pfSense Review
It has the ability to do what other firewalls seem to fail at however, some of the available plug-ins that work very well on older pfSense versions, actually break the newer ones.


Valuable Features

  • Reliable
  • Easily configurable
  • Awesome plug-ins
  • Very low maintenance

Improvements to My Organization

This product has allowed my current employer the ability to do what other firewalls seem to fail at, providing a reliable and secure point for allowing SIP traffic to pass. Training other admins how to use the features, and also creating custom user levels for various parts of access within the system has never been easier.

Room for Improvement

Some of the available plug-ins that work very well on older versions, and actually break the newer versions. If using a newer version of the software, then the list of available plug-ins should only list those capable/known to work with the version that you are running. Outside of that- it is a rock-solid firewall, now with support.

Use of Solution

I have used this product for a very long time, over 10 years.

Deployment Issues

I have had very very few minor glitches in upgrading the product over the years. Most recently, I had the WAN side DNS change to default values. This is not a huge deal, but it took a little while to figure out why the external services were suddenly failing.

Stability Issues

Stability is not a concern. I've enabled the HA features, and spread them across multiple ESXi hosts. The only thing that could take down my network, would be a lack of power to the hosts, or all of my ISP tanks at the same time.

Scalability Issues

I've had no issues. I am using this on multiple sites, with reliable VPN tunnels and the traffic seems to remain a constant.

Customer Service and Technical Support

Customer Service:

I have generally only used the forums. In fact, I don't recall *ever* using customer service, but that's only because this product rocks.

Technical Support:

I have generally only used the forums. In fact, I don't recall *ever* using Technical Support, but that's only because this product rocks.

Previous Solutions

I have merged pfSense with other products, but I have never chosen another product over pfSense unless I was unable to convince my client that free doesn't mean shoddy.

Initial Setup

The initial setup has gotten to be much more streamlined. I think that for the average home user experimenting with networks, this *might* be a *little* hard to figure out at first, but the overall setup is generally a breeze. There shouldn't be any reason that someone can't figure it out in more than 15 minutes a BASE installation and network configuration.

Implementation Team

I implemented it myself.

ROI

It's very high. I have replaced high-end Cisco, Juniper and Sonicwall systems with pfSense on very low-scale machines, and VMs. I have also created networks that are far more complex than any of those are capable of handling without some sort of annual license costing thousands of dollars.

Pricing, Setup Cost and Licensing

My original setup cost was US$40 for a used x86 Pentium 2 machine, purchased through Boeing Surplus, and additional US$20 ($10 x 2) for two additional NICs to run LAN and OPT1 networks. So, $60 total for self-installation of pfSense v1.1.

Other Solutions Considered

I looked at low-end Cisco/Linksys devices for physical hardware, and I played around with a variety of free *nix based installations including customized IPTables, IPCop, SmoothWall, and Enodian.

Other Advice

If you want reliable, highly-customizable, and rock solid firewall, do not hesitate for one second to install/purchase this product.

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

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