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pfSense and wireless

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I run a pfsense box as a router and firewall. I have the wireless fearure of the vdsl ActionTech Q1000(that enables my internet connection) modem turned off as I do not use wireless. Someone else living in the house wants wireless for her laptop (new girl moving in). The ActionTech Q1000 is in transparent bridge mode and pfsense handles DHCP duties. I wonder if I can leave the ActionTech bridged but turn on the wireless function and put the ActionTech on a different subnet than the pfsense box and have me a wireless access point.I have found a pfsense tutorial that seems to suggest that this is possible but in their example a different router is used and the do not speak at all about it being in bridge mode but they do say "turn off DHCP functions", then proceede as I have outlined.

If this does not work can I put a wireless card in the pfsense box and get wireless or connect a wireless transmitter/antenna via an ethernet cable into an available NIC port on my pfsense box for wireless capability? i will keep looking on how to get wireless when using a pfsense box but perhaps someone has been down this road before.Using the wireless capability in the bridged ActionTech Q1000 is the most interesting method but perhaps it is not possible to do it this way.

If all else fails I can remove the pfsense box and use the Q1000 in its normal configuration,but I do not want to loose my pfsense box.
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post #2 of 10
Thread Starter 
I went over one of my pfsense books and the process/procedure for going wireless is described (even using the wireless section of the ActionTech).What is quite suprising with the documentation I have is that it is explained that pfsense can be very picky with just what hardware you can use to make it a good access point. This wireless situation seems to be the weakess point I have come across in my pfsense experimentation, not enough to call the software bad at all though, just a weak point that I must work through.

I think I get a wireless card for one of my PC's and work out my setup bugs before I take the new girls laptop away for setup.You know how it is if setup does not come off without a hitch, you drop a level or two in the eyes of someone you are simply trying to welcome into the home. She does have wired ethernet in her room but insists she wants wireless.
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post #3 of 10
Wireless support is very limited due to lack of open source driver support by manufacturers. (Surprise!)

NICs have much better support since they have been avaliable for so much longer, are more standardized, and are derived off older drivers.


Just get a cheap "router" (residential gateway), disable DHCP, set up WAP password, and connect via LAN port to pFSense. It will save you a headache and provide 3 additional LAN ports if you ever need them.
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post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
Duckie,just to clarify,I cannot simply use the wireless features of the ActionTech Q1000 that is bridged and cabled into my pfsense box (this is my connection from the street so to speak). Is it required I get a second router that will plug into an available NIC port on the pfsense box and I would disable DHCP(on the second router) but leave wireless features on.Would I let the pfsense box assign an IP to this second router (in the same subnet as my wired LAN) or would I created a new subnet and assign a IP outside of my wired LAN subnet for my new wireless router? Truthfully both possibilities (regarding new wireless subnet or the wireless router on my wired subnet both seem to make sense) but with a new subnet for the wireless I will have more setup options.I have never done this with pfsense before and it appears easy enough,with just a few questions.Thanks
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post #5 of 10
Well like Duckie said there isn't much support for Wireless Adapters which i've also had problems with myself.
If you can find a Wireless Adapter i would assume it would work.

Now for the Network do you want to share anything on the pfSense Router? If not you can create a new subnet to increase more security since the clients on the pfSense network will not be able to contact the people on your other subnet.

I have the WAN setup for my pfSense Router and the LAN port to the WAN of my Linksys WRT400N

My pfSense subnet is 192.168.1.x
and WRT400N subnet is 192.168.2.x
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post #6 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by PCCstudent View Post

Duckie,just to clarify,I cannot simply use the wireless features of the ActionTech Q1000 that is bridged and cabled into my pfsense box (this is my connection from the street so to speak). Is it required I get a second router that will plug into an available NIC port on the pfsense box and I would disable DHCP(on the second router) but leave wireless features on.Would I let the pfsense box assign an IP to this second router (in the same subnet as my wired LAN) or would I created a new subnet and assign a IP outside of my wired LAN subnet for my new wireless router? Truthfully both possibilities (regarding new wireless subnet or the wireless router on my wired subnet both seem to make sense) but with a new subnet for the wireless I will have more setup options.I have never done this with pfsense before and it appears easy enough,with just a few questions.Thanks

Yup, you need a second "router". Odds are that you do not want a separate subnet for your needs.


