Learn How To Set Up A PFSense 2.4.5 Virtual Machine On VMware Fusion 11.0 Using MacOS 10.13.6 Or Newer.

The PFSENSE firewall solution from Rubicon Communications is one of the best and widely used open source network firewall deployed in many organizations with various types of IT environments. As long as if you have a network and need to protect your computers and data from network related threats , PFSENSE is one of the firewall solutions that you can consider. In IT its always a good idea to try out software solutions , network configurations and the like in a test environment before deploying on a live environment. Therefore this tutorial provides a simple to follow how – to – guide on how to setup a PFSENSE virtual machine using VMware Fusion 11.0 on MacOS 10.13.6 or newer. 

Requirements.

In order to complete this tutorial successfully the following items are required. Please ensure to have these items available before taking implementation action on this tutorial. (Please note that this tutorial assumes that you have a working installation of VMware Fusion) :
1) A Mac running MacOS 10.13.6 High Sierra or newer (*you can also try with an older version of MacOS) with two network interface cards
2) The PFSENSE 2.4.5 disk image file ISO
3) VMware Fusion 11.0 or newer
4) Access to a MacOS user account with administrative priviledges.

Overview.

1) Download the PFSENSE disk image file from the PFSENSE download page and verify its checksum
2) Use the disk image file to create a new virtual machine in VMware Fusion and configure two network interface cards for the VM
3) Power on the VM and check the IP address for the web based configurator.
4) Open the web based configurator using a web browser and run through the PFSENSE post installation process.
5) Check for and install PFSENSE system updates.

Step One: Download The PFsense ISO File.

1) Click HERE to go to the PFSENSE downloads page,we recommend downloading the latest stable version of PFSENSE. On the SELECT IMAGE TO DOWNLOAD SECTION, select AMD64 (64 BIT) on the ARCHITECTURE dropdown menu. Choose CD IMAGE (ISO) INSTALLER on the INSTALLER dropdown menu and choose a mirror location that is close to where you are on the MIRROR dropdown.

Once you have made these selections click on the DOWNLOAD button.

2) Once the download os complete, the next step is to verify the checksum of the PFSENSE ISO file so as to ensure integrity and correctness. It also helps to ensure that the ISO file is for the correct version of PFSENSE and to also make sure that the ISO file was not modified in any way.

To run the check open the MacOS terminal application and run the following command:

cd Downloads – to change directory to the downloads folder

openssl sha256 pfSense-CE-2.4.5-RELEASE-p1-amd64.iso.gz

 

 

3) Next copy the sha256 checksum that was returned on the terminal as well as the checksum on the PFSENSE website and go to difference checking website such as diffchecker.com to verify if there is any difference in the two checksums

Step Two: Create The Virtual Machine.

4) Open VMware Fusion 11.0 and from the menu bar click on FILE > NEW. This will open a virtual machine creation wizard.

On the SELECT INSTALLATION METHOD page, select CREATE A CUSTOM VIRTUAL MACHINE and click on CONTINUE

5) The PFSENSE firewall is built on top of the FREEBSD operating system. It is also important for VMware Fusion to know the operating system that will the installed on the VM so as enable usage of the correct vmware tools for the VM.

On the CHOOSE OPERATING SYSTEM page select OTHER as the operating system then select the FREEBSD 11 64-BIT option and click on CONTINUE

6)Proceed by creating a new virtual hard disk for the PFSENSE VM. This virtual disk will be used to install PFSENSE and to save all configuration information and data generated by PFSENSE.

The default 20GB virtual hard disk size is sufficient unless if storage consuming packages will be used in PFSENSE. Click on NEXT to proceed.

7) On the CHOOSE FIRMWARE TYPE page it is possible to choose between legacy BIOS and UEFI and even configure secure boot. On this page simply select the LEGACY BIOS option and click on CONTINUE.

On the FINISH page click on the FINISH button to complete the virtual machine creation process

Step Three: Setup Two Network Interfaces

8) Inorder for PFSENSE to function properly two network interfaces are needed.Open the VMware Fusion virtual machine library, right click on the PFSENSE VM and click on  SETTINGS.

9) Click on the ADD DEVICE button on the top right corner, select NETWORK ADAPTER and click on ADD. 

10) Next, select the physical network interface that the virtual PFSENSE interface should utilise. For this second virtual interface be sure to select a physical interface that is different from the one being used by the first virtual network adapter

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