Upgrading from versions older than pfSense 2.2¶
For information about upgrading to current versions, see Upgrade Guide.
Uninstalling all packages is required when upgrading from old releases. Packages must be removed before the upgrade is performed. After the upgrade is complete, packages can be reinstalled. Package configuration is automatically retained.
On pfSense® software versions 2.2 and 2.3, limiters cannot be used on firewall rules residing on interfaces where NAT applies. This limits their use to LAN-type interfaces only, and not WANs, in most circumstances. This has been fixed on pfSense 2.4. Bug #4326
On pfSense software versions 2.2 and 2.3, limiters cannot be used where pfsync is enabled. This has been fixed on pfSense 2.4.3. Bug #4310
The IPsec daemon was changed from racoon to strongSwan. Existing configurations work the same as always, but if any unusual configurations are present, take care in testing after the upgrade. Changes in behavior because of this change may trigger bugs in remote endpoints that weren’t previously an issue. Configurations that were always technically incorrect may exhibit problems now where they didn’t previously. We have listed the circumstances we are aware of here, and will expand upon this list if anything new is found.
Problem in racoon with aggressive mode and NAT-D¶
Those using racoon (pfSense 2.1.x and earlier, among a variety of other similar products) on remote endpoints with aggressive mode may encounter a bug in racoon related to NAT-D and aggressive mode. Any site to site IPsec VPNs using aggressive mode with racoon as a remote endpoint should change to main mode to prevent this from being an issue. Main mode is always preferable for its stronger security.
glxsb Crypto Accelerator Warning¶
For those using the
glxsb crypto accelerator in the ALIX and other devices
with Geode CPUs, only AES 128 bit is supported by those cards. Any key length >
128 bit has never worked, and must not be configured. There appear to be
circumstances where AES on “auto” with racoon preferred 128 bit where strongswan
prefers the strongest-available and is choosing 256 bit, which glxsb breaks.
Input validation in 2.2.1 prevents such invalid configurations when adding
configurations or making changes, however existing configurations are not
changed. If using glxsb and AES, ensure both phase 1 and phase 2 configurations
all use AES 128 only and never auto.
Mobile client users, verify Local Network¶
For mobile IPsec clients, clients could pass traffic in certain circumstances
without having specified the necessary matching local network in the mobile
phase 2 configuration. The “Local Network” specified in mobile IPsec phase 2
must include all networks mobile clients need to reach. If mobile IPsec clients
need to access the Internet via IPsec, the mobile phase 2 must specify
0.0.0.0/0 as the local network.
Stricter Phase 1 Identifier Validation¶
In 2.1.x and earlier versions, racoon could accept mismatched phase 1 identifiers where using IP Address as the identifier. This is most commonly a problem where one of the endpoints is behind NAT and phase 1 is using My IP Address and Peer IP Address for identifiers. On the side with the private IP WAN, My IP Address will be its private WAN IP address. On the opposite end, Peer IP Address will be the public IP address of the opposite side. Hence, these two values do not match, and should have resulted in a connection failure. racoon would fall back to checking the source IP address of the initiating host as an identifier, where it found the match. To resolve this issue, change the phase 1 identifiers so they actually match.
Phase 2 behavior change with incorrect network addresses¶
In 2.1.x and earlier versions a phase 2 configuration with an incorrect network
address would still be presented by racoon with the corrected network address.
192.168.1.1/24 is set in a phase 2, which should be
192.168.1.0/24, racoon used it as
192.168.1.0/24. In 2.2.x and newer
versions, strongswan sends it exactly as configured. This may result in a phase
2 mismatch where configured with an incorrect network address.
Disk Driver Changes¶
The disk drivers in FreeBSD changed between the underlying OS versions and now
the CAM-based ATA drivers and AHCI are used by default. As such, ATA disks are
/dev/adaX rather than
ada driver for ATA
disks and GEOM keeps legacy aliases in place so that old disk references will
still work post-upgrade. This does not always extend to virtualized disk
drivers, however (see the Xen note below.). The upgrade process on pfSense 2.3
and 2.4 also attempts to automatically correct for this change.
A manual workaround is also possible. Running
before the upgrade will convert
/etc/fstab to UFS labels rather than
disk device names bypassing any device name issues that could arise due to the
There is a chance that the new driver stack will have issues with certain controller/disk combinations that were not present in prior releases. There may be BIOS changes or other workarounds to help. See Boot Troubleshooting.
