The Services Menu

New in version 6.0.3: High Availability

The Connect Switchboard includes many useful services to prevent threats and to configure the networks and the running daemons, whose activation and set up is explained in this section. Among them there are the DHCP server for internal zones, the intrusion detection system, and the brand new Collector service, useful to monitor devices behind the Connect Switchboard and gather big data to be used for Analytics purposes. The available services appear as items in the sub-menu list on the left-hand side of the screen.

  • DHCP server–DHCP server for automatic IP assignment

  • Dynamic DNS - Client for dynamic DNS providers such as DynDNS (for home / small office use)

  • Time server–enable and configure the NTP time server, set the time zone, or update the time manually

  • Intrusion Prevention System–configuration of the IPS snort

  • SNMP Server–enable or disable support for the Simple Network Management Protocol

  • Quality of Service–IP traffic prioritisation

  • High availability–create a cluster of Connect Switchboard in redundancy mode

DHCP server

The DHCP server is used by the clients (both workstations and servers) in the zones controlled by the Connect Switchboard to receive an IP address (called lease), either dynamic or a fixed lease, and communicate with other local and remote devices.

The DHCP server configuration consists of three pages, namely Server configuration, Fixed leases, and Dynamic leases.

Server configuration

The DHCP server on an Connect Switchboard can be enabled on each active zone independently. For each of the zones enabled on the Connect Switchboard, this page show one checkbox, hence at least the Enable DHCP server on GREEN interface option appears. There are corresponding checkboxes for the ORANGE and BLUE zone if they are activated.

At the bottom of the page, there is a textfield, labelled Custom configuration lines, that can be used by advanced users to write custom configuration lines to be added to the dhcpd.conf file (e.g., custom routes to subnets), like this example shows.


The custom configuration lines must adhere to the syntax of the /etc/dhcpd.conf file–check the manual page dhcpd.conf (5) or see it online at, since they are not checked for errors and are inserted verbatim in the configuration file. Any typo or mistake might prevent the DHCP server from starting correctly!

To customise the DHCP parameter for each zone, tick the respective checkbox. A panel labelled Settings will appear: click on it to show the available options.



In this dropdown you can select whether you wish to configure the selected zone as a DHCP Server or Relay

DHCP Server

Start address, End address

The range of IP addresses to be supplied to the clients. These addresses have to be within the subnet that has been assigned to the corresponding zone. If these two fields are left blank, the whole IP range of the zone will be used to assign dynamic leases.


If some hosts should receive a fixed lease, (see below), make sure their IP addresses are included neither in this range nor in the range of the OpenVPN address pool (see Menubar ‣ VPN ‣ OpenVPN server) to avoid conflicts.

Allow only fixed leases

Tick this checkbox to use fixed leases only. No dynamic lease will be assigned.

Treat infinite leases as reserved

Tick this checkbox and the server will automatically reserve leases allocated to clients which requested an infinite lease-time.

Default lease time, Max lease time

The default and the maximum time in minutes before the assignment of each lease expires and the client requests a new lease from the DHCP server.

Domain name suffix

The default domain name suffix that is passed to the clients and that will be used for local domain searches.

Default Gateway

The default gateway that the clients in the zone will used. If left blank, the default gateway is the Connect Switchboard itself.

Primary DNS, Secondary DNS

The DNS used by the clients. Since the Connect Switchboard contains a caching DNS server, the default value is the firewall’s own IP address in the respective zone, though a second server or even the primary value can be changed.

Primary NTP server, Secondary NTP server

The NTP servers used by the clients, to keep the clocks synchronised. Leave blank to use the Connect Switchboard's default NTP server.

Primary WINS server address, Secondary WINS server address

The WINS servers used by the clients. This option is only needed for the Microsoft Windows networks that use WINS.

Once done, click on the Save button at the bottom of the page, then on the Apply button in the green callout that will appear to restart the DHCPD server with the new configuration.

DHCP Relay

Relay server zone

Here you can select the zone which you wish to configure as a DHCP relay.

