Configuring pfsense to be a router/switch

  • Hi

    I have moved to an apartment and gotten my 100mbit cable connection with a cisco 3825 modem.

    The cisco is not very powerful so with many users and traffic it wont handle it and just bog down.

    Ive read that it will do just fine if it is bridged and the ISP will do this if you ask for it.

    Before i ask them to do it for me how do i configure my pfsense machine to act as the router

    The setup is this

    4 NIC (3 gigabit and one 100mbit)

    I want one of the gbits to be the WAN

    2 of them will go to 2 of my computers

    and the 100mbit to a wireless router in accespoint mode with 4 ports in it for wifi and "switch" for eventual other stuff like xbox etc.

    how should my network be set up for this to work?

  • This isn't really the best setup.. Honestly, if you only need that few of ports than I would suggest just getting a switch to handle it off of amazon.. ^^; Also, If I were you I would just use the 10/100 port on your pfsense router to be used for your ISP since it is a certainty that you will never exceed that speed where as you may want gigabit speeds to transfer files through the wireless router/switch.

    If you DID want to do this still though, I just wrote a post how to do it for someone else.. Please note though, that you will never get the full performance of things using a firewall as a switch as a firewall works on a different Network layer. (Layer 3 instead of layer2)

  • LAYER 8 Netgate

    Use one pfSense port for WAN and one for LAN and get a switch.  You'll need three switchports: one to go to pfSense LAN and one for each computer.

    Edit: Just reread and see that you have a switch in your wifi device.  Just use that.

  • I'm actually surprised.. this is like.. 3 of these posts in 3 days. lol But yes, just grab a switch… you know, if possible.

    Here is a cheap one that has good reviews..

  • Haha ok i understand, i will use my wifi router as a switch and in the future buy a 8 pprt switch and then connect everything to that and use the wifi router as an accesspoint only.

  • Netgate Administrator

    People ask about using port as a switch all the time, and every time it surprises me.  ;) I guess it's because many people are coming from SOHO routers where they have 4 Ethernet ports that are actually a switch but can be separated via internal VLANs.
    If you want your pfSense box to act in the same way you can but you have to bridge the interfaces in order that they are in the same subnet use the same firewall rules, DHCP etc. I posted some instruction on doing that a while ago:,48947.msg269592.html#msg269592

    Best advice is still, use a real switch!  ;) However I have some bridged ports setup like this because I have spare ports and it makes temporarily connecting something locally very much easier.


  • OOoooh.. Much better way than what I posted. lol I think I'll link this thread in the other thread that had essentially the same question. ^^;

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