Conference Schedule - BSDCan 2023

Network Management with the OpenBSD Packet Filter Toolset - part 1

Date: 2023-05-18
Time: 09:00–12:00
Room: DMS 1120
Level: Intermediate

The OpenBSD Packet Filter (PF) is at the core of the network management toolset available to professionals working with the BSD family of operating systems.

Understanding the networking toolset is essential to building and maintaining a functional envirionment. The present session will both teach principles and provide opportunity for hands-on operation of the extensive network tools available on OpenBSD and sister operating systems in a lab environment. Basic to intermediate understanding of TCP/IP networking is expected and required for this session.

Topics covered include

   The basics of and network design and taking it a big further

   Building rulesets

   Keeping your configurations readable and maintainable

   Filtering, diversion, redirection, Network Address Translation

   Handling services that require proxying (ftp-proxy and others)

   Address tables and daemons that interact with your setup through them

   The whys and hows of network segmentation, DMZs and other separation techniques

   Tackling noisy attacks and other pattern recognition and learning tricks

   Annoying spammers with spamd

   Basics of and not-so basic traffic shaping

   Monitoring your traffic

   Resilience, High Availability with CARP and pfsync

   Troubleshooting: Discovering and correcting errors and faults

   Your network and its interactions with the Internet at large

   Common mistakes in internetworking and peering

   Keeping the old IPv4 world in touch with the new of IPv6

Time allowing and to the extent necessary, we will cover recent developments in the networking tools and variations between the implementations in the sister BSD operating systems.

Participants should bring a laptop for the hands on labs part and for note taking. The format of the session will be compact lectures interspersed with hands-on lab excercises based directly on the theory covered in the lecture parts.

This session is an evolutionary successor to previous sessions. Slides for previous PF tutorial sessions are up at, to be updated with the present version when the session opens.


The following slides have been made available for this session:


Massimiliano Stucchi
Peter N. M. Hansteen
Tom Smyth