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Gona try PF Sense, got Questions for those familiar with it...

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Got tired of the limitations of the usual home routers and Im about to try PF Sense, and I got a few questions in my head that I would like help on..

I know i can probably find answers by research, but what answers i can dig up in few hours could probably get answered by you guys in just a few minutes.. so pls be kind and dont tell me to go RTFM lolz

Questions
1) I've had PC based router before like Wingate, and while it has tons of nice features and logging, i always find it to perform slow for multiple connections (around 20 PCs) even on a quadcore unit.. so i always ended up goin back to router.. the problems i kind of noticed is that pinging the PC based router from one of the clients takes around 20ms to 50ms where as pinging to a real router is 1ms.. and when rules and policies are set on Wingate (not much though) there are tendencies of ping TIME OUTS to the router .. it's like it cant handle multiple connections very well..


Now that's WINDOWS BASED, and tat's probably where the problem is.. now w/ PFSense FreeBSD installed on a regular Sempron LE140 2GB machine, will it run better or atleast equal to regular home routers? considering typical home routers can handle up to 50 clients w/o a hitch (i've seen it in internet cafes and stuf)


2) How does it perform w/ DUAL WAN Setups? How's the load balancing and all? No need to go detailed but i would just like to get an impression of PF Sense

3) DLINK Gaming routers has this GAMEFUEL technology where it can detect ONLINE GAMING packets and prioritize them automatically, minimizing LAG during online games even when other clients are watching youtube or downloading torents.. can PFsense do this?

4) I noticed that there's an option to run PFSense on CF Card.. but there's no mention of SD/MicroSD or even Flash Drives.. so is it only limitted to CF cards in this sense?

5) Should I use a regular PC setup w/ harddrive for PFSense build, is there a way or option in PFSense so that i can use the "rest" of the HDD space as network drive space or soemthing? I'd hate to waste 250GB (smallest available HDD now) on it..

6) Where is a good FORUM for PFsense users, outside of PFsense paid forums? Are there lots of PFsense users around here @ OC.net?

7) DUAL WAN - I've had lots of experience w/ DUAL WAN routers, and while on most routers LOAD BALANCING is absolute crap, i end up using them for FAIL OVERS only.. How is PFsense's load balancing? is it really smart/accurate?


I got so much more to ask but i'll leave it at this for now haha

REgards to all!
post #2 of 6
To question 2 and 7. I get the impression that it's really good. A friend of mine is using pfsense at home with several servers and workstations/desktops and a few laptops, and he says it's working great. The load balancing seems to work just fine (atleast that's what i've heard), and he's not the type that settles for using it just as a "fail over".

To question 5: Yes, it should be enough with a regular PC setup. Create Partitions as you would with any other OS and use it as storage.

PS: Sorry for my bad english and bad choice of words. Just kinda tired right now

EDIT: As for forum, you do have the official pfsense forum here
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post #3 of 6
1. It should run just fine. I run it on an embedded device with a 500mhz processor.

2. I've never used dual WAN, so I can't comment about that.

3. Yes, you can setup QoS (quality of service) but honestly its not worth it. I've been able to play a game and download a file at the same time without problem without setting up QoS.

4. You can run it from whatever you like including USB flash drives. CF cards are just common because there are many compact flash to IDE converters out there.

6. The official pfsense forums http://forum.pfsense.org/ are free.
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post #4 of 6
1) SOHO routers are just embedded computers with most running 200-500MHz CPUs, 4-32MB RAM, and 2-16MB Flash. A custom router with a 1GHz+ CPU, 1GB+ RAM, and 1GB+ storage can easily outperform a SOHO router under heavy loads.

3) That is just QoS settings. pFSense have a very robust QoS set of options which you will have to manually configure.

