Replacing Virgin Media Superhub with pfSense



  • Hi - this is my first post on this forum and am not sure if I'm posting in the correct area so please bear with me….

    I'm hoping to setup a pfSense router in place of my existing Virgin Media Superhub

    http://store.virginmedia.com/content/dam/eSales/responsivediscover/broadband/what-speed-can-do/superhub-2.jpg

    I will need to configure the existing hub as a modem as I'm on cable and then connect my pfSense system to it.

    Can someone advise me if I'm biting off more than I can chew? I realise that pfSense is extremely powerful but can I expect to get it to work without too much effort in a small home environment? And are there any simple, straightforward guides for newbies who do need the vast range of options that pfSense offers (at least to start with :))?



  • Hi. I did the same thing. I had an old dell precision knocking around which is probably overfill but hey ho. I use the built in ethernet to goto the virgin hub which is in modem only and I put another ethernet card in, to goto a switch.

    I managed to set it up in an afternoon and have enjoyed the journey learning a little bit about it. Everyone here has been a real help.

    I still have a lot to learn and a few things to fix, but for basic needs it has smashed my not cheap asus AC78u in terms of throughput speeds and general awesomeness.

    Of course as the virgin is in modem only, I had to put the asus into a wireless access point, you need to consider thi if wireless is important to you



  • It's nice to know that someone has already got this working…. I feel as though I'm really out of my depth attempting to set this up but I like a challenge.

    Can you summarise the sequence of steps you went through to get it working, ie did you put the hub in modem mode before installing pfSense?

    I do need wireless access, so will be looking for something to supplement my DLINK DIR-615, but that is a further down the line.



  • I personally like keeping my wireless devices seperate from my switch/routing devices.
    I usually use Ubiquiti or Enginius APs, but everyone has their favorites.

    For bridge mode I found this…

    https://www.google.com/search?q=Virgin+Media+Superhub+bridge+mode&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8

    To setup your network you'll need to setup like this...

    Modem -> PfSense WAN

    PfSense LAN -> Switch -> Devices and Access Point

    If you don't know how to setup PfSense you can youtube it. It's pretty easy and once installed your rarely use the keyboard and monitor if ever.



  • @Visseroth:

    I personally like keeping my wireless devices seperate from my switch/routing devices.
    I usually use Ubiquiti or Enginius APs, but everyone has their favorites.

    Any idea if this product would be any good as a wireless access point?

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Coredy-Wireless-Repeater-Extender-Chromecast/dp/B017VRDGU0/ref=pd_cp_23_2?ie=UTF8&refRID=15YYTSRG8C425Z068BXT

    The Ubiquiti products seem to be outside my budget - I'm just a home user…



  • I have no idea, I started steering clear of cheap access points years ago due to short life and low reliability. I know nothing about that AP/router. Just make sure you turn the DHCP off or put it in bridge mode if it has it.



  • My virgin hub has always been in modem only mode, so really you from the perspective of set up you main concern is to ensure you don't have two devices on the network trying to dish out DHCP this can be a real pain.

    So in terms of set up, I downloaded the image and 'burnt' it a usb stick then installed it onto the dell. I then set the dell up with the base IP I wanted based on all the devices on my network with fixed ips, i.e. I went for 192.168.0.xxx This ensured that devices already fixed would not got awry.

    I also set the DHCP range to be outside of the fixed IPs.

    For you you then want to set your router to modem only mode. Then switch it off. Install the new router you have set up and connect it to the virgin. Turn the virgin back on and in time the router will see it and things should be sweet.

    My understanding of networking is limited to say the least, but I have done this a fair few times with new routers etc. If IPs, DHCP etc are all confusing terms then really you need to bone up a bit on this stuff before diving in.

    Unless I am mistaken the default settings for the firewall etc keep you well protected, as far as port scanning is concerned I am 100%b stealth to the internet which is just the way I like it!

    I really like PFSense, just because I can utilise an old cheap computer to become a far more powerful router than most off the shelf market stuff. Just having 4 gigs of ram which costs nothing in place seems to substantially improve the overall performance of my network lan/wan.



  • @garethsnaim:

    My virgin hub has always been in modem only mode, so really you from the perspective of set up you main concern is to ensure you don't have two devices on the network trying to dish out DHCP this can be a real pain.

    The main problem is that I AM using router mode and have around 10 devices using the hub so I'd like to minimise downtown, otherwise the missus will be very annoyed if Facebook is inaccessible :).  I also need to be able to recover the status quo if I can't get pfSense working…

    I'm hoping to utilise an old Thinkpad laptop as my pfSense router but need to get hold of an additional NIC before proceeding. I found an old IBM Ethernet credit card adapter but couldn't get it working, so I'm waiting for delivery of a new PCMCIA adapter. In the mean time I may investigate using a single NIC using VLANS and a managed switch, but can't quite get my head around how that would work...



  • @Balanga:

    I'm hoping to utilise an old Thinkpad laptop as my pfSense router but need to get hold of an additional NIC before proceeding.

    I use this with my Asus EeeBox B202 as WAN NIC: Plugable Technologies USB2-E100. Does the job nicely for just £12.95.



  • @Mabutu:

    @Balanga:

    I'm hoping to utilise an old Thinkpad laptop as my pfSense router but need to get hold of an additional NIC before proceeding.

    I use this with my Asus EeeBox B202 as WAN NIC: Plugable Technologies USB2-E100. Does the job nicely for just £12.95.

    That's interesting… I have one of these hanging around:-

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Handacc-Aluminum-Gigabit-Ethernet-Converter/dp/B00V9GOKG4/ref=lp_5746339031_1_1?srs=5746339031&ie=UTF8&qid=1453697561&sr=8-1

    At the moment it's connected to my Intel Compute Stick and I didn't think it would work with FreeBSD but I'll certainly give it a try.



  • @Mabutu:

    @Balanga:

    I'm hoping to utilise an old Thinkpad laptop as my pfSense router but need to get hold of an additional NIC before proceeding.

    I use this with my Asus EeeBox B202 as WAN NIC: Plugable Technologies USB2-E100. Does the job nicely for just £12.95.

    I gave this a try today and it didn't work at all… I don't think the USB/ethernet adapter was recognised. How do I tell if it is supported?



  • @Balanga:

    @Mabutu:

    @Balanga:

    I'm hoping to utilise an old Thinkpad laptop as my pfSense router but need to get hold of an additional NIC before proceeding.

    I use this with my Asus EeeBox B202 as WAN NIC: Plugable Technologies USB2-E100. Does the job nicely for just £12.95.

    I gave this a try today and it didn't work at all… I don't think the USB/ethernet adapter was recognised. How do I tell if it is supported?

    It's a bit tricky. Mine for example only works as WAN NIC and not as LAN NIC. Beats me. Swap yours around and see what happens.
    EDIT: Just saw you have a different one to mine. I'm not sure what chipset yours has but if it's not supported by FreeBSD then your next best bet is either to try the one I have, or go for the cheaper model with same chipset: Ugreen USB 2.0 to 10/100Mbps Ethernet Network Adapter @ £7.99



  • I asked for help in the FreeBSD forum. Here's what I got:-

    https://forums.freebsd.org/threads/driver-for-usb-ethernet-adapter.54868/

    I waiting to see what response I get.



  • On another system I had FreeBSD 10.1 installed and this adapter wasn't recognised but after an upgrade to 10.2 it was, so FreeBSD does have support for such an adapter. The problem is that pfSense is currently based on 10.1… I guess there must be some way of adding the required drivers, but I'm not sure how...


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