Firewall Upgrade

I’ve been running pfSense on a Soekris Net5501 for some time. It’s capable and stable but I have been running it from a compact flash card with limited space which eventually kept me from upgrading to the latest versions and running the graphing back-end; so I’ve upgraded it to run on an SSD. There is a noticeable speed increase in the management front-end and now I have room for all the logging and graphing I would ever need.

After downloading the current pfSense ISO for a full install I booted the Thinkpad from the CD with the SSD attached via an USB > SATA adapter. After the CD booted I chose the “Install” > “Expert” option. Then in my case I picked the “embedded” option for the kernel since the Soekris is headless and needs the serial/no-vga kernel. I did no custom partitioning sine I intended to use the SSD exclusively for pfSense. After the install completed, I put the SSD in the Soekris, attached the serial cable to the Thinkpad and booted it up. At first boot the kernel will fail to find the root partition on the SSD which is not unusual since it was installed by a different machine. At the prompt I needed to manually enter the proper drive/slice and then the boot continued normally. Once fully running I had to ssh into the Soekris and edit the fstab with the proper drive/slice info for the “/” and “swap” partitions. At that point the install was finished and all that was left to do was restore the settings configuration from a backup and put it in service.

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