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pfSense: The Definitive Guide Paperback – November 1, 2009
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Do not mistake this as a slight against pfSense. pfSense is a wonderful piece of software, it's just that it still hasn't found it's style yet. For example, traffic shaping. In a current version of pfSense, the only thing that the traffic shaping system has in common with traffic shaping in the book is the location in the menu in which traffic shaping is located. After that, you're in a completely different application, and this book can't help you in the slightest.
Its a very good book but you will have to hunt a lot to make changes in 2.0 when it refers to it in the previous version. Still a very useful book.
I ended up getting the gold edition of pfSense and got a draft copy of 2.0 book. Which is more relevant to what you need to do in pfSense.
pfSense is one of the best firewall / intrusion detection systems I have ever used. I use it for my VPN / Edge Router. It works great, and super stable. It ran on an AMD 1.4ghz Thunderbird (circa 2000) with 1 gb of ram with absolutely NO problems. Make sure you got a good network card (intel not the realtek chipset - even though realtek works) and go to town.
The book contains a lot of comprehensive information about pfsense and also contains some journeyman information and practical experience about different hardware situations and implementations of pfsense features. In short, it is clear that the authors work with pfSense and are very familiar with it.
pfSense reminds me of the manuals you used to get with new hardware - they were complete and also instructive on different usage scenarios without being completely dry. This book could have been called "pfSense, the missing manual". I hope the publisher and authors will consider updating the book when it starts to get out of sync with the releases of pfSense in the future.
The whole pfSense community can be proud of this book, it should really help with marketing of the project and building acceptance of the pfSense project. If you are using or learning pfSense and would like a paper-based reference this book would be perfect.
Chris Buechler is one of the co-founders of pfSense, and he clearly knows his product. The topics covered in the book are, for the most part, covered in exquisite step-by-step detail with screen prints along the way. You can start with rudimentary knowledge of networks and firewalls and, with this book's guidance, install and configure an impressive array of capabilities with pfSense.
The particular reason I bought the book -- details on how to set up fail-over on a multi-wan without load balancing -- turned out to be a bit of a weakness. The two topics, fail-over and load balancing, are discussed simultaneously and the usual "step-by-step with pictures" approach wasn't used for each topic on its own. As a result, my particular question wasn't very well answered (However I did find what I needed [...]
There is a wealth of information about pfSense available on the web, and if you are diligent you can get all of the information in the book and more through serious Googling. However, I really do recommend this book -- it's nice to have a hard-copy, indexed set of data while you're messing with your connection to the outside world; there's nothing worse than messing up your firewall and realizing that your source of "what next" is on the web...which you just disconnected. Further, because pfSense is free to use and open-source, book sales are one of the few ways that Mr. Buechler and his team are able to support the very worthy project.
If you use pfSense you owe it to yourself to buy this book. It is a great reference and also a wonderful way to support the project.