Tag Archives: dd-wrt

Site to site VPN between pfSense and DD-WRT

I’ve been trying to establish a site-to-site VPN connection between my house and my parents’ for a couple years now. Each time I try I become frustrated and eventually give up. No longer! I’ve finally gotten a site to site VPN working between my pfSense router and my parents’ Netgear Nighthawk R8000 running DD-WRT v3.

It was quite the undertaking for me to get these two systems talking. I drew a lot of inspiration from here. In order to get this to work you need to keep these things in consideration:

  • Protocol, port, device type, encryption cipher, hash algorithm, TLS authentication, and certificate settings all need to match
  • VPN IP addresses need to be assigned to both the server and the client
  • Routes for each network need to be established on both devices
  • Firewalls need to be configured to allow traffic to/from each network through the VPN tunnel

I used the following settings to get things working between these two devices:

OpenVPN Server (pfSense)

If you haven’t already, generate a certificate authority and server certificate. Do this in System / Cert Manager and click Add. When generating the certificate make sure the Certificate Type is Server Certificate.


  • Server mode: Peer to Peer (SSL / TLS)
  • Protocol: UDP
  • Device mode: tap

Cryptographic settings

  • Enable authentication of TLS packets: checked
  • Automatically generate a shared TLS authentication key: checked
  • Peer certificate authority & Server Certificate:  Select appropriate CA / certificate from the dropdowns here
  • DH Parameter length: 2048
  • Encryption algorithm: AES-256-CBC
  • Auth digest algorithm: SHA256 (256 BIT)
  • Certificate depth: One (Client + Server)

Tunnel Settings

  • IPv4 Tunnel network: Enter a unique (not existing on either netwonk) network here in CIDR format, ex
  • Ipv4 Local Network(s): Enter the networks you would like the remote network to access
  • IPv4 Remote Network(s): Enter the networks you would like the local network to access
  • Compression: Enabled with Adaptive Compression

Advanced Configuration

Optional? I found that for some reason the routing table wasn’t properly populated with the remote network on my pfSense server. I added a custom option to take care of that:

route <remote network> <remote subnet mask> <remote VPN IP>

In my example it ended up being “route”

Key export

You will need to export the Certificate Authority certificate as well as the client certificate & private key files for use with dd-wrt. Do this by going to System / Cert Manager. There are little icons to the right of the certificates where you can click to download them.

Export the CA certificate as well as both the certificate and key from whatever was specified in the Server Certificate section from the above OpenVPN configuration.

OpenVPN client (dd-wrt)

Go to Services / VPN and look for the OpenVPN Client section

  • Start OpenVPN Client: Enable
  • Tunnel Device: TAP
  • Tunnel Protocol: UDP
  • Encryption cipher: AES-256 CBC
  • Hash Algorithm: SHA256
  • User Pass Authentication: Disable
  • Advanced Options: Enable
  • LZO Compression: Adaptive
  • NAT: Enable
  • Firewall protection: Disable
  • Bridge TAP to br0: Enable
  • TLS Auth Key: <Paste the contents of the “Key” section under pfSense’s Cryptographic settings area of the OpenVPN server configuration>
  • CA Cert: <Paste contents of downloaded CRT file from pfsense’s CA>
  • Public Client Cert: <Paste contents of downloaded CRT file from pfsense’s certificate section>
  • Private Client Key: <Paste contents of downloaded .key file from pfsense’s certificate section>

IN THEORY this should be all that you have to do. The tunnel should establish and traffic should flow between both networks. Sadly it wasn’t that simple for my setup.


One-way VPN

After setting up the tunnel I saw everything was connected but the traffic was unidirectional (remote could ping local network but not visa versa.)

On the pfsense router, I ran

netstat -r | grep 192.168

(change the grep to whatever your remote network is)

I noticed that there were no routes to the remote network. To fix this I appended a server option in the OpenVPN server config (adjust this to match your networks)


Blocked by iptables

Adding the route on the server helped but things still weren’t getting through. I enabled logging on the DD-WRT side, consoled into the router, and ran the following:

watch -n 1 "dmesg | grep 192.168.98"

This revealed a lot of dropped packets from my OpenVPN server’s network. After a lot of digging I found this forum post that suggested a couple custom iptables rules to allow traffic between the bridged network and the OpenVPN network (adjust interface names as necessary)

iptables -I FORWARD -i br0 -o tap1 -j ACCEPT 
iptables -I FORWARD -i tap1 -o br0 -j ACCEPT

This doesn’t survive a reboot, so you’ll want to enter those two commands in the Administration / Commands section of the dd-wrt web configuration and click “Save Firewall”


Finally, after a custom routing rule on the pfsense side and a custom iptables rule on the dd-wrt side, two way VPN has been established!

Install OTRW2 on DD-WRT

Optware done the right way 2 is a set of scripts designed to enhance the functionality of your DD-WRT router. I’ve recently installed it on my parents’ router so I can more or less have a full Linux box running in their house (it makes my life easier.)

The tutorial for install it is pretty comprehensive. These are my notes on the experience.

  • USB devices needs to be ext2 formatted (fat won’t do.) This is because the script makes a bunch of symlinks to that device.
  • Mount ext2 formatted drive as /opt (Services / USB / Disk Mount Point)
  • Reboot router if you made any changes to mountpoints.

SSH into the router and run the following:

wget -O /tmp/prep_optware http://dd-ware.googlecode.com/svn/otrw2/prep_optware
sh /tmp/prep_optware

Installation takes some time. Wait one minute after installation complete message and reboot router.

Once rebooted, use the service command to see which services are available. Green means the service is enabled.

service mypage on

Enables the mypage service, but you still have to reboot. Reboot router after any changes to services to enable / disable them.

Small overview of services as taken from dd-wrt forums:

rotate_log = move the log file to /opt/var/log/
pixelserv = addblocking on you network.
unfsd = nfs server
zabbix = zabbix client (useless since its included in kong build)
pound = reverse proxy which you can use since you host multiple sites
sshhack = block ips hammering ssh with incorrect credentials.
stophack = BLock ips which are trying to hack server (only combined with pound or vlighttpd)
stophammer = block ips which are hammering ports
nzbget & transmission for downloading.
fixtables rearranges the firewall entries

A full explanation on how otrw2 enhances your router and what each package does is located here.

All in all, pretty straightforward once you get the right filesystem on your media and have it mounted on the right mountpoint. OTRW2 gives your router a whole lot more usefulness and the ability to install a wide range of packages on it.