Building your own Super Router with pfSense and Untangle

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34 Responses

  1. James Walker says:

    I have also setup my own software router. I tried Untangle and like it but it ran very slow on the hardware platform I used but like you I want virus and span filtering at the router/firewall level. After trying smoothwall and Astaro. I decided to stick with Astaro. It give me the daily. weekly and month usage reports, virus and span filtering, and web content filtering . It runs very well on the hardware platform that untangle ran slow on— and it is free for home use.

  2. MattD390 says:

    They can be called the wrecking crew :).

  3. bengwade says:

    Nice write-up. I'm jumping on this in the next couple months. What are you using for your modem? A single user modem from your cable provider or one of those 4-user-router/wifi deals?

  4. geek_accountant says:

    I am using a Motorola SB6120 that I purchased from Amazon, I think.

  5. James Walker says:

    When you get the Astaro setup and I am assuing ruuning as a UTM and not the primary router. I would be interested in how you set it up. What rules you put in place and how you defined and retined your network traffic profiles.

    • geek_accountant says:

      Yes, that is one way I will test it, as a replacement for Untangle. Since I have all this on a Xenserver, I will most likely run it as a standalone solution for a while and then as a UTM behind pfSense. However, it may be a while since there are a few other projects I want to complete first, like the next article.

      • James Walker says:

        10-4 – : )

        • James Walker says:

          I was looking at and one of the authors is using pFsense as a UTM and failover setup. He has some interesting comments about some of the strenghts and weakness in his view of PfSense.

          • I'm running something very close to this at my home with the exception that it is all running under VMware. My setup takes the Cable Modem(CM) to ASTARO (UTM) to pfSense2.0(ROUTER) to Cisco 2970 gigabit switch via a trunk port. Having used both Untangle and Astaro in this setup – once you get use to Astaro you won't want to go back – just give a fair shake :)

  6. axiom00 says:

    @geek_accountant: when do you think you'll have part 2 ready? really interested in your setup. Thanks!

  7. Muligan says:

    Great combination of products. I've been using both as a 'Super Router' solution for years now, and I've yet to find a better solution!!!

  8. Mike says:

    Pfsense offers antivirus, IDS, and spam filter

  9. fred jones says:

    Clearos 5.1 does everything untangle does for free and more, after lots of testing with astaro untangle and clearos Clearos is the best, astaro is really nice , but slow and full of bugs, untangle are a basically trying to milk every dollar they can and their qos is shit.

  10. igmac says:

    And Clearos milks it just the same.. I fail to see the difference?

  11. Ryan says:

    Hey did you ever write the follow-up to this thread?
    Combining this with Untangle?

  12. nicotine says:

    Yes I am keen to see your follow up on to adding Untangle to the VM as I am in the process of trying this out. I know how to setup untangle on it own as I have used it before but not quite sure how to link it with the Pfsense in a VM environment.

  13. Brian says:

    I've been running a version of this setup at home for almost a year… Bought a used Dell 1u rackmount server on ebay, installed ESXi 3.5, added Smoothwall. I WILL NEVER go back!

  14. Durian says:

    Great article. Just curious is it possible to integrate pfsense vm + untangle vm (bridge mode) into 1 physical hardware, using just 2 NIC (1 for WAN + 1 for LAN) ?

  15. @jpeg2raw says:

    I actually had it setup the way for a long time Durian. The VM software was Xenserver and it ran great. Until my internet speeds were increased to 60 down. At that point, I started having issues and it turned out to the the virtual NIC's in Xenserver. This may not be an issue with something like ESXi, but instead of going that route, I now have pfSense and Untangle on separate machines. However, I LOVED having them as a VM. Turning them on and off with ease. Loading another version. VM's were so nice! At some point, I may go the VM route again and try ESXi in a beefed up machine.

