LTE Failover using pfSense

I was out of town this past week on travel to IT Nation for work when the worst wind storm of our two-years in Maine rolled through knocking down at least a dozen trees on our property; two very narrowly missing our back shed!

Seeing as we lose power (and internet) when a moose-fly farts, the lines didn’t stand a chance against the 50-60mph gusts that battered last Thursday and Friday. While we do have a Generac automatic standby generator, that only handles power. Telling our 2-year old that Blippi and Cocomelon won’t work is quite possibly the most assured method to muster Beelzebub himself; so it became necessary to ensure we stay online, too!

The process for setting up Gateway Failover, as it’s properly called, in pfSense is pretty straightforward. The setup is only really complicated when you chase your tail for 3 days looking for an issue only to find your LTE carrier has disallowed modems and tethering.

Interface Setup

Nothing special to note here. I am using a Netgear LB1121 and have the ethernet cable plugged into OPT1 of my SG-3100. The LB1121 is set to Bridge Mode. Once the ethernet cable is plugged into OPT1, the interface will become available. Add it to pfSense and give it a descriptive name.

System>Routing>Gateways> Add or edit the new LTE gateway, as needed.

System>Routing>Gateway Groups>Add

I have had success by enabling “flush states” when the gateway changes from System> Advanced> Miscellaneous> Gateway Monitoring.

Then it’s just a matter of editing the default firewall rule to append the new Gateway_Group. Edit> Advanced>Gateway.

Running APCUPSD and pfSense

APCUPSD has been my preferred UPS monitoring and controller software for many years. I’ve run it on everything from dedicated Raspberry Pi’s to VMs to on my desktop and now baked directly in pfSense.

Seeing as pfSense is plugged into my “backbone” UPS which also provides redundancy and filtering for my surveillance system and PoE switch, it only makes sense to have apcupsd, by way of pfSense, handle power-outage control. I have my UPS SMT1500RM2U plugged via USB-A cable into my Netgate SG-3100 USB-B running pfSense.

Install apcupsd

If you’re here looking for instructions on how to install a package in pfSense, you’re at the wrong spot on the internet.

Install apcupsd.

Configure apcupsd