Data Usage Caps & Time Scheduling 2 WANS

  • I am very new to PFSense and would like to use it to control data usage. I have two WANs one with no data cap (a T1 line) and the other a Hughesnet satellite connection. Although the satellite connection is faster, it comes with a data usage cap: 10 G/month from 8 AM till 2AM the following day and 50 G/month from 2 AM to 8 AM. The satellite is for fail-over primarily, but it would be nice to actually use some of it, especially at night when the cap is larger for things like cloud backups.

    So although PFSense provides a means to regulate bandwidth usage using Tiers to determine failover and bandwidth, I'm not aware if it can regulate usage based on both (or either) data usage and/or time of day.

    Is any of this possible?

  • LAYER 8 Netgate

    Hmmm.  You might find some joy using rule schedules and gateway groups.

    If you were to define two gateway groups.  One that had the T1 as tier 1 and satellite as tier 2, call it PREFER_T1 and another with satellite as tier 1 and T1 as tier 2, call it PREFER_SAT.

    Then, on your LAN:

    Pass any any any Gateway PREFER_SAT schedule 2AM - 8AM
    Pass any any any Gateway PREFER_T1 no schedule

    That might get you going in the right direction.

  • Many thanks for the great suggestion. This could indeed work well enough to simulate the data cap. I believe there is a way to specify bandwidth for each WAN. By assigning a lower bandwidth to the satellite connection than it really is, perhaps that might add an additional variable that could be used to adjust usage? What do you think? I seem to recall in reading the manual that the usage is apportioned to each WAN based on the bandwidth that was specified for that particular WAN. So "spoofing" the bandwidth might also help.

    Data usage control might be a nice feature in the future. I haven't seen anything like this in a commercial router, but I haven't owned too many and its difficult to discern from the specs. In the future it might be worthwhile to add a cellular modem as a WAN3, which of course has another data cap. I bought a TP-LINK load balancing/fail-over router but there really is very little flexibility in this area.

    As a sidenote, is it possible to "write-over" the firmware on a commercial router with PFSense? I've setup a small network to adjust the PFsense configuration variables without disturbing the status quo using a spare PC, but its overkill to dedicate a (relatively) power hungry PC to a router/firewall. Highjacking the TP-Link sounds attractive. I suppose there is a list here somewhere with a list of routers that can be overwritten…

  • atm pfsense only runs on pc architecture (cpu's).

    maybe someday it'll run on different cpu's

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