What is pfSense hardware?
pfSense is an open/accessible source firewall/router computer software distribution based on FreeBSD.
Typically, it’s installed on a computer or a virtual machine to make a dedicated firewall or router for a network. It can be easily configured & upgraded through a web-based interface & requires no knowledge of the underlying FreeBSD system to manage.
The pfSense project was started in the year 2004 as a fork of the m0n0wall project by ”Chris Buechler” & ”Scott Ullrich” & the very first release was in the year 2006.
In the year 2017, a ”World Intellectual Property Organization” panel found that Net-gate had been using the domain ”opnsense.com” in bad faith to defame OPNsense, a competing open source firewall & compelled Net-gate to shift the domain to Deciso, the developer of OPNsense.
There are many boxes out there that claim to be pfSense compatible. But, technically any x86 device/PC is a compatible pfSense firewall. They may not, however, be the great pfSense box if they lack support for ‘AES-NI’. Simply put ‘AES-NI’ is encryption service which is included in the die of many new processors. This functionality greatly speeds up cryptography processes for SSL & VPN services. Starting with version2.4 pfSense will only run on hardware supporting ‘AES-NI’. pfSense 2.3.x is still accessible but is end-of-life & not recommended.
Popular uses for pfSense
There are several uses of pfSense, Like,
– LAN / WAN Router
– For Internet Cafes
– Wireless Hotspot
– VPN Router
– DHCP/DNS Server
– Wireless Access Point
– Transparent Squid Proxy Server
– Multi-Wan Router/Load Balancer
– DNS Blacklist &
– Port Forwarding/NAT
Importance of pfSense instead of another router?
PfSense is very fast, free & stable offering tons of great features. If you are working with an existing router that doesn’t offer the features, or performance you want. The pfSense is a great choice to replace it with. This offering complete control of the hardware you can customize your pfSense system with the components you need.
And, if you ever shopped for routers or firewalls before, you must know that depending on the features you are looking for they can be quite very expensive, but by using pfSense you can save a lot of money without compromising on necessary features.
The PfSense can be easily installed on many different embedded platforms, like, PC-Engines, Soekris, Alix & others. Embedded installs are a great option if you are looking to make a small & quiet with low power appliance to run your network. Remember, if you’re a consultant it’s going to look much more professional to set up an embedded pfSense device for a customer instead of an old PC. If you plan to do your install on an embedded device make sure to download the embedded version of pfSense. The embedded discharge is designed to be installed on hardware that uses compact flash for storage. Also, the embedded platform has special tweaks that will greatly extend the life of the storage media.