Relay address

Enter the IP address to relay (forward) the DHCP requests received on the configured zone.

Append agent option fields

Append an agent option field to each request before forwarding it to the server. Agent option fields in responses sent from servers to clients will be stripped before forwarding such responses back to the client.

Fixed leases

It is sometimes necessary or desirable for certain devices to always use the same IP address while still using DHCP, for example servers that provide a service (like, e.g., a VPN server or a code repository) or devices like printers or scanners.

A fixed lease is also called Static IP Address, since a device will always receive the same IP address when requesting a lease from the DHCP server.

This page contains the list of all the fixed leases defined in the local networks, providing several information about that lease: The device’s MAC Address and the assigned IP address, a remark, and the available actions.

By clicking on the Add a fixed lease button, a static IP address can be assigned to a device. The devices are identified by their MAC addresses.


Assigning a fixed lease from the DHCP server is very different from setting up the IP address manually on a (client) device. Indeed, in the latter case, the device will still contact the DHCP server to receive its address and to announce its presence on the network. When the IP address required by the device has already been assigned, however, a dynamic lease will be given to the device.

The following parameters can be set for fixed leases:

MAC address

The client’s MAC address.

IP address

The IP address that will always be assigned to the client.


An optional description of the device receiving the lease.

Advanced options

In this panel appear three additional options.

Next address

The address of the TFTP server. This and the next two options are useful only in a few cases (see below for an example).


The boot image file name. Option needed only for thin clients or network boot.

Root path

The path of the boot image file.


If this checkbox is not ticked, the fixed lease will be stored but not written down to the file dhcpd.conf.

A use case for a fixed lease.

A use case that shows the usefulness of a fixed lease is the case of thin clients or disk-less workstations on the network that use PXE, i.e., boot the operating system from an image supplied by a networked tftp server. If the tftp server is hosted on the same server with the DHCP, the thin client receives both the lease and the image from the same server. More often, however, the tftp server is hosted on another server on the network, hence the client must be redirected to this server by the DHCP server, an operation that can be done easily adding a fixed lease on the DHCP server for the thin client, adding a next-address and the filename of the image to boot.


All leases assigned by the DHCP server are stored by default in the /var/lib/dhcp/dhcpd.leases file. Although the DHCP daemon takes care of cleaning that file, it may happen that the file stores leases that have already been expired and are quite old. This is not a problem and does not interfere with the normal DHCP server working. A typical entry in that file is:

lease {
starts 2 2019/06/11 13:00:21;
ends 5 2019/06/14 01:00:21;
binding state active;
next binding state free;
hardware ethernet 00:14:22:b1:09:9b;

Dynamic leases

After the DHCP server has been activated, and at least one client has received a (dynamic) IP address, the table in this page will feature the list of the clients, with these additional information: assigned dynamic IP addresses, the MAC address of the connecting device and its hostname, the expiry date and time, and the status, which can be either expired or active.

Dynamic DNS

A DNS server provides a service that allows to resolve the (numeric) IP address of a host, given its hostname, and vice-versa, and works perfectly for hosts with fixed IP address and hostname.

DDNS providers, like DynDNS or no-IP, offer a similar service when the IP addresses is dynamic, which is normally the case when using residential ADSL connections: Any domain name can be registered and associated to a server with a dynamic IP address, which communicates any IP address change to the DDNS provider. To be compatible and to integrate with the root DNS servers, each time IP address changes, the update must then be actively propagated from the DDNS provider.

The Connect Switchboard includes a dynamic DNS client for 33 different providers and if enabled, it will automatically connect to the dynamic DNS provider to communicate the new IP address whenever it changes.


If no dynamic DNS account has been set up, detailed instruction to register a new one, detailed online helps and howtos are available on the web site of the providers.

New accounts can be created by clicking on the Add provider link, providing the following parameters:


Tick this checkbox to enable the account, which is the default.


The drop-down menu shows the available DDNS providers.

Hostname and Domain

The hostname and domain as registered with the DDNS provider, for instance “example” and “”

Username and Password

The credentials given from dynamic DNS provider to access the service.


