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Hey, I am looking at using one of the firewall/router distributions for home use, but i need some help deciding which one or even alternatives? My thoughts are pfSense because ...
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  1. #1
    Linux Newbie SL6-A1000's Avatar
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    Zeroshell or pfSense Firewall/Router


    Hey,
    I am looking at using one of the firewall/router distributions for home use, but i need some help deciding which one or even alternatives?

    My thoughts are pfSense because it is x86_64 compatible and has a larger functionality than Zeroshell combined with a longer active base. As well as being BSD which is known for security.

    Two factors i want to account for are the computer that it will be installed on is currently a functional desktop computer which i wouldn't be able to lose for pure firewall functionality. I.e I still need to be able to use the PC as a desktop.

    I am not sure how this would work to be honest. pfSense for example can be installed on the harddisk which in that situation would require it to be running in order for it too function??
    The alternative is a VM or live CD but again i don't exactly have CD drives to throw around to a dedicated liveCD. A VM could work but will this protect the host operating system or just the guest?

    The distro is compatible with existing modems and routers. Obviously this one is more configuration settings.

    Lastly i don't want it to be resource intensive. A router/ firewall chewing up 50% of your RAM isn't exactly what i call a firewall/ router more like bloatware. lol :P

    The main purpose of this isn't so much for networking but more for added security.

    The ideal situation would be a dedicated low-end machine. While this could be done, spending $500 on a low-end machine isn't worth it, when there are several other networking components (and non-computer related stuff) that could be improved etc...

    Regards,
    SL6-A1000
    Last edited by SL6-A1000; 05-06-2012 at 02:47 PM.

  2. #2
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    I always use pfSense if I need to have a PC firewall. You will really need a dedicated PC for this task although you could run it as a VM in VirtualBox but I would strongly advise against it. The minimum hardware specs for pfSense are here,

    pfSense Open Source Firewall Distribution - Minimum Hardware Requirements

    I would suggest an old P4 with about 512MB RAM as a good starting point - you should be able to pick a secondhand machine up like this fairly easy for peanuts these days.

    Another option would be to look at M0n0wall. This was the original base for pfSense and is aimed at small embedded type devices but will run on a PC happily. It's hardware requirements are less than pfSense - just 64MB RAM!

  3. #3
    Linux Newbie SL6-A1000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nixblog View Post
    I always use pfSense if I need to have a PC firewall. You will really need a dedicated PC for this task although you could run it as a VM in VirtualBox but I would strongly advise against it. The minimum hardware specs for pfSense are here,

    pfSense Open Source Firewall Distribution - Minimum Hardware Requirements

    I would suggest an old P4 with about 512MB RAM as a good starting point - you should be able to pick a secondhand machine up like this fairly easy for peanuts these days.

    Another option would be to look at M0n0wall. This was the original base for pfSense and is aimed at small embedded type devices but will run on a PC happily. It's hardware requirements are less than pfSense - just 64MB RAM!
    Thanks for the info, both look good.

    A CF card is very viable option. But i am a little confused how it works when its an operating system or even an embedded system. I know it probably doesn't really matter, but for example i install it on a CF card how can per-say M0n0wall or pfSense do their magic even though they haven't been physically booted by the BIOS/UEFI at the start or through a VM? Unless it is a Cloud OS i suppose??

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    A CF card is simply a storage device which can act like a hard drive which can be booted from. You can also use a USB flash drive too as I seem to recall. Embedded devices usually have a slot for CF cards, with a PC you can buy CF to IDE adaptor then you can directly attach it to the motherboards IDE interface and the PC will detect it as a bootable hard drive.

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