Wednesday 8 March 2023

Step by step deployment of pfsense router part 1

In my homelab series I used CSR1000v router for providing layer 3 services, however that had a small issue speed.

So in order to address that challenge I started using pfSense community edition router which is free for home use.

Not only that it has firewall functionality with which you can actually restrict traffic between networks same as we do on our real datacenter.

In this post I am going to cover step by step deployment of pfsense router.

    Downloading ISO file

    Visit pfsense website to download the community edition of the virtual router.

    Now select Architecture as AMD64 (64bit) of the latest stable version and then hit download.

    Deploy pfSense router VM

    Login to ESXi host and navigate to virtual machine view.

    Click on create new VM button.

    Select Option create new virtual machine.

    Provide a name, choose guest OS family as "Other" and guest OS version "FreeBSD 12 (64-bit)

    Select a datastore to host the VM.

    Do not change any setting except network adaptor port group. Choose your home network port group.

    Finish the wizard.

    Power on the VM.

    Mount pfSense ISO

    Once VM is powered on open VMRC console. Make sure VMRC is already installed on the machine you are accessing your ESXi.

    Click on VMRC drop down menu and select option removable devices, and then select CD/DVD drive.

    Disconnect already connected media.

    Again follow the same steps but this time you will have option to choose connect ISO option.

    Answer yes to the prompt presented, it will open a window to select downloaded media.

    Navigate to the path where you have downloaded ISO media present.

    Send ctrl+alt+del command to the VM.

    Installation Wizard.

    Accept the Copyrights and distributed notice.

    Choose Install pfSense option.

    Continue with default keymap.

    Partition disk with Auto(ZFS).

    If you wish to configure these options, you can but I will recommend going with the default and proceed with installation.

    As we are installing it on a VM continue with Stripe-No Redundancy.

    Select VMware Virtual Disk.

    Select yes to install.

     It will start fetching distribution files.

    Then it will complete checksum Verification.

    Once verified, it will start extraction and installation.

    Once finished it will prompt to ask if you wish to make any manual configuration changes. Select no and reboot. And do not forget to unmount ISO.

    After reboot is complete, it will ask if you wish to setup vlans, press n.

    Now provide the name of the WAN interface.

    As we have not added LAN interface, just press enter on this screen.

    Accept the interface assignment.

    Now all services will be staretd, and as I had DHCP running on my network one IP was assigned to the WAN interface, if you do not have DHCP then use option 2 to assign IP address to the router.

    In my next post we will assign lan interfaces on this router, which are different VLANS in our nested LAB environment.

    I hope I was able to add value, if your answer is yes, then don't forget to share and follow. 😊

    If you want me to write on specific content or you have any feedback on this post, kindly comment below.

    If you want, you can connect with me on Linkedin, and please like and subscribe my YouTube channel VMwareNSXCloud for step by step technical videos.

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