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pfSense: Your FreeBSD Router

by onJuly 13, 2013
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pfSense is a free, open source customized distribution of FreeBSD tailored for use as a firewall and router. In addition to being a powerful, flexible firewalling and routing platform, it includes a long list of related features and a package system allowing further expandability without adding bloat and potential security vulnerabilities to the base distribution. pfSense is a popular project with more than 1 million downloads since its inception, and proven in countless installations ranging from small home networks protecting a PC and an Xbox to large corporations, universities and other organizations protecting thousands of network devices.

This project started in 2004 as a fork of the m0n0wall project, but focused towards full PC installations rather than the embedded hardware focus of m0n0wall. pfSense also offers an embedded image for Compact Flash based installations, however it is not our primary focus.

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 It is supported by the open source community under the General Public License (GPL) which makes it Free to all to use. As with many LINUX distribution, pfSense does not take much to run. The minimum hardware requirements to use pfSense is a computer with the following:

  • CPU – 100 MHz Pentium
  • RAM – 128 MB
  • CD-ROM for initial installation
  • 1 GB hard drive
  • Two Network Interface Cards

 

Basic Install and Setup
Get pfSense
Download the latest version

Install

Boot your chosen PC with the pfSense CD. You will be present with the following “Welcome to pfSense!” screen. For our basic install of pfSense, you can press [Enter] for the default option.

pfSense: Your FreeBSD Router tutorial network 2 hardware admin

pfSense: Your FreeBSD Router tutorial network 2 hardware admin

If you can see the “Configure Console” screen, chances are there aren’t any changes you need to make to the console. Press the Down arrow on your keyboard to highlight the “<Accept these Setting>” option and press [Enter]

pfSense: Your FreeBSD Router tutorial network 2 hardware admin

On the “Select Task” window, select the “<Quick/Easy Install>” and press [Enter].

pfSense: Your FreeBSD Router tutorial network 2 hardware admin

At the “Are you SURE?” screen, confirm your decision to install pfSense by highlighting the “< OK >”  option and pressing [Enter]. Any data currently on the first hard drive of the system will be destroyed in order to install pfSense

pfSense: Your FreeBSD Router tutorial network 2 hardware admin

It can take up to 10 minutes for pfSense to finish this stage of the install depending on your hardware. pfSense is formatting your drive and copying the software to your system.

pfSense: Your FreeBSD Router tutorial network 2 hardware admin

At the “Install Kernel(s)” screen, ensure “< Symmetric multiprocessing kernel (more than one processor) >” is highlighted and press [Enter].

pfSense: Your FreeBSD Router tutorial network 2 hardware admin

At the “Reboot” screen, remove the pfSense CD and ensure that “< Reboot >” is highlighted and press [Enter].

pfSense: Your FreeBSD Router tutorial network 2 hardware admin

After the system reboots, you will be presented with the initial “Welcome to pfSense!” menu. Press [Enter] to select the default

pfSense: Your FreeBSD Router tutorial network 2 hardware admin

During the boot phase of pfSense, the detected network interface cards will be display which can be used by pfSense.

pfSense: Your FreeBSD Router tutorial network 2 hardware admin

Since this is a basic setup of pfSense, we will not be configuring a “VLAN” so type “n” and press [Enter]

pfSense: Your FreeBSD Router tutorial network 2 hardware admin

From the list of valid interfaces found by pfSense, type the name of the network interface card that will be connected directly to the Internet (cable modem, dsl, etc)

pfSense: Your FreeBSD Router tutorial network 2 hardware admin

From the list of valid interfaces found by pfSense, type the name of the network interface card that will be connected to your internal network. This will serve as your “LAN” interface. Repeat this step for each additional network interface card listed as a valid interface by pfSense and will be use by the firewall i.e. wireless, DMZ, etc. Once you are finished, press the [Enter] to select nothing and move to the next step of the setup.

pfSense: Your FreeBSD Router tutorial network 2 hardware admin

Confirm that you have selected the correct network interface cards for each interface on your firewall and type “y” and press [Enter].

pfSense: Your FreeBSD Router tutorial network 2 hardware admin

Once you are complete this initial setup, you will be presented with the pfSense console menu. Your firewall is now up and running. We have finished all configuration steps required to be done from the pfSense console. You can actually disconnect the monitor and keyboard from the system (as an added security precaution) for all other configuration will be done via the web console.

pfSense: Your FreeBSD Router tutorial network 2 hardware admin

Open up the web browser and enter the default PFSense IP Address, 192.168.1.1, Username: admin and Password: pfsense to get to the page as below

pfSense: Your FreeBSD Router tutorial network 2 hardware admin

After successfully login to your pfSense firewall, you will be presented with the pfSense Status Dashboard which provides you with a summary of your system information along with the status of your interfaces installed. The dashboard is configurable and can include additional information about other components of your pfSense firewall.

pfSense: Your FreeBSD Router tutorial network 2 hardware admin

From the System menu select Setup Wizard to start the pfSense setup wizard.

pfSense: Your FreeBSD Router tutorial network 2 hardware admin

You should then be greeted with the pfSense setup wizard, click the Next button to continue.

pfSense: Your FreeBSD Router tutorial network 2 hardware admin

Complete the “General Information” section

pfSense: Your FreeBSD Router tutorial network 2 hardware admin

Change to your local time zone.

pfSense: Your FreeBSD Router tutorial network 2 hardware admin

WAN Interface configuration.
You need to authenticate to your ISP provider in order to access the Internet,

pfSense: Your FreeBSD Router tutorial network 2 hardware admin

“Configure LAN Interface” screen

pfSense: Your FreeBSD Router tutorial network 2 hardware admin

Reload of pfSense web browser – After configuring a new password, pfSense will require you login again with the new password. Click the Reload button to refresh the screen and login with your new password.

pfSense: Your FreeBSD Router tutorial network 2 hardware admin

Now that we have successfully configured the basic setting in pfSense

pfSense: Your FreeBSD Router tutorial network 2 hardware admin Make Sure to check out awesome powerful package manager

pfSense: Your FreeBSD Router tutorial network 2 hardware admin

and also Network monitoring

pfSense: Your FreeBSD Router tutorial network 2 hardware admin

Next time we might do Snort IDS Setup

pfSense: Your FreeBSD Router tutorial network 2 hardware admin

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