Need help enabling other Nics to work

  • Hi finally got my pfsense box built, I have installed an intel 4 nic Ethernet card (ignoring my realtek onboard which pfsense ignors)

    I have followed a pfsense guide for OpenVPN connection and it is working fine.

    Currently my setup looks like this:

    Wan          ->em0    ->v4/DHCP
    Lan          ->em1    ->v4:192 etc
    Opt1        ->em2
    Opt2        ->em3
    VPN(op3)  ->ovpnc1 ->V4.Ip etc

    So I set up pfsense to Wan(em0)connected to broadband router, using the Lan(em1) port connected to PC and VPN is working fine.

    How Can I enable Opt1 (em2) and Opt2 (em3) They are ports 3/4 on my intel nic card ?

    I tried to enable there interfaces but I guess they are not linked yet to my openvpn client settings somehow ?

  • Interfaces->Assign, "+". Choose which NIC you want for each (in your case I expect it will default to assigning them in a sensible order).
    Interfaces->OPT1 - enable and put whatever private subnet you want, or WAN-style settings if it is a 2nd WAN or…

  • thx for reply phil

    The private subnet is where I am getting confused with is that the settings in the Ipv4 configuration type field?

    I will play around with the settings and see if I can get it to work still thx

  • If you are using the OPTn port(s) for extra private/local LANs, then just give them static IPv4 addresses in other private subnets. e.g.
    LAN: static
    OPT1: static
    OPT2: static

    Then enable DHCP on each interface, with some range of addresses in each subnet:
    LAN: - 199
    OPT1: - 199
    OPT2: - 199
    and add firewall rule(s) on OPT1... to pass the traffic you want to allow from OPT1... to other places.

  • I can enable Opt1 and 2 but that does nothing much even after a reboot. I am using my VPNs dns servers to connect to the internet and Wan is DHCP with my real ISP IP showing, the VPN is using some other IP which I am not sure about but it is working on VPN IP check.

    I tried adding static ips to both Op1/2 but how do I enable dhcp afterwards ?

  • but how do I enable dhcp afterwards ?


  • thx phil but theres 4 different DHCP sections under services :)

    I tried to play around with the dhcp server and enabled range of addresses in both opt1 and 2 even tried to add more firewall rules for both opt1/2 but no joy.  I think there are many tick boxes and settings and other things I must enable and adjust for it to work.

    Does anyone have any links to direct tutorials or youtube vids on setting up additional ports and configuring them ?

  • Netgate Administrator

    Services: DHCP Server:
    Hit the tab for your new interface and enable the dhcp server on it.


  • Maybe i missed it, but what do you want todo with the other interfaces, connecting to ?.
    pic of your current network and a pic of what u want ur network to be configured as would be great

  • LAYER 8 Global Moderator

    ^ I agree not sure what the OP wants interfaces to be used for?  If other network segments, it is as simple as giving them an IP, and enabling firewall rules for that interface to allow traffic you want to allow.

    If you want to enable dhcp it is a simple checkbox on the interface tab under dhcp server..

  • Hi will give it another go now that you guys fixed my saving/restore feature.

    Its a very simple setup

    broadband Modem (DSL)  > Pfsense PC > PC

    I have on the Pfsense PC a 4 port Nic, 1 port for Wan with dhcp (em0) 1 port for Lan (em1) connected to my desktop and working fine with my VPN provider and opt1/2 as em2 and em3 (the 2 ports I would like to use also at same time)

    I would like to run my existing VPN connection to not only the Lan port which is working fine but to the other 2 spare ports so I can connect up a 2nd pc for family member.  So its still under VPN.

    I know it can work since it worked with a tomato router, all 4 ports worked under the same VPN provider :)

    I will give it a shot and pop back, once I got these 2 ports working with internet under my VPN I can enjoy Xmas hopefully!

  • its trickier under pfsense than a tomato based router as the nics have to be "bridged" in pfsense, trying to make pfsense a multi nic router could be challenging as it was not meant to be a one but is doable.
    probably easier with a dumb switch connecting it to em1 and the pc's connected to the switch, but not quite sure as for the vpn working in this configuration as im no expert on vpn's.
    so do a search in bridging the nics, have fun as there is not much info on that but it is out there…...btw, although i like my pfsense setup  i miss my tomato gui

  • LAYER 8 Global Moderator

    "I would like to run my existing VPN connection to not only the Lan port which is working fine but to the other 2 spare ports so I can connect up a 2nd pc for family member.  So its still under VPN."

    No that is not what you want to do..  You don't have a switch laying around, or even an OLD router?  Bridging the interfaces so they act like a switch can be done - but NO not something for a new user of pfsense or networking in general.

