will just use on NIC and then the AP from the switches for now. Once I have had a play about with, find what I like and feel more confident I may consider segregating it more. The issue with upnp over different subnets may cause a problem if I segregate the wireless from the LAN as I have one media player in the bedroom that uses the wireless.

    The other reason is that the PC with the smallest case currently only has room for one PCI card… although I have another desktop that could be used it is quite a bit bigger and I am trying to do this project without spending money.

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