PfSense 2.1 compatibility with ECS LIVA



  • Greetings,
    I am planning on building a pfsense 2.1 gateway/firewall using ECS LIVA which is an Intel Bay Trail based mobo.
    The spec sheet is very compelling but I have not been able to find any meaningful feedback about its compatibility with pfSense.
    Anyone has had hands on experience with it? Thanks for any feedback.
    I am thinking about buying the kit shown here http://www.ecs.com.tw/LIVA/ (white version with beefed up storage).
    And I'll add a USB/Ethernet adapter, like the Ugreen 20241 with which I had good luck so far on the LAN/static IP side.
    Any advice or warnings?
    HK



  • only seems to have one lan port, and on;y 2gb of ram?



  • That's right, only one ethernet port on it. I was thinking about using a USB/Ethernet adapter like I am doing right now on my older netbook. I was able to find an adapter that works pretty well on the LAN side with a static IP. My top priority is low power consumption and reliability and no baby sitting, at least no more than once a year LOL



  • haleakalas,

    Did you complete this build?  I'm think i'm looking at the same system right now, but I can't find anything about pfsense with emmc storage.  The single nic isn't going to be a problem for me, I'm planning to use it with multiple vlans and a smart switch.  I've run this config many times, including on a Intel NUC.  My only concern is the storage…



  • Yes, I did build one based on a LIVA white box and pfSense 2.1.5.
    Actually, I shouldn't say I built one, I rather experimented with what I had.
    I've been running pfSense off a Flash USB disk (2.1.5 nanobsd version) on an Acer Aspire One, with an additional USB/EThernet adapter.
    I simply moved those two pieces to the LIVA box and reconfigured pfSense as the interface names turned out to be different. Within minutes it was up and running. It worked equally well to my original setup.

    LIVA is truly a great box. The integrated storage looks just like a normal hard drive under several operating systems that I tested with (windows, debian, linux mint, pcbsd, freebsd, ubuntu).

    You should be able to download pfsense nanobsd version (2 or 4GB version) and copy the image to the emmc storage using dd off a bootable linux disk. (connect a USB dvd drive to LIVA, boot ubuntu off it, get nanobsd version of pfsense and copy to emmc, then boot off emmc, and configure pfsense. To use more space, reboot with a live cd and use a hard disk management software to resize the pfsense installation)

    Halea



  • Update to my previous message:

    As I was suspecting that it was going to happen eventually, my Aspire One died on me after 6 years of continuous and loyal service. It was my pfSense router for the last 3. It's actually hard to believe that it lasted so long.

    I permanently moved the Flash USB and the USB/Ethernet adapter to my LIVA box and voila! I now have a fully functional new router. Its performance is good enough to handle my 100 Mbps WAN bandwidth (but my USB/EThernet LAN port limits it to roughly 80).

    As I had became accustomed to LIVA as my KODI player I am a bit at a loss now. So, I might still build a new router and put KODI back on LIVA.

    But, the versatility of LIVA is unparalleled. Litteraly after I found my router lifeless, it took me less than 10 minutes to get LIVA going with the exact same configuration as previously.

    The idea of NanoBSD with pfSense, especially the ability to replicate the active partition into a mirror and switch to it when necessary is a great idea. And backing the whole Flash USB disk to another one with dd makes the flash memory risk go away.

    I only wish that there was a built in option in the NanoBSD menu selection of pfSense to also perform such copy so that I didn't have to shut down the router and restart it with a live cd to run dd.

    Halea



  • Hi haleakalas,

    How were you able to get 2.1.5 to boot on the ECS LIVA? I cannot get either 2.1.5 or 2.2-BETA to boot.
    Neither of the two installers appear to be UEFI installers, so I don't even get an option to choose them as the boot source.
    I did disable secure boot and fast boot, but same as before…ECS just goes to bios setup screen.

    Thanks!



  • I'm still having problems too.  I've been looking into the partition structures and it appears that while the 2.2 tree has compatibility for UEFI the partition structure in the USB stick image and the ISO files are not structured with a EFI loader.  I currently have Ubuntu 14 loaded on my LIVA but haven't had time to work any further on this idea.  I also found this page https://wiki.freebsd.org/UEFI and started looking at the structure they use as it starts to boot, but then the kernel crashes….

    With Ubuntu I was working towards getting the pfSense image into a different partition and seeing if I could get grub to boot to that.  If it worked I was going to delete/shrink ubuntu as much as possible to expand the pfSense partition.



  • Im trying to get a Liva to work too.. however I cant make it to boot anything.. tried burning a CD and boot off a USB DVD drive, no luck, tried writing the  nanobsd image using dd in=image.img out=/dev/mmc device, it writes it but It wont boot it (goes directly to bios image). If I boot from Linux Mint I do see the FreeBSD partitions of the MMC but wont boot. I tried the proposted 2.1.5 and the latest 2.2.3 with same results

    haleakalas could u give us an advice on how u managed to get urs to work??

    Thanks :)



  • Doesn't that thing have legacy boot / csm boot option somewhere in the bios?

    edit: It looks like it does.. manual, page 32. Bios -> Boot -> Boot Mode Select.
    Do not choose UEFI there. If you can't change that, put the UEFI boot options on the bottom of the list.



  • @SisterOfMercy:

    Doesn't that thing have legacy boot / csm boot option somewhere in the bios?

    edit: It looks like it does.. manual, page 32. Bios -> Boot -> Boot Mode Select.
    Do not choose UEFI there. If you can't change that, put the UEFI boot options on the bottom of the list.

    That option is actually greyed out on the BIOS. And I tried moving all options around on the boot order with no luck. Even the MMC doesnt get listed if it doesnt "detect" an UEFI partition on the HDD (tried writing the 2G image and the memstick image to it with DD with no luck making it boot)

    What I was able to boot is a special FreeBSD 10.1 image (FreeBSD-10.1-RELEASE-amd64-uefi-mini-memstick.img), so Im not sure if we would need a special build of pfsense that supports UEFI bootloader in order to get this units workin??



  • @Jabroni:

    That option is actually greyed out on the BIOS. And I tried moving all options around on the boot order with no luck. Even the MMC doesnt get listed if it doesnt "detect" an UEFI partition on the HDD (tried writing the 2G image and the memstick image to it with DD with no luck making it boot)

    Well, what a piece of shit then. Maybe there is a bios update that fixes this (probably not).

    Otherwise I can't offer you much more. Perhaps installing the bootcode from a FreeBSD 10.1 installer and the files from the pfSense installer might work. I've been messing with ZFS-on-root for my pfSense install, which works. However my notes are a bit rough and I do not know the uefi equivalent of "gpart bootcode -b /boot/pmbr -p /boot/gptzfsboot -i 1 ada0"



  • I'm posting this just anybody else comes looking for it. I was able to get pfsense 2.2.4 working on a Liva X. First, I had to install an mSATA SSD in order to utilize the "Legacy" boot option. To enable the legacy boot option, you tell it that you want to boot Windows 7. Then I just installed pfsense to the SSD using a thumb drive and everything works great. I was even able to get a VLAN setup with an old DD-WRT router so that I only need the one ethernet connection.