The methods used to disable DMA and write caching have both changed on FreeBSD 10.x. For most, disabling these manually is no longer necessary.
If disabling DMA is necessary, the following may be used in a Loader Tunable:
X to be the ATA controller ID, typically
If write caching must be disabled, the following may be used as a Loader Tunable:
The FreeBSD base used by pfSense 2.2 and later includes PVHVM drivers for Xen in the kernel. This can cause Xen to automatically change the disk and network device names during an upgrade to pfSense 2.2 or later, which the Hypervisor should not do but does anyway.
The disk change can be worked around by running
before the upgrade to convert
/etc/fstab to UFS labels rather than disk
The NIC device change issue has no workaround. Manual reassignment is required.
vmxnet3 (VMware/ESX) users¶
Users who manually installed VMware Tools to use
adapters may encounter an issue with interface name changes when upgrading to
pfSense 2.2 or later, similar to those with Xen mentioned above. In pfSense
vmxnet3 interfaces were named starting with
vmx3f and on
pfSense 2.2.x they are
vmx using the built-in support. Manually reassigning
the interfaces or correcting them in
config.xml followed by a restore is
Old/Broken GEOM Mirrors¶
If a manual gmirror configuration was performed post-install and not using the pfSense installer gmirror option before install, there is a chance that the mirror will not function on pfSense 2.2 or later because the manual post-install method did not create a proper mirror setup. If an upgraded mirror does not boot or function on pfSense 2.2 or later, use the following entry to work around the integrity check that would otherwise fail.
Add the following line as a Loader Tunable:
If the disks are configured in this way, we strongly recommend backing up the configuration and reinstalling, using one of the mirrored disk options in the pfSense installer.
Due to the new CARP subsystem, the old method of having a virtual interface for CARP VIPs is no longer available. CARP VIPs work more like IP Alias style VIPs, existing directly on the main interface. For most, the changes made to accommodate this new system will be transparent, but there are some potential issues, such as:
With no separate interface available, monitoring a CARP VIP status via SNMP is no longer possible.
The FTP proxy is not included in pfSense 2.2-RELEASE or later, due to changes in the kernel and state table handling that made it more difficult to implement. Use of FTP is strongly discouraged as credentials are transmitted insecurely in plain text. #4210
See FTP without a Proxy for additional information and workarounds.
Another option is the recently added FTP Client Proxy package which leverages in FreeBSD to allow clients on local interfaces to reach remote FTP servers with active FTP.
LAGG LACP Behavior Change¶
LAGG using LACP in FreeBSD 10.0 and newer defaults to “strict mode”, which means the lagg does not come up unless the attached switch is speaking LACP. This will cause a LAGG to not function after upgrade if the switch is not using active mode LACP.
To retain the lagg behavior in pfSense 2.1.5 and earlier versions, add a new system tunable under System > Advanced, System Tunables tab for the following:
With value set to
This can be added before upgrading to 2.2 to ensure the same behavior on first boot after the upgrade. It will result in a harmless cosmetic error in the logs on 2.1.5 since the value does not exist in that version.
If a firewall has more than one LAGG interface configured, enter a tunable for
each instance since that is a per-interface option. For
lagg1, add the
Also with the value set to
Intel 10Gbit/s ixgbe/ix users with Unsupported SFP modules¶
The sysctl to allow unsupported SFP modules changed in FreeBSD between the versions used for pfSense 2.1.x and 2.2.
The old Loader Tunable was:
This must be changed to:
Edit the Loader Tunable before applying the update and the behavior will be retained.
Layer 7 is deprecated and has been removed. For layer 7 application identification and filtering we recommend using the Snort IDS/IPS package with OpenAppID detectors and rules.
Microsoft Load Balancing / Open Mesh Traffic¶
Windows Network Load Balancing and Open Mesh access points can use multicast MAC address destinations which rely on broken behavior that was incorrectly allowed by default in earlier versions of FreeBSD and pfSense. The fact it worked before was technically a bug, acting in violation of RFC 1812.
A router MUST not believe any ARP reply that claims that the Link Layer address of another host or router is a broadcast or multicast address.
The default behavior on pfSense 2.2 is correct, but it may be changed.
If this behavior be required, manually add a tunable as follows:
Navigate to System > Advanced, System Tunables tab
Enter the following values:
Description: Optional. It would be wise to enter the URL to this note or a similar note.