pfSense Review

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


Valuable Features

  • Open source
  • Proximity security
  • Content filtering

Improvements to 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.

Room for Improvement

  • Testing prior to deployment
  • Packages need better support

Use of Solution

I've used it for eight years.

Deployment Issues

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

Stability Issues

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

Scalability Issues

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

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.

Previous Solutions

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.

Initial Setup

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

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.

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.

Pricing, Setup Cost and Licensing

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

Other Solutions Considered

We also looked at -

  • Smoothwall
  • Moonwall
  • SonicWall
  • Netgear
  • IPCop

Other Advice

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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