IPFire Mini Appliance questions

Happy to make a Donation for IPFire, the best Firewall for me !!!

Clicked on the Buy button and found an IPFire Mini Appliance (EU).
Does the (EU) mean it only works or is available in the EU ?
Will it work in the United States of America (USA) ?
Can the software on it be upgraded when IPFire is upgraded ?
Does it support the IPFire WUI & Pakint ?
Does it support a USB keyboard ?
Is the Male VGA connector intended for a display connection or something else ?
Any additional info would be helpful…Thanks.

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Thank you for that. Donations are very important to us and very much appreciated because they keep us going :slight_smile:

No, this version comes with a EU power plug. There is a GB option and a US one available which comes with the correct power supplies for those countries.

The rest of the system is absolutely identical.

You are getting exactly the same version of IPFire and it comes tuned for this hardware. You will receive updates just as usual.

No, it does not support a USB keyboard and the connector you are seeing isn’t a VGA connector. It is a serial console like you have them with a lot of networking equipment like switches and so on. A USB adapter for it will come bundled with the appliance and you can find more information about it right here:

There is more technical detail available on the IPFire Wiki:

If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask.

-Michael

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@gh4light: As @ms has pointed out, the Mini Appliance will work just fine in the US, provided you buy the right version. Michael is good to work with, so he’ll make sure you have what you need. You might consider springing for the wall mount kit, which takes advantage of the compact form factor. The only downside is the longer-than-normal shipping times from Europe, due to Covid.

I bought two recently, after years of running IPFire on consumer-grade hardware, and I’m not going back. The four built-in Ethernet ports use a chipset that will aid performance, and the built in wireless (if you buy it) will work well, whereas it was always a crapshoot with consumer devices. The hardware selection process has already been done for you and you don’t need to worry about compatibility.

As pointed out, the port on the back is a DB-9 serial port, and you connect to the console using this, in combination with a laptop or PC (or terminal if you want to go old school!). It works quite well, and if you already have a computer nearby, it’ll save you space because you don’t need a separate keyboard and screen. If you don’t, like other networking equipment, you just need a laptop.

Best of luck,

Tom

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Does the Mini appliance support Both the Wireless Kit and the LTE Module in the same box ?

I would like to use a Laptop for root keyboard access and display via the DB-9 connector.
What OS is required for the Laptop and any special software needed for access ?

Hi @gh4light

You can use any OS. You just need a terminal program capable of serial access. I use Arch Linux on my laptop with screen for the serial terminal access. Have also used minicom successfully in the past.
If you are on Windows then you can use putty.

@gh4light: Hopefully @ms can confirm, but I suspect you can have one or the other with the Mini.

As for access via the serial port, @bonnietwin is right, you can use just about anything. I suspect you could hook up a Digital Equipment VT420 terminal and you’d be in business.

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Thanks for the info about the Mini.
Are the 4 LAN connections for the IPFire Red, Green, Blue, & Orange LANS ?
If so, which connector is for which LAN ?

Gary: The four ethernet ports can be assigned however you like using the setup utility. Relatively recent changes to the software allow easier bridging of interfaces, I think. That means (correct me if I am wrong) that you could have:

  • One Red and three Green
  • One Red, one Blue, and two Green
  • Red, Blue, Green, Orange

I currently have one box configured with one Red, one Green, Blue on the WLAN card, and two wired ports unused. Like any IPFire install, there’s a lot of freedom to choose a configuration that suits your needs.

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Unfortunately it doesn’t at this time. There are two slots inside, one for the wireless interface the other one for the wireless module, but there is not enough space for the antennas on the outside. Since not very many people have requested this so far, we did not make a modified version of the case which could accommodate more than two antennas.

If you like some DIY you can of course get your drill out :slight_smile:

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I am guessing that the Mini appliance with the LTE Module provides the owner with the ability to use an LTE smart phone to communicate safely thru the IPFire Wall software to the internet.
Q1) If so, how do I tell my Android Smart Phones to use the Mini Appliance instead of the Cell Phone Tower ?
Q2) Also How can I restrict access so that only my Smart Phones have access and not everyone else that has a smart phone ?

@gh4light: Someone will correct me if I am wrong, but the LTE module is designed to be used as a the RED interface to connect IPFire to the internet via LTE. What you’re describing is a network extender, and you would get one from your cell provider and connect it to the LAN. Some providers allow you to designate your phones as priority devices, but don’t allow you to prevent others from connecting.

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I’ve been using IPFire for about a year now. I’ve already donated to the project and will do so again in the future on a regular basis given it allows me to build such a robust home network.

I too am interested in purchasing the Mini Appliance since I’ve IPFire running on consumer grade hardware, and I’ve got some questions - I thought it might be better to post here than starting a new thread.

1 - I assume one can install an alternative OS on it other than IPFire if one wanted to do so?

2 - I’m based in Ireland so it’s the UK version I would require, but that’s down as out of stock currently while the US & EU versions are in stock. Is there any indication on when that might change? I may just purchase the EU version and use a simple adapter if I would have to wait a long time.

3 - What are the power adapter specs? If it’s a 12V adapter, I have an unused one with different head widths that could work.

Yes, this is correct. The LTE feature is a modem to connect the firewall to a wireless network. It cannot function as a cellular base station. You would use regular WiFi for that kind of functionality.

Thank you for helping us out!

Yes, it is an x86-based system. It therefore runs other software like Debian, etc. But of course I recommend IPFire :slight_smile:

We have it in stock. I just checked. If you place an order, I will make sure if leaves our warehouse the same day. I need to check why it says that the GB version isn’t in stock.

It comes with a 12V 2A power adapter which you could potentially replace by something else. A few people power this appliance by a car battery :slight_smile:

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Thanks Michael for your help.

I’ve gone ahead and ordered the GB version along with the USB to Serial cable.

Thank you :slight_smile:

I had four old DEC terminals like that scraped them much better serial programs on laptops now. I have coped the old hyper terminal from older windows using on windows 7 (work requires windows) as this is best for some serial ASCII support needed where as other programs would not interpret ASCII properly for ASCII menus on some devices. Other than that I use minicom on linux the most myself and perfer, if windows Putty is very popular.

Hi there,

I had to create a new account. Probably there are too few issues with ipfire hence I didn’t post for years. :+1: :+1:

This page doesn’t mention the USB Serial adapter. Is the adapter bundled with the appliance, or do I have to order it separately?

Thanks,

jayrock

Hello Jay,

Please order it separately if you do not already own one of these adapters.

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