Pfsense (2.0 & 2.1) packet-loss determination method

  • I have two pfSense (2.1) firewalls operating through one provider but connected by PPPoE at different ADSL2+ exchanges (RFC Bridging).

    2.1-RELEASE (amd64) built on Wed Sep 11 18:17:37 EDT 2013 FreeBSD 8.3-RELEASE-p11
    Intel(R) Core(TM) i3-2120 CPU @ 3.30GHz, Current: 1200 MHz, Max: 3300 MHz, 4 CPUs: 1 package(s) x 2 core(s) x 2 SMT threads

    Results were roughly the same on previous release.

    Over the last few months the Gateway dashboard elements have been reporting between 2 to 20% packet loss. RRD graphs are similar and packet loss increases significantly with traffic.

    My provider ZETTA.NET.AU has ignored the report of packet loss and allege that pfsense / freebsd results are unverifiable.

    I'm in regional / rural Western Australia and their aren't a lot of options here and in many ways this is one of the best services I've been able to obtain.

    My understanding is that pfsense tracks dropped packet interface statistics in existing traffic. My research of this topic has determined that 2-3% packet-loss is considered a problem and sustained packet-loss of 20% and higher are absolutely unacceptable, and the download statistics for a 22Mbit connection seem to reflect this — particularly if this packet loss is, as the dashboard indicates, simply between my termination and the ZETTA.NET.AU gateway.

    How much consideration should I be giving to the dashboard's packet-loss statistics?

  • The Gateway dashboard element shows the percentage of loss based on ICMP echo requests to your default gateway (by default).  You could try changing the IP address that you use for monitoring, under System -> Routing on the Gateways tab, you would edit your gateway to change this setting.

    If I were in your shoes, I'd ping the ISP's default gateway and then show them the statistics from ping.  You can do this in pfSense under Diagnostics -> Ping.  Assuming that you allow ICMP echo requests on your WAN port, they should be able to ping you too and see the loss for themselves.

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