A few months back A1ph4byte, hellor00t, and I had a discussion about a project that would be both educational and useful.  Despite being employed in the Network Security world, none of us had tinkered with pfSense in-depth prior to this venture. We mostly relied on the “strict” firewall rules of our SOHO routers.  As enthusiasts not only would this serve as a fun and interesting project for us, but it would also serve as a guide/walk-through to others with our same interests.  In addition, we thought it would be entertaining to VPN our networks together to build a somewhat larger “homelab” to test theories and attempt to mess with each others VMs, but that’s another write-up for a different time. The overall goal of this is to setup a more secure home network.

The layout in my head went something like the below picture:
Homelab-Idea

As most of my projects go, I hardly ever jump in without at least having some background knowledge of the mistakes others have made.  Why put myself through what others have already suffered, right?  So, with my excitement building like a 5 yr old that just received news they’re going to Disney World, I started researching.  But with work making it’s selfish way into my life,  it took me ~5 weeks (on and off) reading pfSense forum pages, various subreddits, and more reviews than I am willing to admit to be comfortable pulling the trigger.  This past Monday, I finally started purchasing the hardware to build the over all project.  I started with my pfSense build as it is to be the centerpiece of this project.  Below is an inventory list of what I, inCIDRthreat, purchased or will be purchasing VERY soon.

pfSense Hardware List:

[ Arrived ] M350 Universal Mini-ITX PC enclosure PicoPSU compatibleArrived ] Sabrent 72W AC Adapter Power SupplyArrived ] Jetway NF9HG-2930 Thin mini-ITX Network MotherboardArrived ] G.SKILL 8GB (2 x 4GB) 204-Pin DDR3Arrived ] Kingston Digital 60GB mSATA SSD

 

ESXi Hardware List:

[ Returned ] Gigabyte Brix GB-BXi7-4500 (Didn't fit the requirements)

[ Arrived ] Gigabyte Intel i7-4770R

[ Arrived ] Crucial Ballistix Memory 16GB (2 x 8G)Arrived ] Kingston Digital 120GB mSATA SSD

Keep in mind that you can build a perfectly functional pfSense router/firewall from spare parts you may have lying around, I just like excuses to purchase more hardware. A1ph4byte and hellor00t will be doing their own setup with possibly a write-up for each. In the end we hope to compare our setups as A1ph4byte has already purchased an Intel NUC for his ESXi server. Thanks for visiting and remember to check back as I will be publishing ‘2-pfSense Build’ as I receive hardware for the pfSense box and find time to get it running and inserted into my network.