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pfsense firewall

Posted on 2015-01-03
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Last Modified: 2016-11-23
I setup a pfsense firewall for my home network and it works great, however, when it gets under a heavy network load it starts lagging. So when we start gaming, stuff like Planetside2, counterstike, and our xbox360 all at once, it's bad enough that we take the gaming pc's and xbox off the firewall then the lag goes away.
I looked at traffic shaping, but frankly, I'm kind of lost on how to use it. There is one thing that I realized that I could try. I use a 5 port switch to connect everything to my firewall, so I'm going to try hooking the cable modem and all the pc's to the switch. So if it starts lagging, obviously my switch is the problem.
However, I would bet that it isn't my switch. So if that plan falls through, is there a way to optimize my firewall? Or maybe is there a good explanation on how to use traffic shaping?
I have looked at the logs on the firewall, but I didn't see something that would indicate what the problem is. But, maybe I don't know what to look for. Is there something in the logs that typically indicates network lag?
by the way, my pfsense firewall is running on an old Dell. It's got a pentium 4 2.8ghz, with 2gb of ram. The network card is a dlink dfe-530+, the other connection is the on board nic.
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Question by:JeffBeall
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13 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:cmb991
ID: 40529331
What is the nic card in there?  100mbps?  1gb?  What is your internet speeds?
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Author Comment

by:JeffBeall
ID: 40529402
the nic's are 100mbps, and my internet speed is about 12mbps upload, and about 50mbps download.
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Expert Comment

by:cmb991
ID: 40529446
Before we jump into the pfsense config, have you tried bypassing pfsense and see if you get the same results?
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Author Comment

by:JeffBeall
ID: 40529462
that's what I meant by

" it's bad enough that we take the gaming pc's and xbox off the firewall then the lag goes away."

so I plug the pc's and xbox directly into the cable modem
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Author Comment

by:JeffBeall
ID: 40529856
well, I feel I can safely say that the firewall was my bottleneck. I had my firewall off my network all day, and have my cable modem plugged into my switch, and then all my pc's going through the switch, and haven't had any lag.
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Expert Comment

by:cmb991
ID: 40530135
what is the specs of your network cards in the box?   I've only honestly seen this if the hardware isn't comptabile or someone purposely turned on limiting the dl and up on the lan.  What would really help is if you could post your boxes specs and a copy of your config minus the WAN ip and passwords (if any are in there).  The specs can be pulled by going to packages and looking for one in there that tells you your specs.  I know there is one, I cant remember the name.  The config you can grab by going to Diag > Backup/Restore and downloading it.
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by:JeffBeall
ID: 40530363
sorry, I jumped to my next thing to try.
I have a spare pc that only has a sata connection for the hard drive, and pcie x1 for the expansion slot so I bought a pcie x1 NIC.
the old computer used IDE drives and pci - so the technology over all was slower.
Also, I noticed that the default install of pfsense, for the dhcp, doesn't have dns entries for what it gives to the clients.
So I decided to go with the defaults, and just adjust my firewall rules, here is a screen shot of what I have so far.

pfsense
so what do you think? sound like a plan?
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Expert Comment

by:cmb991
ID: 40530368
Sounds like a plan.  The firewall rules look fine.  Your config would really help too, it exports as an xml file and you csn just edit it and remove any personal information.  
Do you have upnp turned on?
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Expert Comment

by:cmb991
ID: 40530369
Hang on, looking at it a second time, how is the Xbox getting to the live servers and your pc getting to steam or whatever you use?  There's no rules
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by:JeffBeall
ID: 40530534
sorry, that is just the rules I had so far, I have since added the xbox and steam rules.
also, no, I don't have upnp enabled. I had to google upnp, I didn't know what it is.
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cmb991 earned 500 total points
ID: 40530564
Enable Upnp and see how it runs.  I believe it's under the services tab.  If it's still not running good, can you post your config?
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Author Comment

by:JeffBeall
ID: 40530814
I looked but didn't see how to get my config.
Is it just a file on the pfsense machine? I'm pretty comfortable with linux, I'm sure I could get the file.
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Author Closing Comment

by:JeffBeall
ID: 40534378
thank you for all of your help. My firewall is running great.
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