WiFi on the FW2B

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Overview

Protectli offers an optional WiFi kit that can be used with the Vault. The Product ID for the WiFi Kit is WAP01K. There is an article that explains how to install the kit into the Vault and how to configure it with some of the supported applications.

The Protectli wireless card supports 802.11 B/G/N in the 2.4 GHz band. However, it is non-standard, in that while it utilizes the PCIe physical form factor, the electrical data communication path is via USB. This is because most of the PCIe “lanes” are used for Ethernet ports. The result is that Protectli doesn’t recommend it for heavy duty WiFi applications.

The FW2B is an exception. Due to the fact that there are only 2 Ethernet ports, more PCIe lanes are available for data communication, so the Fw2B is compatible with many standard PCIe WiFi cards that use the PCIe bus for communication.

WiFi card compatibility also requires driver support in the Operating System (OS) that is deployed in the Vault. Common PCIe WiFi vendors that enjoy wide driver support include Atheros and Intel. This article uses an Atheros PCIe WiFi module with the FW2B as an example of a compatible module.

 

Install the WiFi Kit

The third party WiFi Kits typically contain the same or similar contents as the Protectli WiFi Kit, and they are installed in the same slot of the FW2B. See this Knowledge Base article to install the WiFi Kit into the Vault.

 

HP 495848-003 with Atheros AR5BHB92-H, pfSense® CE

The Hewlett Packard HP 495848-003 with the Atheros AR5BHB92-H chipset is a WiFi kit that has successfully been tested with the FW2B as a WiFi access point with pfSense® CE v2.4.5. The module is available on Amazon at this link. The module was configured for 802.11an in order to use the 5 GHz band and MIMO technology with 802.11n.

pfSense® CE Configuration for WiFi Access Point

There is another Knowledge Base article that describes how to install pfSense® CE on the Vault at this link. The information below is specifically to enable the WiFi card and assumes that the user  has already successfully installed pfSense® CE and the WiFi kit on the FW2B. The example below uses pfSense® CE version 2.4.5 to configure the WiFi interface as an Access Point for 802.11AN. 

  •  Verify that pfSense® CE version 2.4.5  and and the WiFi interface have been installed on the FW2B
  • Browse to the LAN port on the FW2B at 192.168.1.1 in order to access the pfSense® CE Dashboard
  • Verify the login page is displayed
  • Login and verify that the dashboard page is displayed
  • Select Interfaces->Interface Assignments
  • Select Wireless
  • Add the WiFi interface
  • Verify it is “ath0 (Atheros 9280)”
  • Set Mode to “Access Point”
  • Add a Description if desired (optional, recommended)
  • Save
  • Verify ath0_wlan0 with “Access Point” and Description is displayed
  • Return to Interfaces->Interface Assignments
  • Add the WiFi Interface “ath0_wlan0”
  • Edit the WiFi interface by clicking on the name in the left column (OPT1)
  • General Configuration
    • Enable interface
    • Description – Change Description if desired (recommended)
    • IPv4 Configuration Type – Static IPv4
  • Static IPv4 Configuration
    • IPv4 Address – Enter the desired IP address for the WiFi network and the subnet mask, this example uses 192.168.99.1 / 24
  • Common Wireless Configuration
    • Standard – 802.11na
    • Channel 11a/n – 161 (channel may vary, 161 was used for this example)
  • Network-Specific Wireless Configuration
    • Mode – Access Point
    • SSID – Set SSID (case sensitive, this is the ID that other clients will use to connect) “Test99” was used in this example
    • Enable WME
  • WPA
    • Enable WPA
    • WPA Pre-Shared Key – Set key (essentially SSID password, case sensitive, this is the password that other clients will use to connect)
    • WPA Mode – WPA2
  • Save
  • Apply Changes
  • Verify the changes have been applied successfully.

As with any other interface, when using pfSense® CE, Services and Firewall rules must be configured in order to connect and pass traffic on the interface. For this example, DHCP server will be configured for the WiFi interface and all traffic will be allowed to pass. Firewall rules should be edited later for desired security.

  • Go to Services->DHCP Server and select the WiFi interface
  • General Options
    • Enable DHCP serverS
    • Set the DHCP range (192.168.99.10 – 192.168.99.100 in this example)
    • Save
  • Verify the changes have been applied successfully.
  • Go to Firewall->Rules and select the WiFi interface
  • Add a Rule to allow all traffic to pass for this test
    • Action – Pass
    • Protocol – Any
  • Save
  • Apply Changes
  • Verify the changes have been applied successfully.
  • Verify that the WAN port is connected to the Internet
  • Verify that another device, such as a PC or laptop can connect to the WiFi network that was just created using the SSID and password for the WiFi network
  • Verify that the PC can browse out to the Internet

More details regarding WiFi configuration for pfSense® CE can be found at this link.

At this point, the FW2B with pfSense® CE v2.4.5 configured as a WiFi Access Point should be up and running.

As usual, if you have any questions or issues, feel free to contact us at: https://protectli.com/contact/