How to disable loadbalancing and use failover on dual wan config?

  • Hi all!
    I have two Internet connections coming in. One is Cable Modem and another one is T1. I set up basic dual wan configuration based on tutorial  My WAN is Cable Modem connection and OPT1 is T1.

    I notices that with load balancing in most of the cases all traffic is going through OPT1 -T1 interface, though i would like it to go through WAN- Cable Modem interface. Is there a way to set up pfSense just for fail over instead of load balancing? Or to have WAN interface act as my primary interface in load balancing mode.


  • Strange. First of all if your go to a site like and refresh it changes ip every time.

    Use WanFailsToWan2 as gateway to only use failover (as in the doc).

    Post your rules if more help is needed.

  • Thanks for reply!!!

    I changed LoadBlancer to:

    WAN1FailsToWAN2  gateway(failover) opt1
                                                                    wan   WAN1FailsToWAN2

    I also updated my rules based on your suggestion (please correct me if I am wrong):

    Proto  Source  Port  Destination  Port  Gateway  Schedule  Description

    *  LAN net  * *

    • LAN net * *
      • *   *       *         WAN1FailsToWAN2
      • *   *       *

    Now it looks like it is working. shows ip of my Cable modem unless, cable modem connection is dropped and routed to T1.

    It also looks like there is no fail back unless the connection with WAN- Cable Modem is restored and T1 connection is physically dropped.

    PfSense forum,8290.0.html suggests that there is no fail back yet, unless you use work around from,7808.0.html. Is that true for my case?

    Any way it works!!!
    Thanks a lot Perry!!!
    Thanks a lot pfSense team!!!

  • New connections will fail back but already established states through the second WAN will be kept there until the state expires or is closed which will happen sooner or later unless you are talking about services like SIP that try to keep the registration alive all the time.

  • If you want to connect to a ftp site like  it's most likely that a rule at the top is needed.

    Outgoing FTP (LAN -> Internet) UPDATED PORTS, please check!

    1. Ensure that the FTP helper is not disabled on Interfaces, LAN
    2. If you have a restrictive ruleset or are utilizing policy based routing for multiple-wans then ensure that you have permitted traffic to / ports 8000-8030. IE: allow LAN subnet to 8000-8030. This rule should be on top of all other LAN rules that utilize policy based routing.
    3. If you are running windows try turning off the windows firewall

  • I just noticed that pfSence is switching back from WAN to OPT1. I disconnected OPT1 interface and it switched back to WAN in the matter of minutes it switched back to OPT1 again! It looks like OPT1 is default no matter what:)!

    I can see it on as well!

    Am i doing something wrong?

  • What does your pool status report (status>loadbalancer)? In case WAN is down though it should not be down check your monitor IP for reliability.

  • I was all green I mean WAN is green and OPT1 is yellow and then it all switched to green. I trace routed google and found third hope router from the source. I ping -t that router and have not seen any dropped packets I changed my monitor on WAN to that one and it is still the same.

    I also noticed that as soon as OPT1 switches to green ip on changes to opt1.

  • Then better check your firewallrules. Maybe you are using some other pools for some special rules? There definately is no issue with this. I'm using it with a mix of failover and loadbalance rules at work with 3 wans. Recheck your configuration.

  • Can using Automatic outbound NAT rule generation (IPsec passthrough), or Sticky Connections be a problem?

  • Advanced outbound nat won't be a problem. I'm using it as well as my setup is using CARP VIPs. Not sure about sticky connections but that might be a problem with failoverpools. Disable and retest and report back please.

  • Disabled Sticky Connections, pulled out opt1 interface and rebooted pfSence with only one WAN connected to it. As soon as I plugged opt1 cable into nic it changed ip to OPT1.

    I also don't have any other firewall rules but one i mentioned above!

    Can it be faulty hardware? ( I am guessing not?!) I was thinking overnight that my pfSystem runs of Dell Poweredge 2600 with integrated 1GB nic card which I am using as WAN in and the rest of nic's are 100M Netgear. Can it possibly be that pfSence assigns priorities base on speeds?

  • I'm out of ideas for now  :-\

  • Hi there!

    I went further and switched wan interfaces, changed Failover WAN2FailsToWAN. It did not help. I got into the same thing!!!

    So I went further and moved rules around. So, from

    *    LAN net    * *                 
    *    LAN net    * *             
    *    *        *      *              *            WAN1FailsToWAN2             
    *    *        *      *              *  

    I changed it to:

    *    LAN net    * *                 
    *    LAN net    * *             
    *    *        *      *                    *             
    *    *        *      *                    *    WAN2FailsToWAN1

    WAN- T1 with gateway
    WAN2- Cable Modem with gateway

    So now my WAN2- Cable Modem Interface become primary, but as soon as it fails it will not switch to WAN- which is T1.