4) CF are bootable since they use the IDE/ATA protocol. You can use SD/thumb drives but you need to ensure the mobo supports USB bootable. Also, the reason for the CF build is also due to logging. The standard build will continually update the logs which is not a problem on HDDs. However, Flash media would wear out in less than year so this build minimizes writes by using a RAMDisk and/or by reducing logging (not sure how they implemented).

5) I am not sure about using the space for a file server. However, you can use the extra HDD space for caching sites with SQUID.

6) What consumer routers support load balancing or failover?
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post #5 of 6
1) A 800mhz atom with 256mb of ram would blow most consumer routers out of the water.

W/ a 1.9ghz Sempron, your probably matching enterprise embedded hardware, and depending what type of firewall distro you install, you could have enterprise level security.

4) if your going to install any linux or freebsd based firewall on CF, you will have to play around with the settings in the shell command and have all logging done in the ram and not on storage.

You could have pfsense/m0n0wall running off live CD, have a small usb flash drive (32mb or w/e) just for storage (logging is disabled when running live CD). This way you won't even have to use your 250GB HD.

5) If you don't want to "waste" space on your HD, you could check out some other firewall distro's like untangle or ClearOS. Their packed with security features, ClearOS can even be a file server, print server etc.

7) I don't have much experience with dual wan, but are you talking about consumer routers on with dd-wrt? The hardware your going to use is way more robust than the embedded stuff from linksys or netgear etc. Everything that is cpu and ram heavy, the computer should do a lot better.
Edited by darksideleader - 1/25/11 at 1:01pm
post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thank you all for your feedbacks.. i appreciate them..

as for the DUAL questions, i've been using fairly cheap dual wan routers from TPLINK and EDIMAX, works pretty well, but lags w/ multiple clients


Anyway to update, I have installed PFSENSE and have been running it for couple of days now, and it's nice, solid and stable... i've yet to test it in heavy use environment but from the looks of it it's solid.. the only down sides for me are;

1) I expected more from the captive portal and built in user manager.. atleast to allocate bandwith / user ..

2) I was hoping there was a way to use the HDD Space for file storage.. while there is a plugin for uploading files into the server (my own folder to), this was more of a 1 way file sharing where i can put files there and people can download via http.. but this isnt pratical for real file serving / sharing purposes .. if only there's a "share folder on network" option... i'd tick that! lol

3) Lack of other features w/c would be nice, but then again i think PFSense focuses on FIREWALL tech..


So far it's a good firewall/router.. w/ good featuers and captive portal.. it's pretty much a webserver on its own to, i can serve/execute php scripts from a folder in the www directory.. but for me, dedicating a PC to replace my standard router, just for, BETTER ROUTING, isnt quite as fullfilling as I wanted it to be.. maybe i feel this way because i dont have much use for the way-advanced filtering firewalling stuffs.. i like to keep things as is and simple..but what i do want are features..

and that's what led me to hours and hours of reading around for other distros.. specially clearOS as darksideleader suggested..


i ended up getting confused now.. w/ either ClearOS or Zentyal (formerly eBox)
both are awesome for having much more features that i can appreciate and maximize my dedicated PC for it, such as file printer sharing, mysql webserver, etc.. they're wonderful..I, a 2 day user of PFsense is about ready to jump to one of these 2 haha.

The biggest thing that's got me torn apart between them though are:
1) ClearOS Sucks for not having even a basic captive portal out of the box, but it's light, fast and beautiful

2) Zentyal is awesome for having almost EVERYTHING on it, apache, radius (great for Captive Portal), etc etc, plus runs on ubuntu w/c i think i can simply share a folder from and easily access that folder from a Windows machine on a network like a regular shared folder.. the downside however is well, it's pretty darn heavy according to some reads, and one would need a better more expensive hardware... i dont know if my Single core atom build can cut it..

so far these are the 2 worth checking out for me, so im downloading them both .. will post my experiences here to add to the knowledge of the site..

on a side note i did post another thread just to ask for suggestions..

http://www.overclock.net/networking-...l#post12174420

thansk guys
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