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Netgate Releases pfSense Plus Software Version 24.03

This release was a huge undertaking & represents a major advance in performance and usability for customers utilizing pfSense Plus software to secure their networks.”
— Jamie Thompson, Netgate CEO
AUSTIN, TEXAS, UNITED STATES, April 23, 2024 / -- Netgate®, a leader in secure networking solutions, is excited to announce that pfSense® Plus software version 24.03-RELEASE is now available. With over 10 million deployments across homes, businesses, enterprises, service providers, and governments, pfSense is the world's leading open-source-driven firewall, router, and VPN solution for network edge and cloud secure networking.

"This release was a huge undertaking & represents a major advance in performance and usability for customers utilizing pfSense Plus software to secure their networks,” said Jamie Thompson, Netgate CEO.

Major Changes and Features

▪️ Introducing Default Password Control: In response to mandates from the US and international regulatory bodies, pfSense Plus software version 24.03 now implements stringent measures regarding default passwords. Any attempt to use default passwords is met with a mandatory reset requirement, applicable across both the User Interface (UI) and Command Line Interface (CLI). As part of Netgate's commitment to best practices, all pfSense users are strongly advised to proactively adopt this change. By doing so, users bolster the security posture of their systems and align with evolving compliance standards, ensuring a safer and more resilient network environment.

▪️ Enhanced Update Process Using ZFS Snapshots: This release introduces significant improvements to the software update mechanism, leveraging the capabilities of the ZFS file system to bolster stability and minimize downtime throughout the update process. These enhancements fortify the reliability of pfSense Plus software and furnish administrators with potent tools that are particularly beneficial for those utilizing system snapshots to establish diverse environments for testing purposes. This empowers administrators with the flexibility to revert to a predetermined environment quickly should the need arise, enhancing the overall manageability and resilience of the system.

▪️ Packet Data Flow Export: A notable addition to this release is the capability to export packet flow data to external collectors via the NetFlow v5 or IPFIX protocol. This feature enables administrators to extract valuable insights from network traffic, essential for effective network management. By analyzing flow data, administrators can address challenges such as optimizing application response times, implementing usage-based accounting, profiling traffic patterns, fine-tuning traffic engineering strategies, detecting potential security threats or intrusions, monitoring Quality of Service (QoS) metrics, and much more. This enhancement equips administrators with powerful tools to enhance network visibility and make informed decisions regarding network performance and security.

▪️ Gateway Recovery: Another change is an enhanced gateway recovery process with options to reset connections made through a backup gateway while the primary gateway is offline. This feature allows connection fail-back to a primary gateway after downtime, which is useful for metered links.
State Policy Default Change: The default State Policy in pfSense Plus software version 24.03 and later releases is changing from floating states to interface-bound states. This provides stronger out-of-the-box security for users. The change to interface-bound states ensures that traffic flows out of the expected interface and that the state table tracks connections more strictly by default. Users can change back to floating states globally or on a per-rule basis if needed.

▪️ Upgraded VPN capabilities: Netgate is excited to announce two significant upgrades: Mobile Group Pools and performance enhancements. With the introduction of Mobile Group Pools, users access a dedicated tab to configure additional address pools and, if necessary, a DNS server, which is beneficial for larger organizations. This feature allows organizations to use group authentication to define extra address pools for specific user categories, enhancing flexibility to meet diverse requirements.

▪️ Updated IPsec-MB kernel module: Netgate focused on reducing processing overhead and enhancing performance by updating the IPsec-MB kernel module (iimb.ko) to Intel's latest upstream version 1.5. This update includes optimizations for CPUs supporting AVX512 and AVX2, ensuring smooth operations and improved efficiency. These advancements aim to elevate user experience while maintaining high-performance standards.

▪️ High Availability on AWS: Netgate is excited to announce the release of High Availability (HA) for pfSense Plus software on AWS. This release builds upon the standard HA features customers have leveraged in data centers, branches, and remote offices worldwide, with additional AWS-specific features that enable fast failover and maintaining connectivity to critical cloud workloads and services. This feature was added to meet the mission-critical needs of enterprise and government customers requiring uninterrupted services in their AWS deployments. With HA on AWS, customers can meet uptime requirements and internal SLAs while safeguarding mission-critical operations within AWS.

In addition to these highlights, this release includes over 100 other functional updates. For the full list of improvements and best practices for upgrading, please see our release notes and upgrade guide.

For cloud platforms where pfSense Plus software is available (AWS and Azure), pfSense Plus software version 24.03-RELEASE is available when the publishing process for each platform is completed.

To learn more about pfSense Plus software, visit For additional information or questions, contact Netgate at +1 (512) 646-4100 or

About Netgate
Netgate is dedicated to developing and providing secure networking solutions to businesses, government, and educational institutions worldwide. Netgate is the only provider of pfSense products, which include pfSense Plus and pfSense Community Edition software – the world's leading open-source firewall, router, and VPN solution. TNSR extends the company's open-source leadership and expertise into high-performance secure networking capable of delivering compelling value at a fraction of the cost of proprietary solutions.

Esther Cheng
+1 512-646-4100
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