LAB: WAN Issues w/ Realtek + PFSense

It’s a pretty common issue. Realtek devices are inexpensive an prolific but they’re flaky and not recommended by most. Coupled with pfsense, one can have a pretty solid lab if you can get them working reliably. I went down the path of building out a new lab with a gigabyte box as a pfsense one-arm-router. I paired it with a managed PoE switch running a few Ubiquiti APs so I could power and pull networks from some IoT devices I was researching.

Every time my nic was under load, my WAN interface would go down. Reloading the interface was a quick fix but it was one needing a more permanent fix.

This was the solution:


Unzip & Place “if_re.ko” file in the “/boot/kernel” folder

Ensure ownership and permissions on the if_re.ko file are:

  • chown root:wheel if_re.ko
  • chmod 0555 if_re.ko

Add this line to “/boot/loader.conf“:

  • if_re_load=”YES


Once you reboot, you can run kldstat to verify the driver is loaded. Most folks were having issues with “smart quotes” on their copy-pastes.

This solved all the stability issues I was experiencing in my lab.