Just be aware that you will not be able to access the router's settings while it under the pfSense router. You should be able to since you set a static IP on the 2nd router but virtually no routers will.
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post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
Duckie,I conclude you mean I will only be able to access the second router through the console interface in pfsense,this is OK. Linkin,the wireless people and the wired people do not need to share anything.It appears that you and Duckie are in a small conflict here.I see your way to do it clearly but Duckie wants wired and wireless on the same subnet (if I am reading him right.@Linkin, the way you describe follows cloself to how my pfsense textbook says to do it.

At least everyone is in agreement that a second router is needed (meaning the ActionTechQ1000 is stiil going to be in bridged mode with its wireless functions turned off).

This is not going so bad as it looks like I will get to keep my pfsense box and setup will not be so tough at all.I am giving reps wher I can,Sorry Duckie.

EDIT: Rereading it appears that the reason for keeping the wired and wireless on the same network (but with a different host section of the IP is for management purposes. and I should plug my second router into an open switchport (same NIC as the wired network) off my pfsense box and the other end of the cable goes to a LAN port,not the WAN port on the second router.Let me try and see what I come up with. I do have a ActionTechM1000 and the connection is to the LAN port(this instruction is from my pfsense "how to" book by C. Buechler,book is called pfsense,The Definitive Guide) on whatever wireless router I pick (the M1000 is a dsl modem) and the M1000 has wireless capabilites perhaps I can use this.Does the hardware I have selected for my wireless sound like it has the correct technical abilities?

EDIT: E-gads,it appears my ActionTech M1000 does not have the wireless module.Cheapest I have found is 33.00 from Amazon. I wonder if the ActionTechM1000 is otherwise good enough to invest 33.00 in to get a wireless module for it.Let me check the specs on it and see if it is anything special/I will look at ebay also
Edited by PCCstudent - 4/4/12 at 1:42pm
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post #8 of 10
What would be your budget if you are planning on getting a Router to go along with it?
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post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by linkinparkfan007 View Post

What would be your budget if you are planning on getting a Router to go along with it?

Hopefully under 100.00. The ActionTech with the 33.00 wireless module would be just great if it all works.

EDIT: my wireless router needs at least one LAN port(the ActionTechM1000 has one LAN port).Some of the real cheap wireless access points (meaning under 25.00) at times do not have any ethernet ports,strictly wireless.I need the one LAN (not WAN) port to connect to the pfsense box

I think I will just get a simple wireless access point,cost 40-60,setup is easy and nothing I do not need (like routing,firewall,DHCP abilites)I will make what passes for a DMZ off pfsense and put it there.

EDIT: I think I will be getting this access point.The main reason is that the reviews say it is compatible with pfsense.There is a trendnet that is about 17.00 cheaper but it has been stressed in several publications I have read that pfsense and wireless hardware can at times have compatibility issues. My plan is to put the access point into the pfsense version of a DMZ (it really is just another network).The textbook I listed earlier is pretty good explaining pfsense.I really think some nights in class should be spent working with it.We do all this enterprise class stuff but nothing a user would do at home.Thanks to all that helped with this,after my access point arrives I will post anything I came across,both good and bad.For people that want to ease into networking pfsense is a good tool.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833425013
Edited by PCCstudent - 4/4/12 at 10:46pm
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post #10 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by DuckieHo View Post

Yup, you need a second "router". Odds are that you do not want a separate subnet for your needs.
Just be aware that you will not be able to access the router's settings while it under the pfSense router. You should be able to since you set a static IP on the 2nd router but virtually no routers will.

I may be misunderstanding what you are saying, but I haven't come across a router that doesn't allow you to set a static LAN-facing IP. Wouldn't he simply set the router to a non-DHCP allocated address on the same subnet, plug the LAN side of the pfSense box into the LAN port on the router and call it a day?

At least that's how I have mine set up, and I'm able to access the settings on the wireless router... redface.gif
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