    If you don't have as switch or old router laying around to use just the switch ports.  Then buy one they can be had for like $20

    There are like 2 pages to choose from under $20

    As to vpn you have setup on your pfsense - then sure you can have all clients use that vpn, or even get fancy and use policy based routing so only specific computers use it, or even only use it when specific dest etc..

    What did pfsense replace? Most soho routers have built in 4 port switches – so instead of using it as a router or wireless access point you can just leverage its switch ports.  Just disable it dhcp server, disable its wireless and then connect from your pfsense to one of its lan ports, and then your other devices to the 3 other lan ports open on the old soho router.  There you go 3 machines on your pfsense lan network.

  • Wow a little shell shocked at hearing this news, much appreciated info. I guess I really should have asked this question before spending the money I did !  luckily it was not to much!

    Its a bit whacky to hear pfsense can't output the VPN so easily to 4 ports,  it was replacing a cheap 2nd hand tomato router which did it no issues.

    I will have to consider my options at this point still a 15watt AMD AES enabled CPU with pfsense is not bad at all and still best any tomato router in speeds and performance, I may just get some 4 way switch power Ethernet plugs and have everything sorted in seconds.

    Could I not just enable normal internet over the 2 extra ports?  Or what if I used a 2nd VPN service and then simply use that for the 2 extra ports ?

  • LAYER 8 Global Moderator

    Dude you have 4 nics not a 4 port switch..  This nics are NOT on the same network..  They are not connected to each other in anyway.. They are 4 nics connected to a router..

    Your soho router was something like this - see attached.  See the SWITCH where all the ports are connection.  Where you vlan tagged the ports between wan and lan and wireless is bridged to your lan, etc..  Completely different then a router with multiple interfaces.

    Now you can get nics to kind of act like a switch by creating a "bridge"  but is still not the same as a switch..  And complicates the setup that I would not really suggest for a new user.  Now where you other nics come in handy is creating multiple network segments.

    Now if you want you could create a new segment say while your lan is that is very easy. Now you can route traffic between these networks.  And sure they could all use pfsense to get to the internet or use the vpn connection that pfsense has setup.  So your machine you plug into the nic that is would get a 192.168.2 address etc.  And if you wanted a 3rd create 192.168.3 on that interface.

  • This is the card I have

    Its the hp intel 364T 4 port Ethernet card.

    Wan/em0 is connected to DSL router and gets dhcp ok

    lan/em1 is connected to desktop pc and gets vpn ok

    So just to make sure I am getting this right…. I can't make real use out of the other 2 ports since its all connected to one unit unlike a routers vlan design I take it ?  Obviously without getting my head around bridging and more complex stuff !

    If that is the case then I should still be able to get a cheap switch or one of these power Ethernet adapters like this :

    and then just use the existing lan > 4 way powerline and split to 4 connections, all under vpn I take it ?

  • what i and johnpoz said about bridging, its not really like a switch and not a newb thing to try and needs some cpu strength to handle 4 bridged nics, its doable just not recommended. if pc's are already wired for network just buy a switch as the power over ethernet is not really needed

  • Hi I understand, I prefer to keep it simple and working.

    I can get a cheap switch but ill be moving this pfsense box and router to a different room, right now am running 30 meters worth of of wires around rooms and its messy.

    Is a power over Ethernet not recommended?  many of them have 2 port or 4 port switches making this ideal for my set up.

    Its not the end of the world if the 4 ports do not work, I just need 1 at the end of the day,  my main priority was to use AES encryption for VPN support and not be limited to tomato or ddwrt routers and very limited 20-30meg max broadband speeds.  I was either going for netgears R7000 at $200 or my Pfsense build @ $300, so for the extra bit I am future proofed and not limited to low speeds under VPN:)

  • LAYER 8 Global Moderator

    Arrrghhh dude your ports are very usable, nobody has said anything different.. They are full NICs not switch ports.. As I said you can just fire up a port on that card in another network and connnect whatever you want to it and it will work.. Just not on the same network like a switch would do, unless you bridge them..  Which is NOT something a new user to networking should be doing ;)

    But sure if you want to play have fun..  As to a switch supporting POE, do you have a need for this?  Do you have devices like an Accesspoint that your going to plug into the switch that can get power from the switch… If not there is no point to POE.

    Do you still have your old router - use it as a switch..  No need to buy anything.

