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Filtering Bridges
<personname><firstname>Alex</firstname><surname>Dupre</surname></personname><affiliation> <_:address-1/> </affiliation>
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Many of the designations used by manufacturers and sellers to distinguish their products are claimed as trademarks. Where those designations appear in this document, and the FreeBSD Project was aware of the trademark claim, the designations have been followed by the <quote>™</quote> or the <quote>®</quote> symbol.
$FreeBSD: head/en_US.ISO8859-1/articles/filtering-bridges/article.xml 53717 2019-12-29 14:13:50Z carlavilla $
Often it is useful to divide one physical network (like an Ethernet) into two separate segments without having to create subnets, and use a router to link them together. The device that connects the two networks in this way is called a bridge. A FreeBSD system with two network interfaces is enough in order to act as a bridge.
A bridge works by scanning the addresses of <acronym>MAC</acronym> level (Ethernet addresses) of the devices connected to each of its network interfaces and then forwarding the traffic between the two networks only if the source and the destination are on different segments. Under many points of view a bridge is similar to an Ethernet switch with only two ports.
Why use a filtering bridge?
More and more frequently, thanks to the lowering costs of broad band Internet connections (xDSL) and also because of the reduction of available IPv4 addresses, many companies are connected to the Internet 24 hours on 24 and with few (sometimes not even a power of 2) IP addresses. In these situations it is often desirable to have a firewall that filters incoming and outgoing traffic from and towards Internet, but a packet filtering solution based on router may not be applicable, either due to subnetting issues, the router is owned by the connectivity supplier (<acronym>ISP</acronym>), or because it does not support such functionalities. In these scenarios the use of a filtering bridge is highly advised.
A bridge-based firewall can be configured and inserted between the xDSL router and your Ethernet hub/switch without any IP numbering issues.
How to Install
Adding bridge functionalities to a FreeBSD system is not difficult. Since 4.5 release it is possible to load such functionalities as modules instead of having to rebuild the kernel, simplifying the procedure a great deal. In the following subsections I will explain both installation ways.
<emphasis>Do not</emphasis> follow both instructions: a procedure <emphasis>excludes</emphasis> the other one. Select the best choice according to your needs and abilities.
Before going on, be sure to have at least two Ethernet cards that support the promiscuous mode for both reception and transmission, since they must be able to send Ethernet packets with any address, not just their own. Moreover, to have a good throughput, the cards should be PCI bus mastering cards. The best choices are still the Intel <trademark>EtherExpress</trademark> Pro, followed by the <trademark class="registered">3Com</trademark> 3c9xx series. To simplify the firewall configuration it may be useful to have two cards of different manufacturers (using different drivers) in order to distinguish clearly which interface is connected to the router and which to the inner network.
Kernel Configuration
So you have decided to use the older but well tested installation method. To begin, you have to add the following rows to your kernel configuration file:
options BRIDGE
The first line is to compile the bridge support, the second one is the firewall and the third one is the logging functions of the firewall.
Now it is necessary to build and install the new kernel. You may find detailed instructions in the <link xlink:href="@@URL_RELPREFIX@@/doc/en_US.ISO8859-1/books/handbook/kernelconfig-building.html">Building and Installing a Custom Kernel</link> section of the FreeBSD Handbook.
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Source string comment
(itstool) path: info/pubdate (itstool) path: info/releaseinfo
Source string location
article.translate.xml:30 article.translate.xml:32
String age
a year ago
Source string age
a year ago
Translation file
articles/filtering-bridges.pot, string 9