The dynamic DNS provider only resolves the domain name and not the associated services. If some service must be accessed from the Internet to the Connect Switchboard or to some host behind the Connect Switchboard, it is necessary to set up some port forwarding rules (see Menubar ‣ Firewall ‣ Port forwarding / NAT).

After making a change in the configuration, click on the Apply now button to apply the change to the appliance.

If necessary to remove a DDNS account, you can simply click on the trash icon on the right side of the corresponding entry.

Time server

The Connect Switchboard uses NTP to keep its system time synchronised with time servers on the Internet. There is only one settings, displayed in the Network time server panel.

Network time server

A number of time server hosts on the Internet are preconfigured and used by the system, along with the time zone. Available options are the following.

Override default NTP servers

Tick the checkbox to replace the default NTP servers. This might prove necessary when running a setup that does not allow the Connect Switchboard to reach the Internet. Several time servers addresses can be supplied, one per line, in the small form that will show up; each of them will be written in the configuration file, as value of the server option. For better performance, at least two time server should be provided here.


Each custom time server can be written as a hostname or IP address. Entries can be also vendor-specific, like e.g.,


If for some reasons the Connect Switchboard's clock is not synchronised anymore with the NTP servers and the difference between them is high, there is the chance that a manual synchronisation be necessary. This can be done either by clicking on the Synchronize now button, or in the Localization options, under the System Settings (System ‣ Settings ‣ Localization), by manually entering the correct time and date.


The Connect Switchboard includes the well known Intrusion Detection (IDS) and Prevention (IPS) system snort, which can identify advanced threats using deep-packet inspection technology to analyze network packets.


If snort is not active, a grey switch Disabled appears on the page and can be clicked on to start the service. After a short interval, the page will contain some options to configure the service.

Intrusion Prevention System settings

This panel allows to define the automatic download and installation of the snort rules.

Operation mode

Here you can toggle the operating mode between IDS mode or IPS mode.

  • IDS. In this mode, the Connect Switchboard will inspect traffic in passive mode in order to maximize throughput and minimize traffic disruptions. When this option is selected, you will see the following option:

Zones where IDS will be enabled

Here you can select the internal network zones which are enabled and active within the Connect Switchboard for which you want to activate the IDS inspection

  • IPS. In this mode, the Connect Switchboard will inspect traffic inline in order to provide maximum security at the expense of decreased throughput. This mode provides the capability to instantly block traffic for any IPS enabled signatures. When using this mode, a user must enable IPS inspection within the various components of the firewall for each rule required.

Automatically fetch SNORT Rules

Ticking this box will let the Connect Switchboard automatically download the snort rules from the Endian Network.


If the Connect Switchboard is not registered, or its maintenance has expired, rules are not downloaded anymore. An informative message is also shown at the bottom of the page.

SNORT rules update schedule

The frequency of download of the rules: A drop-down menu allows to choose one of the Hourly, Daily, Weekly, or Monthly options. This option appears only if the previous option has been activated.

Rules last updated

An informative message about the last time rules have been manually downloaded, like for example: 2019-08-01 10:48:31

Update rules now

By clicking on this button, the signatures for the IPS service will be immediately downloaded from the web site.

SNORT rules

Pick one file from the file selection window that opens upon clicking the button next to this label.

Upload custom rules

Click on this button to upload the file and use it with snort.


The list of rulesets that are stored on the Connect Switchboard appears in this page, along with the number of rules they contain and the actions that can be done on them.

It is possible to edit each ruleset independently, by clicking on the icon in the rightmost column, Actions, but when at least one ruleset is selected, atop the table a few buttons will appear, allowing to carry out bulk actions on all the selected rulesets at once. On the right-hand side of the button, a number in a green circle shows how many rulesets are currently selected: Click on it to select all (including those in other pages) or none of the datasets.

The rule policies in snort.

By default, the policy for all the rulesets is set to alert, shown by the passlog icon. This means that whenever a flow of traffic will match the corresponding rule or ruleset, the traffic will be allowed to pass and the intrusion attempt will be logged.

