PfSense and Windows Network Discovery

  • One thing I always struggled with in using pfSense is windows network discovery. I never got it to work. I have googled extensively, but did not find anything useful. I wonder what am I missing.

    I have a pfSense box as a firewall/router. It runs DHCP server. There is only one LAN interface, and only one network DNS resolution works for DHCP hostnames within LAN. LAN has no firewall rules at all.

    I have two samba servers, a windows box and a linux box. I can connect directly using their hostnames, like \MyWindowsBox, or smb:\mylinuxbox.
    But no matter what system (win,linux or mac), I can never discover any samba servers on the local network.

    Any help is greatly appreciated.

  • I think i figured it out. As was said in the FAQ, check your firewalls.

    One of the boxes runs windows that I normally do not have a display attached. When I would change something in the network, it would bring up the UI dialogue and ask me what kind of network is it connected to: Home, Work or Public. And before I actually click on the damn thing it would filter out the discovery packets, hence no samba network discovery worked.

  • Was your issue fixed by changing the network type to "home" instead of "public"?

  • LAYER 8 Global Moderator

    This has nothing to do with pfsense btw.  And yeah if you want to broadcast for netbios names - you kind of have to allow that sort of traffic on the host firewalls ;)  Public setting on windows boxes pretty much prevents all inbound traffic to the interface.

  • Netgate Administrator

    If you have a samba server or windows server that is up 24/7 then just have that run a WINS server and add it to the DHCP configuration in pfSense so that all clients register with it. These sorts of problems usually occur when you have a network of windows boxes behind pfSense but no domain controller and no WINS service. In that situation one box will become the 'netbios name server' but if it's turned off it can take ages for another machine to take over that duty and longer for it to have a complete list.
    It's been a while since I've had to deal with that I could be skipping a few steps!  ;)


Log in to reply