pfSense Review

It has provided us with a low cost security solution but their testing prior to deployment needs to be improved.


What is most valuable?

  • Open source
  • Proximity security
  • Content filtering

How has it helped my organization?

It has provided us with a low cost security solution using a quality router at a fraction of the cost of our previous solution.

What needs improvement?

  • Testing prior to deployment
  • Packages need better support

For how long have I used the solution?

I've used it for eight years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

Rarely as long as the right precautions are taken during migration.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Sometimes there are issues with package deployment and one must refer to the forums for support.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Being open source, scalability is not limited. The limits in place, are only set by available resources and time.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

Customer service is available at a rate of $399 for 2 incidents, $899 for 5 incidents and $1,699 for 10 incidents. Most people refer to the forum and/or chat room.

Technical Support:

Over 10/10.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Yes, I have used many other routers but nothing offers the options pfSense does without spending a fortune. pfSense is constantly being improved on.

I switched due to router limitations and vulnerabilities.

How was the initial setup?

It's straight forward for anyone that's installed an OS before, however, I wouldn't recommend it for the novice.

What about the implementation team?

It has been implemented in house and at client locations. If implemented at client locations it does require some care if Snort (The proximity security system) is used as it needs to be fine tuned and touched up from time to time due to newly found vulnerabilities that cause legitimate sites to be blocked.

What was our ROI?

You can invest as little or as much as you want. Granted, some features require more hardware than others but some end users use old machines that no longer have a purpose.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

It's between US$50 to US$1500 depending on the hardware that is used.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We also looked at -

  • Smoothwall
  • Moonwall
  • SonicWall
  • Netgear
  • IPCop

What other advice do I have?

Become familiar with the router before implementing it at customer sites. Realize that basic features require a basic amount of hardware. Advanced features require more RAM and if using an SSD, use the embedded installer to reduce wear and tear on your drive.

I would recommend having the following hardware as a minimum:

  • At least 8GB for storage
  • 256MB+ RAM
  • A dual core 1.8Ghz CPU for single typical Internet connection
  • The faster the internet connection, a faster CPU and more RAM are required
  • If you run Snort and Squid it is recommended you have between 4GB to 8GB of RAM


Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.

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