This behaviour can be changed by clicking on the alert icon to toggle the policy into block, shown by the icon blocklog, with the result that the intrusion attempt will be blocked, but no message will be recorded in the log files.

After a policy of a rule or of a whole ruleset has been changed, it is necessary to click on the Apply button, for the changes to be applied.

After clicking on the Edit button, the list of the rules included in the selected ruleset(s) is shown, which can be narrowed down by entering some terms in the text box next to the Search label. To go back to the previous page, click on the Back to rules link on the top left corner of the table.


Turning on the IPS only implies that snort is running, but not that it is already used to filter the traffic. Indeed, the IPS is used only on those firewall rules, defined in the various Firewall configuration pages, that are configured with the Allow with IPS Filter policy .

See also

The Firewall Menu

Menubar ‣ Firewall

A visual, step-by-step tutorial to set up IPS.

SNMP Server

The SNMP is used to monitor network-attached devices, and can be used e.g., to control the status of the internal infrastructure.

To enable the SNMP Server is sufficient to click on the Disabled grey switch. Once done so, a few options will appear in the Settings panel.


Community String

A key that is needed to read the data with an SNMP client.


An identification string that can be set to anything, but it is suggested that it describe the location of the Connect Switchboard.

Override global notification email address

The SNMP Server requires to configure an e-mail address as the system contact, and the global e-mail address provided during the installation procedure is used by default. In order to use a custom e-mail address, tick the checkbox to activate the next option.

System contact email address

Write the e-mail address of the administrator to be contacted.

Quality of Service

The purpose of the QoS module is to prioritise the IP traffic that is flowing through the Connect Switchboard depending on the service. In other words, the QoS is a convenient way to reserve a given amount of the available bandwidth (both incoming and outgoing) for a given service. Applications that typically need to be prioritised over bulk traffic are interactive services such as SSH or VoIP.


The Device item is also the starting page for the QoS and is initially empty. Once populated, a table showing a list of all the Quality of Service devices appears and for each device, some parameters and the available actions are displayed.

New QoS devices can be added by clicking on the Add Quality of Service Device link above the list and by configuring a few options.

Target Device

The network interface that will be used by this device. Choices are among the existent network interfaces, the zones enabled on the system, the uplinks, and the OpenVPN tunnels if defined, and can be selected from a drop-down menu.

Downstream Bandwidth (kbit/s)

The downstream speed of the interface.

Upstream Bandwidth (kbit/s)

The upstream speed of the interface.


Enable the QoS (default) or not.

When editing a device, the same form opens as when adding a new device, in which to modify the current device’s parameters.

For every device added, four items will appear under the Classes page: Three for high, medium, and low priority, respectively, and one for bulk traffic (see below).


This page shows a list of all Quality of Service classes that have been created, if any. For each entry, several data are shown. New items can be added by clicking on the Add Quality of Service Class link above the list of classes. The parameters to configure are the same shown in the list:


The name of the Quality of Service class.


The drop down menu allows to choose the Quality of Service device for which the class was created.


At least one QoS device must have been created before defining a QoS class.


The amount of bandwidth that has been reserved for this class from the device’s overall available bandwidth, either in percentage or in kilobit per second.


The maximum amount of bandwidth this class may use, either in percentage or in kilobit per second.


The priority of the class, from 0 (low) to 10 (high), selected from a dropdown menu


The sum of reserved percentages can not be greater than 100 per device. Moreover, the reserved bandwidth can not be higher than the limit bandwidth.

Classes can be moved up or down the list: Items closer to the top of the list are the first to be processed when the bandwidth does not suffice for all the traffic and the Connect Switchboard needs to choose which traffic should be prioritised.


The third page displays a list of the already defined Quality of Service Rules and allows to specify which type of traffic should belong to each of the classes. To add a new Quality of Service rule click on the Add Quality of Service Rule link. In the form that will open, which is very similar to the one used to define firewall rules, several values should be configured. Many drop-down menus are employed here to ease the choices and guide through the configuration.