    I am guessing that the problem has something to do with rules.

    Can anyone explain what am I doing wrong???  ???


  • I still think this is a state issues. Does it work if you manually reset states after failover (diagnostics>states, reset states)? If so it's the effect that I described already above which is normal.

  • Well I rebooted pfSence. Then I double checked interfaces(ip's and gateways). Load balance showed everything in green. I verified that I been connected through cable modem IP. Then I pulled the plug off WAN(integrated GB NIC)- T1 and that was it. I can ping from WAN interface to T1 router, but I can not get internet to work.

    Is not that strange? Before I could not get the Internet to work using GB nic as my Cable modem WAN and now I can not get to the Internet through the same GB nic. But in the second case GB nic serves as a T1 WAN(fail over lan)?

  • Thanks Hobo for helping out!!!

    This is not the hardware! I just re-did the system on another pc. I setup pfsense on different Internet networks and set up worked.

    Now I striped everything down to WAN/ Lan setup. I am having a problem even with trying to get out to the internet. I checked monitor, static ip on the cable modem and on pfsence interface. I enabled pass any from wan rule and could not ping Comcast wan interface.

    Have you ever come a cross that Comcast had issues with their SMC router modems and pfSence?

    Thanks again for helping out!!!

  • I have heard from a lot of people using comcast and pfSense together. One common issue seems to be that the cablemodems sometimes need a reboot if you connect a new device (like replacing an old router with pfSense) as thy seem to cache tho old macadress for ages in their ARP-cache. I also have heard from people where the nexthopgateway seemed to not clear the ARP-cache and they had tto take down the line for 10-20 minutes before a new pfSense install was working there.

  • Thanks Hobo for info!

    I also was wondering if static ip and enabled firewall on Cable modem router may also cause problems?

    Shell I use DHCP instead?

  • For sure I would shut down the firewal of the cable modem. Maybe that's exactly what's happening, your DHCP IP gets dropped and that's why traffic stops then.

  • All my thanks go to Hobo!!!

    You are the man!!!!

    That was the SMC 8014 Cable Modem - Comcast businesses gateway problem!!!!

    I disable DHCP, firewall, restarted the router couple of time since it was not renewing IP. And it worked like a charm!!!!!

    Thank you!!!! Thank you!!! Thank you!!!!!

  • Glad this issue finally got resolved  :D

  • Sorry to hijack your post V-man but I’m trying to implement the very same thing as you “failover with no load-balance” but I’m not getting as far as you and wonder if one of you could give me some pointers.

    My config:
    Pfsense = v1.2
    WAN 20MB = SM = GW =
    Backup (OPT1) 2MB = SM = GW =
    LAN = SM = GW =
    Wireless = SM = GW =

    I too have read the document but got compleetly confused at the sticky connections as my understanding is that I don’t want any so that if my wan connection fails my mail server’s mail's will be re-routed out the fall back gateway.

    So with  this in mind I tried to set up a lab environment on some spare hardware dropping the load balance rule from the pools and keeping WAN1->WAN2 and WAN2->WAN1 filters. This is where I got stuck, no matter what I do I cannot get it to fail over to Backup (OPT1) but the fact that others can and the fact that I’m not exactly thick means I must be missing something obvious. I think I’m just getting confused with the terminologies used in PFSENSE when I’m comparing it to other distributions I have used.

    Any help you guys can give would be great

  • Did you set the gateway(s) of your LAN rule(s) to the failover pools?

  • At the moment I have a basic config with no pools setup.
    I am driving remotely over VPN so don't want to get locked out.
    This is what I have atm,

    I did have mail -> out 'locked' to backup (OPT1) link but understand that when that link fails it needs to use the WAN link.

    Reading another post,,8994.0.html,

    You said one can simply add more lines to the load-balance filter to balance out the faster modem! So could I not just have one load balance line,

    2 lines with 2Mbit and 20Mbit
    line1: 1 times in list
    line2: 10 times in list

    What happens in this scenario when one line goes down does it simply round robin on to the next working one or does it time out?

    I just want some advice from you guy's on how you would best 'tweak' my config to get the most out of it with the most important thing being remote connectivity in the event of the WAN failing.


  • Hi there,

    Right I have read your question a couple of times and I now see (with your help) where I went wrong.

    For some reason web browsing works fine with either wan disconnected but I can only ping Google with WAN connected and I get a timeout using only the Backup, strange!

    Also I still don’t understand how the three load balance rules work, If I have a dead link in all three rules how does it know which one to use?

    I will play some more while I'm feeling brave.

    Cheers for your help

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