Dual Wan Installation with 2 different Nics Intel and Atheros

  • I am new here, so please forgive me if i am posting this in the wrong spot. I have a amd64 bit machine with 2 built in 1000Mbit NICS. It has 1 NIC made by Intel and the 2nd NIC is made by Atheros. My problem is that i can't seem to use the atheros nic,  whereas the pfsense won't even detect the atheros WAN port at all. But the Intel NIC port is detected and works with hardly any issues. I am running pfsense with 32GB DDR3 Corsair Vengance RAM but willing to downgrade the ram to 8GB that was originally installed if needed. I can provide the specs as required about the PFSense box setup that I have.

    Any help is definitely appreciated,


    P.S. I have been using computers and self taught since the late 1990s.

  • Netgate Administrator

    You almost certainly won't be able to use anywhere near 32GB so I'd reduce that, it'll just be wasted otherwise. What are you planning to use the box for? What bandwidth? What packages?

    Do you know the type of Atheros NIC? What board is it?


  • do you know if the atheros is actually working, if pfsense cant detect it get a intel  nic pro card, used they are pretty cheap or new if $ is not an issue

  • i did have the atheros nic working with Ubuntu. But it seems that it doesn't detect it on pfsense. i am using a Gigabyte Z77X-UD5H motherboard as i don't have the exact specs of the Atheros nic. I did reduce the RAM down to 8GB. I do have 260MBit download and 60MBits upload speeds for my bandwidth from my isp. The packages i am planning to use is squid and IPSec as i do have an atheros based wireless PCIe card that it does detect, but not sure why it doesn't detect my onboard atheros NIC. I would like to have my pfsense machine up and running to its full potential as soon as possible and also to have my friends/family use certain services that i give them access to if needed.

    i do have the intel wan up and running right now with a static ip provided from my ISP.


  • Netgate Administrator

    Hmm, some reports of failure after a quick Google. It looks like the NIC on your board is probably:

    vendor = 'Atheros Communications'
    class = network
    subclass = ethernet
    ahci1@pci0:6:0:0: class=0x010601 card=0xb0001458 chip=0x91721b4b rev=0x11 hdr=0x00

    You should be able to confirm that by running 'pciconf -lv'.

    Unfortunately that doesn't turn up anything useful at the PCI device database.  :-\ It could be is the wrong part of the output.

    The Atheros Windows driver given by Gigabyte looks to support 813X, 815X and 816X chips. I think the FreeBSD driver only supports the 813X and 815X so if yours is a 6 series you could be out of luck.

    Some further googling. This twitter pic of the output of an almost identical board seems to suggest the NIC is actually VID:1969 PID:1091 which would equate to an Atheros AR8161/8165. So probably out of luck for now. Not functional in FreeBSD 10 as of November 2013.

    Oh and you won't need more than 8GB of RAM, you'll probably never get close to using that.  ;)


  • yes the atheros version is AR8161/8165. what could i possibly do t tweak the system so that it doesn't freeze on me and might a be able to use. I was planning to use the 32GB for squid caching and squid guard filtering and i do have 2x2TB drives that i would like to take advantage of. i have also acquired 2x320GB drives from an older windows vista install. i hope that i could be able to solve my freezing errors is more than anything at this point. i get freezing errors even when i enable the atheros dwa-542 pcie nic. i am running the latest possible of 2.1.1-PRERELEASE for amd64 and it seems a bit more stable than 2.1-RELEASE but i i have the 2.1.1 and still when enabling the wireless it still freezes up and then i have to manually hard reboot the pfsense box.

    Any help with my freezing issues is always appreciated. i don't mind trying 2.2 whenever a snapshot is available and i have just purchased a subscription and maybe if possible, where might I be able to download the current alpha build/snapshot for 2.2? I am able to dedicate some of my time to bug testing such as submitting some bugs. i don't mind reinstalling if needed as i am not doing this for a company just at home for myself and a few others so no huge amount of users less than 10 right now.

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