The best UTM Firewall solution

After setting up a good LAN I wanted utilize it fully with a good software UTM Firewall. There are some requirements:

  • Ability handle Vlan
  • Contentfiltering (preferably with different filters on vlans)
  • Addblocking
  • GUI – even though I like Linux, I prefer GUI over CLI
  • Be able to run in VMWare

I had some experience with PFSense, so why not start with that, I had some issues with setting up Vlan in the beginning (turned out to be rookie mistakes 😉  ) But luckily I was able to find a good guide on both PFsense and Vlan; I can only recommend  Calvins guide

I played around with PFSense for a while and it has a lot of features, some of them way above my level of competency and it can be tricky to configure -good guides can be found by googling 😉

It seemed there was some issues with Squid and Squidguard causing trouble when rebooting the firewall.

I then turned to Untangle, it has a very nice gui and easy to configure, it has content filtering and a separate add-blocker. It wasn’t until my 30-day trial expired and I had to use the free/lite version I discovered that you can only setup on policy and not separate policies per Vlan.

Currently I can live with that but I’m exploring other options and have been looking at ClearOS community edition and http://www.nethserver.org/

I have been running both in a test environment in VMWare but still haven’t made a descision, I hope to rate them later.

Setting up LAN at home

I’ve always wanted a good setup at home, and since I’m a big fan of fast connections and stability I’ve tried to cable where possible. In my previous house it was a bit cumbersome to get the cables where I wanted them – I also started without laying a masterplan 🙂

However I recently moved to another house – my plan was to do the cabling at first to be sure it was done the right way from the beginning.  Many ideas was in my head – thought about doing pulling cables down in the cornes of the rooms and then add the outlet on the wall, however a small trip to the addict got me thinking of other solutions. I noticed there was rubbertubes leading phone cables down the wall – who needs phone-outlets in 2016 ?   Long story short – removed the phone cables and pulled cables down that way ; other places there was tubes with cable-tv – the tube was big enough for 2 Cat 6 😉

now the house is cables with at least 16 outlets where I need them – and no cable mess everywhere.

I found the optimum place for my patchpanel; this was installed in a small 9U Rack together with a 24Port Switch and a 8Port POE switch.  This also contains the cable modem and my Mac-mini “server”.  Next to the rack is my NAS.

Wifi is handled via Edimax Pro Cap 1200 located centrally in the living room. I was in doubt whether it should be this one or a Ubiquity, I decided to go for the Edimax as I was not that fond of the Ubiquity interface and the Edimax had the feature of turning off the LED.

So far very satisfied with the setup – speedtest says Gigabit on Lan and also good speeds on wifi – so far maxing out the 150 Mbps of my wlan.

Streaming to your TV

I have tried several ways of streaming media from my NAS to my TV, as my TV is an old plasma and not a smart-tv which is why I also need a device connected to my TV.

At first I started the regular way with media on my NAS and my laptop connected to the TV, the positive side was that it worked fine however it didn’t look nice in the living room with cables etc.

Next solution was to replace the old NAS with a HP Microserver, then I bought a Raspberry PI and installed XMBC on the PI, actually not that bad a solution, the PI is small and easily hidden behind the TV – controlling it via smartphone or keyboard was also acceptable.

However I didn’t find media presentation all that good.

I was then recommended to use PLEX, so I downloaded RasPlex and installed it on my PI, and of course the Plex Server on my NAS.  This was actually a very good solution, very easy to navigate either in a browser on the laptop or in an app on smartphones.

Plex is presenting media in a very nice way with information about movies from IMDB and you can search in many different ways, keep track on what has been viewed.

For Plex to match media the best way it’s important to read their naming convention, else you will have problems, especially with tv-shows.

Now I am using PLEX in a virtualized environment on a Mac Mini so I can use the Mac Minis resources for other purposes as well.