New to pfSense



  • Hi there;

    I am new to pfSense, I've used other router software before, coyote Linux, but for several years I've been relying on a couple of dLink routers.  However they are becoming unreliable and I want something a little better so I've decided to build a couple pf boxes.

    I've got available to me a couple of computers that have Intel DQ37JO motherboards with Intel Dual Core 2.5 ghz processors.  The motherboard has a single gigabit network interface and I have a couple of dlink 530tx gigabit network adapters that I will use.  At the moment the machines have 160 gig hard drives.

    I've also got a couple of dLink DWA-548 wireless-n network cards that I'd like to use to provide wireless.  However at the moment I can't get the wireless cards working.

    The motherboard has a raid controller built into it and I do have extra 160 gig hard drives.  However the case only has room for 2 maybe 3 hard drives.  3 if I remove the DVD drive.

    I've also got a 4 port pci-e intel network card coming from Ebay.

    So a few questions.
    What do you all think of my build so far?
    Any idea how I might get the wireless card working?
    Would there be any advantage to using a RAID array?

    All and any comments would be greatly appreciated.
    WD



  • 1.  Use the Intel NIC instead of the DFE-530TX
    2.  Wireless under 2.1.x isn't the best due to old FreeBSD 8.x base.  Upcoming pfSense 2.2, based on FreeBSD 10, will be better
    3.  Your consumer-level RAID probably requires a software driver, and I doubt it supports FreeBSD but you never know.  pfSense doesn't take much time to install, and they support a full config backup/restore.  Either that or take a bare-metal image every now and then.


  • Netgate Administrator

    That wifi card appears to built on the Ralink RT5392 chipset (unless yours isn't rev. A1) and there doesn't appear to be any support for it in FreeBSD so you're probably out of luck there.  :(

    Steve



  • @Witchdoc59:

    Any idea how I might get the wireless card working?

    Instead of the wireless card, consider a wireless access point (or a wireless router in access point mode).

    @Witchdoc59:

    Would there be any advantage to using a RAID array?

    pfSense supports geom_mirror. Use that instead of fake-raid.

    During install select “Custom install” and you will see options to configure Gmirror.
    As to advantages – same advantages RAID has everywhere else. You can use RAID mirror array for redundancy (just do not forget to add both mirrored storage devices to the motherboard boot list). Other levels of RAID array… not sure why you would want them with pfSense.



  • Can someone recommend a good wireless N access point that would work with my setup.    Once I get the 4 port Intel NIC I could use the d-link card as my Optin card and connect the ap to that.

    All and any comments greatly appreciated.
    WD


  • Netgate Administrator

    Ubiquity hardware always gets high recommended here on the forum. It's not the cheapest but it's far better than most SOHO gear.

    Steve



  • Ok I want to be clear on this.  If I buy something like this and connect it to the Opt1 port on my pfsense box then it will do wifi for me?

    http://www.a-power.com/product-26129-899-1

    All and any comment or suggestions welcomed.
    WD


  • Netgate Administrator

    Yes it will. I'm not the right person to advise you on that though, I've never used any Ubiquity products.  ;)

    Steve



  • @Witchdoc59:

    Ok I want to be clear on this.  If I buy something like this and connect it to the Opt1 port on my pfsense box then it will do wifi for me?

    http://www.a-power.com/product-26129-899-1

    All and any comment or suggestions welcomed.
    WD

    I use that ap on some of my networks.  It is pretty easy to configure if you have a basic understanding of wifi/networking.  I connect mine to my network switches but I see no reason why using opt1 will not work.  Are you trying to separate the ap network from your lan network?


  • Rebel Alliance Global Moderator

    I have the UAP-AC from unifi - and can not be more happy with it.  Has been rock solid, good speeds and the software controller feature is just win/win..  The AC model is a bit more expensive than their typical N model.  But I wanted to play with AC and have dual band, etc.

    Yes that is an AP, and can connected to your network it will provide wireless to that wired network.  You do need to run the controller software atleast to set it up, then you can turn it off.  But you will most likely want to run it all the time for the reporting.  I do believe there was something about running the controller software on pfsense itself.  But I just run it a VM.

    I wish my house was bigger so I would have an excuse to run more of them ;)  But 1 covers my whole house - kind of toying with getting an outside model to get better coverage in the back yard ;)



  • johnpoz makes a good point about the controller software needing to be installed on a pc to configure/manage the ap.  So if you do run the ap directly on opt1 you will probably have to create a rule in pfsense so you can manage it.  If it is a simple network setup I think it would be better to hang the ap of a switch/hub that is on your lan segment.  This will simplify things greatly.


  • Netgate Administrator

    No web interface even for basic settings? Any other interface, ssh, telnet etc?
    There was an effort to get the management software running on pfSense and for a while I beleive it worked quite well. That was sometime ago though and I think the last reports I read were that it sort of ran but was incredibly slow. It's a shame because if it was an easy to install pfSense package using Unify wifi would be a no-brainer. I guess Ubiquity have little incentive to make it work as it directly competes with their own routers.

    https://forum.pfsense.org/index.php?topic=46342.0

    Looks like there is still work on-going in the ubnt forums.

    Steve



  • Ok I greatly appreciate all the comments.    How is the support in pfSense for Nortel?  The reason I ask is I have a bunch of these things.

    http://www.shoplet.com/Nortel-networks-limited-Nortel-2332-Wireless-Access-Point-54-Mbps-DR4001086E6/2N11153/spdv

    Before I go ahead and buy the Ubiquity stuff I'll try this first.

    Someone asked if I was trying to separate wireless from my wired network and the answer is no, I'd like to be able to access my wired network from my wireless devices.

    However at some point I might create a second router and use that to create a separate network.  The reason for this is that I have several boarders at my home and I'd prefer to give them their own network separate from my network.

    Thanks again for all and any comments
    WD


  • Netgate Administrator

    You might as well try it since you have them already. pfSense will work with any access point but looks like those Nortel units are designed to work with some central server/switch. They may have a stand alone mode, time to hit the manual.  ;)

    Edit: Looks like they're also PoE only.

    Steve



  • I have the power injectors for them.  I may have a poe switch at home as well.  I also have a couple controllers for the Nortel APs.  My organization upgraded to an N solution a couple years ago and I was able to salvage the old Nortel equipment.

    Greatly appreciate the comments and suggestions.

    WD


  • Netgate Administrator

    If you have all that then use it.  :D I bet it cost a fortune when it was new!
    It should work fine.

    Steve