Building first PFbox and need help

  • hello recently upgraded my computer from a sony vaio PCV-J120 has a intel pent iii cpu 256mb of ram to a custom built pc. now my question is can i convert my old tower into a pfsense box and use it as a router and vpn? also can pfsense can connect different store bought routers and broadcast signal all over my house? the modem is in the office on the ground floor and there isnt another wire that i can move the modem in our house. the signal quality is horrible for downloading or gaming. im very new at networking and computers (just built my first pc last week with little help from tech professional friends) so if possible can someone help me step for step?


    The above link will answer most of your hardware related questions.

    Honestly, you need to read the entire wiki, search the forum, and perhaps read a networking book or two before you start asking any questions. Most beginner-level questions have been asked and answered many times. Personally, I searched/browsed this site for 3-4 months before registering. Even now, ~8 months after registering on this forum, I still rarely ask any questions because most of my questions have already been answered, either on this forum or somewhere else on the internet.

    Good luck though, and welcome to the forum. :)

  • To answer the basic question of "Can I run pfSense on my old P3 box?", yes, pfSense will run just fine on almost any old heap as long said heap is still functional. I used to use an old 400mhz Pentium 2 with 128 megs of RAM with pfSense (pfSense 1.x I think) for my personal home router. As long as the network cards are supported you should be just fine. Generally you can throw almost any old PCI network cards in and be good to go.

    However pfSense does all of its routing and filtering in software so your router's performance will be limited by the speed of the CPU. In the case of the Pentium 3 I wouldn't expect to be able to take full advantage of a very fast broad band connection. My old 400mhz Pentium 2 pushed 10mbps just fine so your Pentium 3 will certainly do more than that but I don't know exactly how much more. VPN traffic is a whole different discussion. Basically, unless you have a very powerful or highly specialized system VPN throughput will always be lower than normal throughput.

    As for the wifi, yes pfSense can do that. In fact any router can. Assuming you have several consumer grade home wifi routers then the basic idea is to daisy chain them together or connect them all to the same switch using their LAN ports. Basically if you ignore the WAN ports and just hook them all together and spread them out then you will get wifi coverage over a large area. Just make sure that you connect them in such a way that you don't end up with a circle in the cable connections.

    Once that is done you can give them all the same SSID and wifi encryption settings but put each one on a different channel. Then all you need to do is disable DHCP on all of them so that pfSense acts as your only DHCP server.

    If you can't use ethernet cables to connect all of the wifi routers together then you will need to put them in wifi range extender mode. Most home routers can't do this but a few can. It would probably be easier to just buy one or two wifi range extenders.

  • But there will be a loss of min. 50% bandwidth if you do "wifi extending", better get a stronger one, or a power plug with WiFi to do SSID roaming (but higher cost)

  • Using pfsense to solve your wifi range issues will most likely just end up in frustration.
    Even though it has support for wifi chipsets, antenna's & algorithms will never make it an ideal WiFi solution. Although many try..

    If you want to extend your wifi range, use pfsense for whats its intended (firewall, gateway, router, vpn, proxy, ..) and use wifi Acces Points, WiFi extenders, powerline and network cables for what they are intended.

    Maybe ask one of your tech savvy friends to work out a solution first? Then maybe come back when you have an actual plan in mind.

  • for wifi get an netgear r7000 with ddwrt, and add some high gain 12db dual band antennas

  • LAYER 8 Netgate

    If your home is wired for Cable TV, use MoCA for either another wireless access point in a better location or to plug into directly.

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