Setting up Home network with Zyxel PK5001z and PFSense box


Mar 11, 2014
Hey guys,
Im working on setting up some lab enviroments at home, (long story short.. VCP5 studies) anyways.. I currently have..

zyxel PK5001z with a static Public address. It also currently runs my LAN (DHCP, wireless, as well as all routing to outside)

a PFsense server set up on a Dell PE 650. with dual nic.


The reason i want to use the PFsense is its ability to handle Site2site ipsec VPN traffic, which is the eventual goal of this whole project. (ipsec tunnel to second location, to play with multi ESXi Clusters in Vcenter server)

I have a fair understanding of what i need to do, just need some hole filled (i think)

my network should look like this when done OUTSIDE <--> DSL router <--> (WAN) PFsense (LAN) <--> SWITCH

I believe what i need to do is set up a bridged network between my ZYxel and my pfsense, and let the pfsense handle PPPoE,Routing, and NAT. which i can do. my question with this is ... Can i leave the wireless on the Zyxel running on its own subnet, with a small subnet in DHCP for mobile devices, guest laptops, ect... (don't care if they reach my internal sub-net behind PFsense)

I don't have a second wireless router to setup as a AP behind my PFsense box for AP use on internal Internet, (thus the question about leaving it up on Zyxel). mainly because i wish to have my head intact if the wife decides to browse Facebook on her ipad ;))

or... should i be looking at setting my Zyxel up in Transparent mode, and let the Zyxel handle PPPoE, and PFsense handle the Routing, and NAT??

What you’re really asking here is whether you should maintain two networks or one. By all means, maintain one network if at all possible. Multiple networks are almost always a headache. Sooner or later you’ll want to have communications between those networks, and then you find network discovery doesn’t work across the network boundaries, and the firewall has to be compromised, etc.

Now whether you need the Zyxel at all really depends on whether pfSense can handle the PPPoE connection. Assuming it can, you can just relegate the Zyxel to wireless duties behind the pfSense router/server. If you can’t, then place the Zyxel in bridge mode and have it handle it. But of course, if you insist on supporting wireless, you’re back to router mode w/ the Zyxel and two networks.

So there’s no way for anyone but YOU to decide what’s right. You have several options, and what you ultimately decide is essential is going to drive your decisions, not anything I or anyone else has to offer.