Open Source Firewall Software

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Open Source Firewall Software

Post by pvols1979 » Wed Feb 15, 2017 4:44 pm

This could go under software or hardware, but I think it makes the most sense here. I have built a number of personal firewalls over the years using open source Linux or BSD kernels. I am a big fan of both compared to using nothing at all or software firewalls only on endpoints. For the enterprise, I might go with something more mainstream only because you can place some of the liability on someone else should things go wrong. When you build your own firewall, you are assuming a lot of risk, even in your home. I first began working with Smoothwall and found it to be feature rich, especially with some of the mods that filled in the gaps. However, I quickly grew bored with the project, as is an often occurrence with me.

My next venture into an open source firewall was IPFire. The community behind this project is largely German, at least it would appear so as most of the posts on the support forums are in German. The project is definitely capable of providing ample coverage for your home or small business. I don't really have any negative comments to give on this one. I liked it equally as much as Smoothwall. Both are basically stripped down Linux distributions focused on IP Tables based firewall rules for the security. I believe at least one, of not both are Res Hat Linux under the hood. IPFire also has mods to fill in any feature gaps you may be looking for.

After my searching, I eventually found pfSense. I had known about the pfSense project for years, but I remembered it being more router-focused than firewall early on. I swapped Internet providers to one who offered 600mbps down and 40mbps upstream. The Smoothwall and IPFire boxes couldn't handle the bandwidth. A simple bandwidth test would max out at 200mbps. In all fairness, pfSense showed the same results. I did feel like the documentation was better for pfSense which provided basic reference hardware or specs to attain certain line speeds. I bought a used desktop workstation from eBay. The box had a quad core i5 or i7 processor and 8GB of memory. I added an SSD because I wanted to provid fast disk-based caching for my web proxy service (also provided by pfSense). I have remained with pfSense for a year and my interest is not yet waning.

If you are interested in trying out one of thes systems, you will need some hardware, a spare desktop may do the trick. You probably want at least two NICa, one for inbound traffic and one for outbound. I would also suggest multiple cores if you are dealing with higher bandwidth circuits. You can download the software from the links below. As with anything technical, you can look to our forums for support as well as the support forums of the various packages.



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Re: Open Source Firewall Software

Post by MyPreciousIWantzIt » Wed Feb 15, 2017 10:23 pm

I am familiar with SmoothWall. The others I have probably heard of before although I have never used them. I installed SmoothWall on a server at work and never actually used it on our network. What would you suggest a person do who wants to run a firewall like this at home and they do not have a spare computer? It sounds like you have plenty laying around.

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