    A switch allows you to run 1 wire to where pfsense is - and then connect your switch where you have devices in the same room, switches can be chained..  So for example I have switch off my pfsense lan nic, that switch has wire that runs to front of the house where another switch and my dvrs, slingbox, etc. are plugged into the network.  There is also a cable that runs from the center switch to back end of the house where another switch is that I can use to connect stuff back there.

    Try to leverage the nics in your pfsense for devices especially if those devices are not right next to your pfsense box is just pointless nonsense..  You use switches to connect devices to your network, you buy as many ports you need, if you need more buy another switch plug it in, etc..

    If you don't currently have use of another network segment to take advantage of your 4 port nic - just think its future proofing.  Maybe next week you will want to isolate your wireless on its own segment.  Maybe you will need another lan segment for say your media devices to keep their broadcast traffic off your main lan.. those things are noisy little suckers.. ;)

  • Netgate Administrator

    What you have with a 4 port NIC card, 4 separate NICs, is far more powerful that a SOHO router style switch.

    It is definitely possible to bridge the NICs if that's the way you want to go. It's just that it can be a bit confusing until you get your head around it and nobody here wants to introduce unnecessary confusion! To give you some idea of what's involved here's a post a wrote some time ago:,48947.msg269592.html#msg269592

    You don't need to bridge the two NICs to give the second subnet access to the VPN. To do that you simply need to add a firewall rule that catches traffic and sends it via the VPN gateway.


  • thanks johnpoz and Stephen10 for the information and link

    I just wanted to clear up some further questions,  I understand from what you guys are saying I can still make use out of the extra ports.  When I said Nics I mean I have 1 single network card with 4 separate Ethernet ports (just making sure!).

    I think playing around with bridging them and what not is to complex as it is for now so ill avoid it for now.

    I want to ask,  you said I can still fire up another network and make use of the other ports, I did ask this before but no answer or I missed it.  Are you suggesting I can use a 2nd VPN provider and make use out of one of the spare Ethernet ports still ?

    Or I can enable normal broadband from those 2 spare ports I have ?

    Or when you mean another network you mean like a separate broadband connection ?

    For now I only need 1 desktop pc for internet, but yes perhaps a 2nd for a server and laptop in future.

    No wireless required, I prefer hardwire only,  I do understand your switches or a spare modem idea to simply add more devices to the network and it is cheaper but I still hate having wires and more clutter.  A poe plug with inbuilt 4 way switch is neater for myself I could get tp link 3way switch poe x2 pretty cheap also, no accesspoint either.

  • LAYER 8 Global Moderator

    laptop without wireless?  What is the point of that? ;)

    Yes you were answered multiple times about creating another network – Sometimes its like talking to a freaking wall??

    Gave you the example of  arrrghhh

    Here is a picture of your 4 nics - see attached.  Yes we know they are really 1 card..

    You can have any one of these computers talk to each other, or share the same internet or vpn connection..  It takes all of a couple of minutes to set this up..  But they are NOT on the same network, you will have to create firewall rules to allow the traffic you want them to talk to each other on, etc.  This is NOT as fast as using a switch, your traffic is routed not switched -- there is a HUGE freaking difference.

  • thx johnpoz

    Yes its difficult to understand this thread, I have to admit its confusing since I was told its easy to enable internet on the other ports… to its not easy to do so since you have to bridge the ports if you want vpn on those spare ports since its not like a vlan/router.... then back again to yeah you can just enable the ports  ;D

    I do apologise to asking the same question again but the last 2 pages anyone new to pfsense setup would be well confused id bet!

    I think from your last comment your suggesting the switch is the quick newbie fix for me (which I don't mind at this point).....
    but if you correctly set up the firewall rules so they can talk to each other etc then its doable as you suggest,  so forget bridging ports why not just do that ?  ;)

  • LAYER 8 Global Moderator

    Yes it is doable routing traffic between 2 different network..  What do you think a router does??

    Lets be clear.. You have 4 nics in a router.. Yes it is very easy for 1 of those to be WAN and other to be LAN segments and all 3 of those segments use the same internet or vpn.

    But they are NOT on the same network..  They are not on a switched network, if you want your 3 nics to be on the same network the only way to do that is to "bridge" them.

    No none of these terms would be confusing to anyone that understands basic networking 101..

    Anyone that even failed networking 101 would do it that way..  If you have 1 or more devices you want on the same network then you connect them to a switch.. That is how you network devices together.

  • Netgate Administrator

    Calm down it's nearly Christmas.  ;)

    The reason you might want to bridge the NICs would be so that devices connected to them end up in the same network subnet. The reason you might want that is that some software only works inside a single subnet. So, for example, if you have a media server you will probably find it's client software can only discover it if it's on the same subnet. You may have trouble browsing network shared folders across two subnets.


