pfSense is a free, open source customized distribution of FreeBSD tailored for use as a firewall and router. The project started in 2004 as a fork of the embedded firewall software package called m0n0wall. pfSense is focused towards full PC installations rather than the embedded hardware focus of m0n0wall.

This is one of the most powerful, yet simple software firewalls. It can stand it’s ground to any hardware firewall on the market, and it’s very easy to install.

Get a copy today and start playing –

It’s also available as a VMWare appliance…

There are numerous tutorials available.

PaulDotCom did a awesome mini tech segment –

Installing pfSense on an Alix.6e1

The ALIX.6e1 hardware platform:

2 10/100 LAN / 1 miniPCI / 1 miniPCI Express / AMD LX800 / 256 MB / 2 USB / DB9 serial port / CF Card slot / Board size: 6 x 6

First Step: Get a ALIX 6E1

link to Netgate’s ALIX 6E1. Netgate’s ALIX 6E1 Costs $175.

The kit includes:

  • ALIX.6E1 system board (2/1/1/256/LX800)
  • Laser etched red aluminum enclosure with USB and antenna cutouts
  • Blank 2 GB Sandisk Ultra II CF Card
  • 15V 1.25A 18W power supply (US 3 prong plug style)

You will also need a Compact Flash card writer for installing the pfSense operating system. The one they used costs $10.00

Next you will need the pfSense & physdiskwrite Software, Cost: FREE!

Second Step: Download the necessary packages

They needed the embedded version specifically created for the 2GB CF card size. The embedded version performs only reads from the flash card, with read/write file systems as RAM disks as compact flash cannot handle many write operations. The embedded versions can be found on pfSense’s mirror list

Third Step: Install the pfSense operating system on our CF card

pfSense’s documentation does a good job. We used a Windows PC as all our other boxes were busy umm analyzing pr0n, so we opted for the physdiskwrite method.

WARNING: Follow the documentation’s advice and be sure you are not overwriting the wrong disk!

C:Documents and SettingsAll UsersDocuments>physdiskwrite.exe pfSense-1.2.3-2g

physdiskwrite v0.5.2 by Manuel Kasper <>

Searching for physical drives...

Information for \.PhysicalDrive0:
   Windows:       cyl: 19452
                  tpc: 255
                  spt: 63
   C/H/S:         16383/16/63
   Model:         ST3160812AS
   Serial number:             9LS0V1FC
   Firmware rev.: 3.ADH

Information for \.PhysicalDrive1:
DeviceIoControl() failed on \.PhysicalDrive1.

Information for \.PhysicalDrive2:
   Windows:       cyl: 244
                  tpc: 255
                  spt: 63

Information for \.PhysicalDrive3:
DeviceIoControl() failed on \.PhysicalDrive3.

Information for \.PhysicalDrive4:
DeviceIoControl() failed on \.PhysicalDrive4.

Which disk do you want to write? (0..2) 2
About to overwrite the contents of disk 2 with new data. Proceed? (y/n) y
2001194496/2001194496 bytes written in total

C:Documents and SettingsAll UsersDocuments>

Fourth Step: Find a desktop PC for a serial connection to the Alix

You’ll need either a USB to serial converter cable or a desktop PC to connect the serial cable. In OS X I’ve used the USB to Serial cable and software called “Zterm”. You can also use the command line utility called “screen”, or several other free programs.

Fifth Step: Bootup the device and fire up Window’s hyperterminal

Use the following settings for the connection:

  • Baud rate: 9600
  • Data: 8 bit
  • Parity: None
  • Stop: 1 bit
  • Flow control: None

Now we boot into pfSense. As the bootloader comes there are 7 options listed. The first choice you will be asked is

“Do you want to set up     VLAN's now [y|n]?”  select no or 'n'.  

Then you are asked to

“Enter your LAN interface name”,  

We used ‘fxp1’. Next,

“Enter your WAN interface name”  

We entered ‘fxp2’. Next,

“Enter the Optional 1 interface name”,  

here we used ‘fxp0’.

Using the above examples, you'd see  “The interfaces will be assigned as follows:”
LAN  -> fxp1
WAN ->  fxp2
OPT1 -> fxp0
Do you want to proceed [y|n]?                      (make sure you enter 'y' here).

pfSense is now running in RAM and almost fully functional. If you wish you may plug your LAN interface into a hub or switch and connect via the web interface. pfSense is by default assigned an ip of Open your browser and navigate to http://192.168.1.

  • If you choose to login the username is ‘admin’ and the password is ‘pfsense’.

The original post can be found at –

Installing pfSense on an Alix.6e1 by InternMike & PaulDotCom

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