PfSense 2.1 Power-on Network Issue

  • I am running pfSense 2.1 AMD64 as a VM on my server with the following specs

    Intel Xeon E3-1245v3
    Gigabyte H87N-WIFI
    8GB RAM
    Intel i350-T2 NIC (passthrough enabled), one port to modem in bridge mode and other port to LAN
    ESXi 5.5

    It is just acting as a router for my home connection using snort/squid/ddns/ipsec/openvpn etc.

    My issue is whenever I cold boot the VM the NICs available to the pfSense VM will not connect to the network (it hangs on WAN and won't connect) and LAN doesn't work either, if I reboot the VM (without powering it down) it then works perfectly

    the status window just shows the wan port having no address and the lan port having the correct address but it is not accessible

    this is a bit of a problem as we often lose power and i have to reboot the VM twice every time I start it up from scratch or need to reconfigure the VM.

    just today i was working the entire day but the power was out in the morning and the rest of the family had no internet for basically the whole time, when I got home all the VMs, systems and
    devices had recovered but the pfsense VM NIC won't get an IP Lease or function on the internal LAN without the second reboot which I have to do manually every time

    after doing this reboot it is perfectly stable i get maximum speeds and months of uptime

    i'm thinking its an issue with the igb driver, but I dont really know how to debug it

    i had a look at the dmesg but it seems to show the same output on both functional/non-functional environments

    any suggestions would be appreciated

  • There was another thread along similar lines quite a while ago.  I seem to remember that it was resolved by not using pass through for the NIC - but I could easily be wrong.

    There was also a suggestion that the pfSense VM might be starting up too quickly - before ESXi was ready.  The idea was to delay the auto start for a minute or two.

    Sounds like you need a UPS though.  ;)  I have a VM that monitors the UPS and, if the battery drops too low in a power outage, it can tell ESXi to gracefully shut down all the VMs and then shutdown ESXi

  • yeah I will probably invest in a UPS quite soon

    the weird thing is this is nothing to do with the Hypervisor state though

    like if i just manually log into the ESXi console shutdown/halt the pfSense VM (properly using VMware tools)
    start it up from a state of being off the same issue occurs again
    i always need another reboot  of the VM to get connectivity

    it also often occurs in twos e.g. if i reboot again connectivity is lost but it always comes back the second time

    i was using NC360T NICs previously in this same system in the same configuration and experience no such issue which is why I'm thinking it's the igb driver

    i had to replace the nc360s because they were highly unstable no matter if they were in passthrough mode or not, which i think was a motherboard/chipset issue, under any kind of load the entire system hypervisor and all would just lock up, but there was never any issue with initial connection