Can I use IPFire through a switch?

I want to disable Wifi on my ISP modem because it only supports password protection, no MAC filtering or anything, just password. So I want to have IPFire connect to the ISP modem through the Ethernet port and let IPFire manage the Wifi security. That’s easy.

But I also don’t want my desktop machine to connect to IPFire over Wifi. I want it to use Ethernet. IPFire is installed on a machine that has only one Ethernet port, so I am one Ethernet port short.

I have a very simple switch that I would like to use to work around that problem. I want to connect the ISP modem, IPFire and my desktop machine to the switch and make IPFire identify the ISP modem as the Internet connection (red) and my desktop box as a client in the green zone.

Is that possible? I’ve been trying for hours and it seems impossible. It seems that my PC can connect to IPFire, SSH to it or open the admin page on the browser, but IPFire can’t find the ISP modem through the switch so I have no Internet. It seems (I’m not really sure) that the modem is visible in ‘arp -n’ but can’t ping its address.

Thank you for any help.

Hi @lucspf

You cannot have both red and green connected to one IPFire interface at the same time.

If I understand you correctly, you have a machine with only one Ethernet interface and the other interface is a wifi one. You need to get another Network card installed in your machine or if that is not possible then you need to look for a USB LAN Dongle - see recommended network hardware list

1 Like

To clarify ( once more ), IPFire manages several networks. These are logically separated. The connection is done by IPFire.
A physical connection outside ( by a switch eg. ) destroys this functionality.

OT: Because of the lack of a error-free DWIM implementation or opcode IPFire software cannot handle such a configuration :wink:

1 Like

Hi. Many thanks for the replies. They make a big difference.

One of the problems here is that I don’t really understand what a switch does. You say that IPFire manages networks separately. I can understand that, but when I connnect my desktop and IPFire to the switch, one exists in the 192.168* neighbourhood while the other exists in the 10.60* neighbourhood. Those are separate networks, right? That should be good for security, but then the two networks can’t talk to each other, which disappoints me.

So I guess making them talk would be the job of a router. So what if I add a router to that mix? Something like this:

modem <-Eth-> IPFire <-Eth-> router without Wifi <-Eth-> desktop 
                    <-Wifi-> cell phone

Or almost the same:

modem <-Eth-> IPFire <-Eth-> router with Wifi <-Eth-> desktop 
                                       <-Wifi-> cell phone

Do I get what I want that way? I suppose I do, but would there be any technical problems or risks in that arrangement?

Note: there is a directory in the IPFire installation that I treat as a “swap area” where I can exchange files between the desktop and the cell phone.

You will need another wired NIC no matter how you look at it, one for red and one for green. A USB Gb adapter can be had for minimal money. WiFi can be handled by IPFIRE as you are suggesting for blue network or you can do it a different way, either will work.

My setup is, modem set to bridge mode and WiFi turned off. The modem feeds into my IPFIRE machine to NIC 1 (Red). NIC 2 (Green) feeds out to a 24 port PoE Gb switch. All my computers in the house connect via this switch. Also connected to the switch is a PoE wireless access point. This is how all my phones and laptops connect. Wireless device are isolated from the rest of the network through settings on the AP.

1 Like

In a typical IPFire installation we have 3 physical networks; called RED, GREEN and BLUE.
Each network is connected to its own NIC. In case of BLUE together with hostapd this may be a WLAN card.
IPFire assigns logical networks to them and it’s routing functionality connects them.

A switch connects several physical lines to produce a real network. A ethernet cable can only connect two endpoints. With an switch n endpoints are connected together.

For a correct functioning of a router you must not connect the networks outside.

So much about the basics of networking. More can be found in numerous articles in the internet. Best begin with wikipedia.


1 Like