  16. Moxyspirit says:

    I have the same pile of junk (routers). I fought with my cable connection for some 5 plus years. Plugging directly into the cable modem or rebooting the router "always" fixed the degraded speed. I have 30 years in the computer industry and have never heard anything about BSD (openbsd, FreeBSD, freenas, pfsense, dragonfly, pcbsd, etc.). I started down the Linux path, but to much to choose from and never quite sure of support.

    So here I am loving my pfsense. I want the world to know, screaming from the mountain tops. I BUILT MY OWN "SUPER ROUTER".

    In a previous life, I was a safe cracker. My fastest time in was 2.5 minutes…..and I can install pfsense that quickly.

    Best regards,

    moxie – the abliity to face difficulty with spirit.

  17. geekylinux says:

    Something that I don't understand here. If I already have adsl2+ modem, how do i cofigure pfsense since in the WAN setting pfsense need the ISP configuration info.

  18. JHPArizona says:

    @geekylinux – You would use DHCP with the WAN connected to DSL Modem LAN connection. You would need to put a switch (or hub) on the LAN side of the pFsense box. You might want to turn off all filtering on the DSL modem or have pre-filtering down on the modem and final filtering done on the pFsense box. You will also need to have the DHCP server setup on pFsense or some other IP Addressings solution for clients. Normally DSL modems provide Internet / router functions including DHCP server.

  19. marcnz says:

    This is very interesting.
    I just got 8 static IPs from my ISP to run my web/mail/ftp/mysql servers from my SOHO. I am confused how to get these public IPs from the ISP modem/wireless/router to a pfsense VM and then from the pfsense VM to the LAN where all my other machines can connect: servers with their now static IPs and other computers in the LAN, wired and/or wireless? I have a second modem/wireless/router as well to use if needed.
    Am I better off using an older Dell Dimension with 2 nics as the firewall, giving it one of the public static IPs received? Once I use the Public Static IPs from the block received, I lose the original static IP that came with the first setup. Out of the 8 IPs, I can only use 5 of them. The first is for the Network ID, the second for the Modem Subnet and the last one for the Broadcast. I understood the second is used for the router's LAN. But how can I have a DHCP served from one Public IP address?
    Networking is definitely not my forte! LOL
    Any suggestion?

    • Brutaltruth says:

      You need to put the DSL (or cable) modem in transparent bridge mode. This passes the external IP addresses through to the PfSense router. If they are static, set the WAN port of the PfSense to static, otherwise set DHCP and use Dynamic DNS. Works a treat.

  20. David says:

    I installed plenty of pfsense in physical boxes and in virtual environments but I never tried to combine it with Untangle, I actually don't know Untagle at all. I would really love to read about how you did the implementation. Is there any second part of this article anywhere?

  21. Christy says:

    PFsense is seem to me a great solution for your home internet performance issues. Youtube, Netflix and Hulu these type sources always hunts quite a lot internet speeds and spaces as well. I think currently the way you have chosen for vast internet service is effective. Thanks.

  22. complex says:

    how to configure separate browsing to online games in pfsense?

  23. Andy says:

    I wish to set up a router as per the advise here but I don't want to pay the fees for AV on untangle, is it still worth using untangle without the AV addon? Could i use sophus instead of untangle and if so do I bother with pfsense?

  24. Michael says:

    I have a Verizon FIOS 50/25MBs connection with a FIOS Gigabit router. I would like to continue to use the FIOS router so I don't void my support with them plus I have a MOCA connection for my FIOS TV set top boxes. I would like to setup a Web filter on a new Dell Core I7 laptop that I have because by son know how to bypass the OPEN DNS filter I currently have set on my router. Is this possible? Can I place the web filter behind my router? If so how is this physcally connected? Do I run untangle only? Thank you!

  25. xklonez says:

    Thanks for this post. I just want to know two things.
    [1] Do I need to add the other NIC at the esxi network configuration option as a fail-over for management port?
    [2] How do I assign an IP address to untangle in bridge mode?
    thank you!