pfSense - Review
July 27, 2016

pfSense - Review

Rikia Kosaka | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with pfSense

I first learned of PFSense when searching for custom routers. Started from DD-WRT among other products such as zeroshell and pfSense. Some requirements were Dual WAN redundancy, failover and load balancing. In my particular experience I have setup/migrated pfSense in a Dual WAN redundant setup. pfSense was perfect as you can scrape up any old computer with 3 NICS (WAN1, OPT1, LAN). The setup is rather easy. If you are familiar with the setup of Linux, it should be a breeze. You setup a bootable USB stick and boot to USB and install pfSense. The initial setup of the NICs is also easy but you do need some networking experience. Once you get the initial setup completed and connected to the Web UI, you can pretty much go through each option and set to your needs.

pfSense supports Multiwan, load balancing both at the WAN level and load distributing level, VPN (IPSEC, OPENVPN), among many other features. I have a client who is using pfSense with Multi-Wan, three separate ipsec tunnels (Datacenter to HQ, HQ to Azure, HQ to another cloud provider). We have basic ACLs rules in place and host a number of servers behind the pfSense. We do not use the load balancing as pfSense is used in Headquarters where we do not host many services that require load balancing behind the router. In anycase for an office it works out well as my client has intermittent ISP issues so the mult-wan comes in really handy.

We've had hardware failures where I simply setup a new pfSense box and copied the configs over and was up and running in no time.

I would highly recommend pfSense for small to medium size businesses, maybe even large but I have yet to test loads at such high scales. I also have not setup pfSense in a production environment with high load so I cannot comment on that part. Overall, I think pfSense is great! I also used pfSense in a VMware environment for test labs and that worked out great fulfilling all my needs as well!

Pros

  • Great Multi-Wan redundancy.
  • Great control of ACLs
  • Perfect for VPN connections

Cons

  • The tools that come with pfsense are great but I've seen better tools from home based routers like the ASUS routers. Wish we had more pretty graphs, traffic use by user or hostname, etc.
  • The UI is good but seems a little outdated. The graphs and reporting looks more like cacti versus the look of something pretty like Kibana.
  • pfSense is free minus the hardware and support if you need it. ROI is pretty much instant.
I've used a number of routers like Cisco, Sonicwall, Juniper, Home based routers, etc. pfSense is like most routers but with the benefit of load balancing and multi-wan. Well many support multi-wan but load balancing is usually a separate device like an BIGiP F5 or Cisco CSS.
I would totally be fine with putting pfSense in an operations/office space. I would be hesitant to put pfSense in a production environment. Likely reasoning being hardware, however I've seen many new pfSense hardware coming out in the recent days though I have yet to use them.

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