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.


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