Implementing a Self-Hosted Infrastructure with pfSense, Librem Mini, and VLAN Switch
Transitioning to a self-hosted infrastructure provides several key advantages for organizations and individuals looking to take control of their technology stack:
Model: Protectli Vault FW4B - 4 Port, Firewall Micro Appliance/Mini PC
CPU: Intel Celeron
Storage: 32GB SSD
Network Interfaces: 4 x Gigabit Ethernet
Additional Features: VPN support, IDS/IPS capabilities
VLAN Managed Switch:
Model: NETGEAR 8-Port PoE Gigabit Ethernet Plus Switch (GS108PEv3)
Number of Ports: 8
VLAN Support: Yes, up to 4096 VLANs
Power over Ethernet (PoE): Yes, 4 PoE ports
Model: Librem Mini v2
CPU: Intel Core i7
Storage: 500GB NVMe SSD
Operating System: PureOS (Linux-based)
Connectivity: Gigabit Ethernet, Wi-Fi 6 (optional)
Dedicated Management Machine:
Model: Dell OptiPlex 7070
CPU: Intel Core i7-9700
Storage: 1TB SSD
Operating System: Windows 10 Pro
Connectivity: Gigabit Ethernet, Wi-Fi (optional)
Utilize the built-in firewall capabilities of the pfSense Router for network security.
Intrusion Detection and Prevention:
Implement Suricata or Snort as an IDS/IPS on the pfSense Router to detect and mitigate potential threats.
Secure VLAN Configuration:
Configure VLANs on the managed switch to segregate and secure network traffic.
Regular Updates and Patching:
Ensure that all devices, including the Librem Mini and dedicated management machine, receive regular updates and security patches to protect against vulnerabilities.
Access Control and Authentication:
Implement strong access control measures, such as secure passwords and multi-factor authentication, for all network devices.
Backup and Disaster Recovery:
Implement regular backups of critical data and establish a disaster recovery plan to ensure data safety and availability.
Monitoring and Logging:
Set up monitoring and logging systems to track network performance, detect anomalies, and investigate security incidents.
Implement physical security measures, such as secure server rooms and restricted access to network infrastructure.
Redundancy and High Availability:
Increased Privacy and Security:
With on-premises servers and network gear, you control access to your data and systems. No reliance on third-party providers.
Advanced firewall, IDS/IPS, and VLAN capabilities allow tight control over network traffic.
Regular patching and updates keeps systems secure against latest threats.
Flexibility and Customization ⚙️
Choose your own server hardware, OS, apps - build the perfect environment for your needs.
Configure to meet specific performance, redundancy, and high availability requirements.
Scale resources up or down as needed, no vendor lock-in.
Cost Savings 💰
Avoid recurring public cloud fees by using own hardware.
Open source software like pfSense and PureOS cuts down on licensing costs.
Consolidate workloads on high-performance servers like Librem Mini.
Educational Benefits 🎓
Hands-on experience running real enterprise-grade infrastructure.
Opportunity to learn powerful on-prem solutions like pfSense routing.
Develop Linux, networking, security, and systems administration skills.
Community Driven 🤝
Contribute to open source projects like PureOS.
Foster relationships through forums and user groups.
Share knowledge and collaborate on best practices.
While transitioning to self-hosted infrastructure has upfront costs and a learning curve, the long-term payoff in privacy, security, control, and customizability make it an appealing choice for many organizations and power users. With careful planning and solid foundational hardware, it can be implemented successfully.
Implementing a Self-Hosted Infrastructure for Censorship Resistance
The self-hosted infrastructure outlined provides a strong foundation for building censorship-resistant connectivity that aligns with local laws:
Secure Encrypted Traffic Flow 🛡️
The pfSense router offers robust VPN capabilities for encrypting traffic between nodes.
VLANs isolate access to censorship circumvention tools.
Librem Mini servers run VPN clients to access global internet.
Failover and Redundancy ♻️
With multiple Librem Mini nodes, connectivity persists if one node goes down.
The pfSense router provides firewall failover capabilities.
Load balancing distributes traffic across nodes.
Following Just Laws 👮
Education, not illegal circumvention, is the goal.
Systems allow access to legal materials and tools only.
Valid takedown requests treated seriously per local laws.
Community standards enforced.
Empowering Local Voices 🗣️
Infrastructure run by local community members.
Nodes provide platform for sharing local content.
Systems designed to meet local needs and context.
Open and Transparent 🏛️
Free and open source software used throughout promotes transparency.
Community involvement in all aspects.
Public reports detail usage, requests received, content moderation policies.
By leveraging strong technology alongside fair policies and local control, this infrastructure promotes empowerment through information while respecting just laws. The result is censorship resistance that upholds ethics and community values.
Here are some ways the self-hosted infrastructure could be leveraged to also function as a payments processor:
Integrate Lightning Network Nodes
Run LND or c-lightning software on the Librem Mini servers to enable Lightning Network payments.
Use the high bandwidth capacity for fast payment channels.
VLAN isolation keeps payments communication secure.
Build a Local Exchange
Develop a web portal on the servers for buying/selling local currency using Lightning.
Allows fast, low-fee exchange between local currency and bitcoin.
pfSense router provides DDoS protection for the exchange.
Enable Merchant Payments
Provide an API and libraries for merchants to easily accept Lightning payments.
Low fees compared to traditional payment gateways.
Merchants can convert bitcoin to local currency via the exchange.
Focus On Usability
Create easy-to-use wallets and merchant apps with a focus on user experience.
Support local languages.
Integrate with any existing mobile money/payment apps.
By integrating Lightning and exchange functionality into the on-prem infrastructure, it could offer fast, low-cost payments tailored to local needs, while ensuring regulatory compliance.