Wifi ac



  • Does (or will) pfsense support wifi ac? Are there any wifi ac cards that I can use with pfsense?


  • Banned

    No, AC is not supported at all. Generally, as far as WiFi is concerned, do yourself a big favour and get a proper AP.



  • Whats wrong with putting a wifi a/b/g/n card in a pfsense box? Am I missing something?



  • The drivers aren't  that good. Though  they have admittedly  improved in the latest pfsense. Hence depending on  your use case  it might be a lot less trouble just using an external AP.
    As for AC, even linux doesn't currently have a decent driver which supports  AP mode.



  • This is probably the way to go:  https://www.ubnt.com/unifi/unifi-ap-ac/


  • Rebel Alliance Developer Netgate

    On 2.2.2 (and better… 2.2.3), doing 802.11ng on pfSense works fine for almost everyone, assuming you have a supported card.

    If you need 802.11ac or want to move the wireless to a more central location away from noisy firewall and server gear, then an external AP is better.

    I'd still lean toward an external AP unless you need to combine everything into a single device in a smallish office.

    Hard to beat Ubiquity gear on price/features/management.


  • Rebel Alliance Global Moderator

    The only use I can see for wifi in pfsense would be for out of band access if you ask me.  If you want wifi for clients - then get an AP, or multiple AP and place them in best location for coverage for your users..

    It would rarely be the case that the location of the pfsense is the best location for coverage of wifi..  Its amazing to me how people cheap out or put in what amounts to macgyver setups with strings, chewed gum and rubber bands for their wifi when for a few dollars.. Quite often less then what your paying per month for your internet access you can put in an actual AP..

    You do understand any wifi router can be a AP..  Not great, but better than some wifi card your going to put into pfsense..  Those can be had for $20.. For $70 you can get a true AP from unifi, etc.  Not AC mind you - but if you got money to spend on wifi devices that have AC.. I would think you can find the money to setup a actual AC AP..  The AC model from unifi is $300



  • Well, bugger me  >:(

    I was hoping to consolidate my separate home-AP into my pfSense setup, it would save space, and conserve power. It would also mean I would not have to depend on external APs with not enough settings.
    So I was already looking for Mini PCIe cards with not only b/g/n connectivity, but also ac and ad. With one of those 'MIMO' cards with three antennas I could choose my own antennas and/or DIY a few of them.

    I currently use a hacked up technicolor tg789vn. I flashed it to an austrian firmware which was not ancient (and which I had a superuser thing for), and soldered in a connector for an external antenna. This works, but runs of its own power supply and there is a relay in it constantly turning on and off.  Probably something to do with the dsl line.

    So this is a no go for a couple of years…  :(



  • "na" on 5Ghz band seems to work reliably. (using combination of Mikrotik RB14eu and R11e-5Hnd) with a max speed of 300Mbps

    "ng" on 2,4Ghz band. Tried 5 different Atheros 9xxx wlan cards, "beacon stuck" - message with all of'em sooner or later. Eventually gave up and used dedicated AP



  • @shaqan:

    "ng" on 2,4Ghz band. Tried 5 different Atheros 9xxx wlan cards, "beacon stuck" - message with all of'em sooner or later. Eventually gave up and used dedicated AP

    What version of pfSense are you using?
    I tried wireless once with 2.1, but also got a lot of beacon stuck messages, and it never worked properly. So if you're using 2.2, I don't have to try it myself.



  • Yes, I used 2.2.x

    Tested cards were different variants of AR9280, AR9281, AR9462, all laptop cards used over PCI Express /Mini-PCI Express adapter.

    Maybe you could get lucky with a AR5xxx series wlan card. It would use different driver. Can't test myself, have none in hand.



  • The "beacon stuck errors" were fixed with verson 2.2.2.
    I would suggest an AR5BXB112 module or at least AR5BHB92. I wouldnt revert back to a miniPCI era card, although they do work. Only AR5416/AR5418 had both frequency bands. Even then only some modules. See list.
    https://wikidevi.com/wiki/Atheros



  • What amazes me is the difference of experience people have with pfSense wireless subsystem. I buy around 300 items yearly off ebay and wifi modules are high up on the list. I have never found an Atheros module that didn't work, until i ventured into USB/AR9271. That did not work and the Atheros ath(4) wiki clearly states that they don't work, so it was my fault for buying it.

    I think you also get what you pay for. The Ubiquity SR71 series modules cost 4X as much for a reason. Carrier grade means something.

    I guess it boils down to what you expect out of it. I didn't expect much and have learned a heap. I bought a Ruckus at someones suggestion and it is OK. Nothing special except dual band. Low voltage and silent too. Still get random disconnects that i thought were pfSense related but see on the Ruckus too. So nice to have both platforms to validate problems.

    To me being able to depend on pfSense for upgrades to my AP is deluxe. Good luck waiting for megacorp to fix their gear.
    Perhaps worse yet -they declare perfectly good hardware EOL.  No thanks.

    Thanks pfSense.



  • I think wireless congestion plays a role in this. when i do a site survey I have about 10 neighboring hotspots. All of them on 2.4ghz. I have the only 5ghz AP in my range, according to netstumbler. I also live in a neighborhood with large lots and lots of old folks. So my interference is minimal.
    I have small commercial installs with no problems either… People seem quite happy with what i have built so far.



  • @Phishfry:

    The "beacon stuck errors" were fixed with verson 2.2.2.
    I would suggest an AR5BXB112 module or at least AR5BHB92. I wouldnt revert back to a miniPCI era card, although they do work. Only AR5416/AR5418 had both frequency bands. Even then only some modules. See list.
    https://wikidevi.com/wiki/Atheros

    They are less but definitely not gone. Recently tried using AR9462 (Dell DW1901) dual band card on 2,4Ghz band AP. Box became "stuck" overnight. 5Ghz band seems okay, 2,4Ghz band not. Apartment flat, so there were bunch of other APs around.



  • @Phishfry:

    The "beacon stuck errors" were fixed with verson 2.2.2.

    I still got them with 2.2.3, maybe even 2.2.4 before I gave up and went external. AR9280, AR9380 cards. Not nearly as frequently as 2.1.x, but still got them. I still use the AR9380 for an interface for some clients so I can check the logs but my personal client devices use the external AP so I don't worry about it anymore since I'm not affected :).