How to update pfSense to the latest testing snapshot…

As some of my regular readers may remember I switched my home firewall over to pfSense a few weeks ago. I installed the latest version shown on the web site at the time — pfSense 1.0 BETA.

One of the cool features pfSense offers is Traffic Shaping. Since I use Vonage as my VOIP phone provider I wanted to prioritize my Vonage network traffic so that file uploads would not cause dropped audio during phone calls.

After running through the pfSense Traffic Shaper Wizard I noticed that my Vonage traffic was not prioritized as promised. After doing some research I noticed that the port range set for Vonage by the Traffic Shaper Wizard was wrong. I submitted a bug report on the incorrect port range here and was impressed at how quickly the pfSense team responded. The port range fix should be included in the next test image.

I also learned that the Traffic Shaper in pfSense 1.0 BETA is broken. It was recommended that I upgrade to the latest testing snapshot if I wanted a working Traffic Shaper.

It was not immediately obvious to me how to actually upgrade my installation. After a bit of fumbling I was able to figure out what to do so I will now share that information with you, my loyal reader. It turns out that the pfSense project considers it a “firmware upgrade”.

  1. Get the latest pfSense stable release up and running (1.0 BETA at the time of this post).
  2. Visit here and download the latest testing snapshot (it will be a .gz file) to your Management PC.
  3. Log into the pfSense web console from your Management PC and click System -> Firmware -> Click “Enable firmware upload” -> Click “Browse” -> Select your .gz file from the previous step -> Click “Upgrade Firmware”.
  4. After a few minutes you will need to confirm the upgrade. The machine will then reboot and you will have the latest testing snapshot installed!
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