Choose from the drop-down menu the traffic source, either a Zone or interface, a network, an IP or MAC address. Depending on this choice, different values can be specified: A zone or interface from the available ones from those that will be displayed, or one or more IP addresses, networks, or MAC addresses.

Destination Device/Traffic Class

Choose the destination device or traffic class from the drop-down menu.

Destination Network/IP

Write in the text area the target network or IP addresses, which must be reachable from the device or traffic class chosen in the previous option.

Service/Port, Protocol

These two drop-down menus are used to define the service, protocol, and destination port for the rule (when choosing one of TCP, UDP, or TCP + UDP protocols). Some predefined combinations Service/Protocol/Port exists, like HTTP/TCP/80, <ALL>/TCP+UDP/0:65535, or <ANY>, which is a shortcut for all services, protocols, and ports. Finally, in the Destination port, one or more custom port number can be supplied (this proves useful when some service does not run on a standard port).


Choose from the drop-down menu which tag to use to mark the traffic: a TOS flag, a DSCP class or a DSCP value. Depending on the choice, one of the following options will appear, unless <ANY> is chosen.

Match Traffic with the following TOS [DSCP] flag

By choosing TOS or DSCP class in the previous drop-down menu allows to choose a suitable value for the traffic to match from another drop-down menu.

DSCP Value

This field appears only when DSCP value is chosen in the Type option above. It allows to enter a custom value for DSCP, that will be used to fire the rule when matched.


Tick the checkbox to enable the rule.


A comment to identify the rule.


If there is more than one service in a same Quality of Service class, they will share the reserved bandwidth.


The fourth page is different from the others as it is used to classify and prioritise traffic. In other words, the traffic can be marked or tagged to allow external devices to handle it accordingly. This is particularly useful in a scenario with limited bandwidth and the uplink device, e.g., a modem, can only prioritise traffic based on TOS or DSCP flags in the packets. When clicking on the Add new Rule link the editor opens, which is similar to the one under the Rules page. These are the available options:



Choose from the drop-down menu the traffic source, either a Zone or interface, a network or an IP, or a MAC address. Depending on this choice, different values can be specified: A zone or interface from the available ones from those that will be displayed, or one or more IP addresses, networks, or MAC addresses. The default value is <ANY>, meaning the rule will be applied to all traffic.



Choose from the drop-down menu the traffic destination, either a Zone or interface, a network or an IP. Depending on this choice, different values can be specified: A zone or interface from the available ones from those that will be displayed, or one or more IP addresses or networks.



The service that the rule should match.


User defined permits to specify a custom protocol and the ports to block, an option that proves useful when running services on ports different from the standard ones.


The type of traffic that is interested by the rule: TCP, UDP, TCP+UDP, ESP, GRE, and ICMP. TCP and UDP are the most used, GRE is used by tunnels, ESP by IPsec, and ICMP by the ping and traceroute commands.

Destination port

The destination port for the rule.


There exist dozens predefined services that can be chosen from the drop-down menus and should suffice to cover the most use cases. An user defined combination of port and protocol should be used only if a service is not running on a standard port (e.g., the SSH server listens to port 2345 or the web server runs on port 7981) or if a service, not included in the list, is using a particular port.



Choose from the drop-down menu which tag to use to mark the traffic: a TOS flag, a DSCP class or a DSCP value. Depending on the choice, one of the following three options will appear.

Tag traffic with the following TOS flag

This dropdown appears only when TOS is chosen in the Type option above. It allows to define the TOS flag that will be set in all matching packets.

Tag traffic with the following DSCP class

This dropdown appears when choosing DSCP Class in the Type option above. It allows to define the DSCP class that will be set in all matching packets.

Tag traffic with the following DSCP value

This field appears only when DSCP value is chosen in the Type option above. It allows to enter a custom value for DSCP, that will be set in all matching packets.


Tick the checkbox to enable the rule.


A comment to identify the rule.

High Availability

Changed in version 6.0: Complete reimplementation of HA.