  • LAYER 8 Global Moderator

    This is been one of the most frustrating threads I can remember ;)

  • But I haven't even started to ask my questions yet….seriously  :-* I have a ton more lol

    I think johnpoz you best sit down before reading this next bit in case I am wrong :)

    Ok I could be wrong on this but what you guys are suggesting is while I can use ports 3/4 for internet for a 2nd laptop or desktop etc,  using a networked media player box or server would not work on those spare 3/4 ports since it can't be networked and share the same network ie browse for files or use a media player to stream files shared from my desktop ?

    Hence why your suggesting a switch is golden and an easy fix and allows networking fully between all devices ?

    Its perfectly fine to hulk out with the answers, good or bad I just need the info after all.

  • LAYER 8 Global Moderator

    "using a networked media player box or server would not work since it can't be networked and share the same network ie "

    Dude come on – really this can not be a really question.. Your just fucking with me now??  Nobody said anything of the sort -- do you really not have a clue to what a network is?  Is it possible that "something" might not work - sure..  Your microsoft network browsing is going to have a hard time since it doesn't work across segments..  If you were trying to use chromecast from one of the other segments - going to fail, etc.  So yes some lame ass media player that does not understand network segments might fail, yes -- that in no way what so ever means ALL of them.. JFC!!  arrrghhhh

    This just seems way to complicated for you - I suggest you just plug in some soho router and be done with it..  I am just amazed that you were able to get tomato installed on something.. Did you buy it with tomato preinstalled?

  • Netgate Administrator

    Yes, mostly.  :P
    In fact it varies between applications/protocols.
    IMHO any decent media player should allow you to enter the IP address of the server you are connecting to manally. In which case the server can be in a different subnet and you'd have no problems (as long as you've put in firewall rules to allow that traffic). Yet many media players, particularly those built into a smart TV or games console, do not give you this option. They rely entirely on searching for and finding the media server automatically, often via UPNP, and they only look in the local subnet.

    My advice would be try it and see. Don't spend more money on hardware until you have proven that what you already have is insufficient. I have 10 separate subnets here at home and only very very rarely run into any problems and even then they can usually be worked around without having to changing cabling and switches etc.


  • See edited post of what I meant to say….


    Ok I could be wrong on this but what you guys are suggesting is while I can use ports 3/4 for internet for a 2nd laptop or desktop etc,  using a networked media player box or server would not work on those spare 3/4 ports since it can't be networked and share the same network ie browse for files or use a media player to stream files shared from my desktop ?

  • Netgate Administrator

    Like I said it's a potential problem but, like I also said, I never see it.

    The additional interfaces must be on a different subnet in order for routing to work correctly. If you really need them to be on the same subnet you have to bridge them. You probably don't need that though.

    Setup your interfaces so that you can plug in a client machine to any of them and receive an IP via DHCP and then get general internet access. If you copy the 'default LAN to any' rule from the LAN interface, but change the source field to match, you should then have access to anywhere from anywhere. See if you have any problems. Try to work around them. Ask more questions.
    If you find something that really can't be made to work and you absolutely must have we can talk about bridging.


  • LAYER 8 Global Moderator

    This guy is just fucking trolling now.. Nobody is this freaking dense!

  • Netgate Administrator

    Ha.  ;D
    It just depends how you read it. We all knew nothing about networking at some point. Give the guy a break, it's Christmas!  ;)


  • thanks stephenw10 you are hero of of 2013, great minds think alike I was thinking since internet was not working (ports 3/4) I decided to go back to square one and copy the pfsense settings within interface & firewall rules just to see if internet can work but I did so without the openVPN settings which it did prove to work just fine.

    I noticed on OPT1/2 I left it on LAN Subnet under Source, how on earth did you figure out my Source setting was incorrect ?

    I set it to OPT1 subnet and did the same for OPT2 after reading your post, plugged in ports 3/4 and it popped up with internet connection.

    Added my OpenVPN settings and retried just now under Lan and ports 2/3/4 all working fine under my VPN provider :D

    I have further defaulted the gateway dns servers and assigned private servers instead so I do not get IP or DNS leaks, also paused OpenVPN and tested if it works !

    I have saved the xml 4x

    I have renamed my pfsense box to Johnpoz under General Setup but it came back with an error which I ignored

    Relax I am messing around :P, thanks to all you guys including johnpoz I got there with a bit of testing and playing around I was surprised that most of the advanced and basic settings can be ignored or left on default… wish I knew that well before getting into pfsense. Next I will consider poe/switch to add more devices !

    Merry Xmas all

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