Tag Archive: pfSense

FTTC & pfSense

Finally after a lot of waiting and various delays, I now have a working Fiber To The Cabinet connection!


And after:

I’m not sure how accurate the test is, but I’ve managed to download at 9MB/sec which I’m more than happy with! And the additional upload is a godsend with the sort of work I do (having to transfer large SQL databases, photos & videos).

I opted to keep my existing Sky LLU phone line and ADSL2+ connection and purchase an additional BT line for the fiber service (provided by http://claranetsoho.co.uk). This gives me a redundant link and meant that I didn’t suffer any downtime. I paid for a year’s line rental up front (£129) so there will be no monthly bill (the cheapest way of doing things).

I have been using pfSense for some time to provide some advanced features which most standard routers aren’t capable of. Connecting the new Huwai VDSL modem was a piece of cake and switching over the default gateway I was up and running in no time.

I’m struggling a little with routing across subnets- I can’t see why packets aren’t being passed and no log entries are appearing to suggest that they’re being blocked. My pfSense is actually a virtual machine with only 1 physical NIC, so I might have to create a few VLANs to ensure the traffic behaves as desired. Nor now do I seem to be able to get the ADSL2+ backup WAN connection working (so you can expect a post about the resolution/troubleshotting process hopefully sometime soon).


*EDIT* The problem was solved by the pfSense community (forum): a default route needed to be added to the device on the other subnet i was trying to communicate with (packets could find their way to the device but not back again). I will try and do a whole entry about my pfSense setup at some point.


New Virtual Lab – Part 2

…continued from https://tickett.wordpress.com/2011/08/24/new-virtual-lab-part-1/

So- in came the first set of bits for new server #1 and I begun piecing it together…

Issue #1- The motherboard doesn’t sit quite right on the spacers/chassis screws (because of the element of the cpu cooler which sits on the underside of the metherboard)- not really a problem, I just added a few washers (I expect I may’ve been able to find some slightly larger spacers too, if i’d looked hard enough).

Issue #2- My USB pen drive didn’t fit in the internal slot with the chassis together. Not to worry- i simply attached a header to the spare pins and plugged the USB stick into one of those ports still inside the case.

Issue #3- When i powered up the machine it was pretty loud. I checked and believe this to be because the Akasa cooler (AK-CCE-7107BS) only has a 3 pin header so doesn’t support pulse-width-modulation (PWM) and effectively runs at full speed all of the time! Fortunately the other cooler (Gelid Slim Silence IPlus Low Profile Intel CPU Cooler) had the correct 4 pin connector and when hooked up, supported PWM and ran nice and quiet!

Issue #4- I intend to run the server “headless” so one of the great features of the X8-SiL-F motherboard is the on-board IPMI. Unfortunately when i tried to connect with the default username/password “ADMIN” / “ADMIN” access was denied. I downloaded a copy of the latest firmware from the Supermicro site and flashed using:

dpupdate.exe -f SMT_SX_250.bin -r n

The -r n parameter telling it to reset to factory settings. Voila- I could now login via the web-interface or windows IPMI tool using the default login credentials (“ADMIN” / “ADMIN”).

ESXi 4.1 installed like a charm but i’ve had a little trouble trying to deploy my first Virtual Machine (ESXi management network losing connectivity and/or the hypervisor crashing)- I think this might be because i’m using old knackered network cables! I will replace them and hopefully update tomorrow in Part 3.

The 2nd of these servers is on route and hopefully be delivered before the weekend.

My next question is what virtual machines should i configure?

I definitely need a vCenter server
I definitely need at least one SQL server (possibly 2 or 3 as i’d like to experiment with replication)
I definitely need at least one web server (IIS)
I definitely want to get trixbox back up and running
I am considering experimenting with pfSense or possibly untangle?
I also need a local dns server but think that might best sit on physical hardware or i’ll get problems with the hypervisor being unable to query DNS before the VM has started?
My fileserver currently runs WHS2011- So I would also like a WHS2011 VM to test the “Drive Extender” replacements on (however I realize I can’t really test performance here so might have to give that a miss).
Also, i think that OSX Server might run on ESXi- and i’d quite like to have a proper (non-hacked) time machine backup store configured so this might be the right route to go down…


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