The HA system on Connect Switchboard was completely rewritten in 6.0 version; this implementation presents several improvements compared to the HA installed on previous versions. Technical details and a summary of differences and improvements are described in the dedicated box below.


In order to set up a HA cluster, it is necessary that all the nodes in the cluster are the same platform, hardware or software, and are equipped with the same software Minor Version. For example, if the cluster is created on a 6.0.3 Switchboard virtual, additional nodes can be added only if they are Switchboard virtual with version 6.0.3 installed.


To make sure that the nodes also have the same packages installed, carry out an update of both appliances before creating the cluster.

HA implementation in 6.0

Recap: HA in 5.0

In 5.2 and previous versions, whenever the master had a hardware or connectivity problem, the slave immediately took over all the duties and assumed the role of master, until the original master would again become available and regain its role. This approach however had some limits, that the new HA overcomes:

  • the Slave could only temporary take over the Master duties, hence there was a downtime each time a transitions took place

  • data synchronisation was one-directional, from the Master to the Slave only

  • therefore, no change in configuration was possible during the Master unavailability, as the Slave had no means to send any change in configuration to the Master when it came back online

HA in 6.0

The underlying technology of HA is still composed of keepealived, the VRRP protocol, and the management network, which defaults at, and is used to keep nodes synchronised.

In the 6.0, the most significant and visible changes are:

  • there are no Master and Slave nodes, but there is a Master role that can be played by one node at a time and a Slave role, that can be played by one or two nodes

  • all nodes in the HA cluster are kept synchronised

  • there is no takeover by the original master to get its status back, but it joins cluster as a secondary (slave) node

  • all configuration, including join and removal of nodes, are executed on the Master node

The immediate consequence is that if the node playing the master goes offline, the slave node will immediately become Master, but it keeps its Master status, unless it goes offline, and when the ‘original’ Master becomes again available, it joins the cluster as Slave and starts synchronising. This also means that it is possible to change configuration at any time, since the Master is always online. Moreover, the Slave node can not be reached anymore, except by using the serial console.

Downtime and possible data and configuration losses are also minimised, as only a small fraction of time is needed for the take over of the slave, and the only case where significant downtime can happen is when both nodes experience problems.

Three nodes HA cluster

Downtime can be virtually eliminated when in the cluster a third node is added, which is now supported. In such a scenario, the concept of priority is introduced and associated to each node (default values are 90 for the active, 50 and 10 for the passive nodes). When the active node leaves the cluster, the node with the higher priority becomes the master. When the node rejoins the cluster, all nodes are checked for their synchronisation status with the current Master and, if they are, they receive a “bonus” that raises their priority. In this scenario, downtime and data loss can take place only in case two nodes are offline and the third is out of sync.

Node Removal and Deletion of a HA Cluster

At any time a secondary node can be removed from the cluster, by simply deleting it from the GUI; the active node can be removed only if it is the last node in the cluster.


Whenever a node is removed from the cluster, the cluster’s configuration on the node will be deleted and the appliance is restored to factory settings.

When a cluster has not yet been created, the following options are available.


To accept the default values supplied, simply click on the Create HA Cluster button.

Network address

Write in this textbox the Network address used for HA management.

Network mask

Select the network mask from the drop-down menu.

Network interface

Choose the interface that will serve for the HA management network.

After the cluster has been created, a few boxes appear towards the bottom of the page: one for each node of the cluster, which contain information about the nodes that compose the cluster:

  • The progressive number of the node (up to three)

  • The node’s IP address. The node on which the cluster is created will always end with the IP address .1, while each added node will have an incremental IP address.

  • The status: healthy and online means the node is reachable and synchronised

  • Role: Master or Slave

  • Version of the software

An additional box allows to add a node to the cluster. The following data are required:

Node IP

The IP address of the new node.

SSH password

The SSH password of the new node’s root user.

A few moments after the join process is started, a message on top of the page either confirms that the operation was successful, or explains what was gone wrong.

It is also possible to remove one slave node at the time from the cluster, by clicking on the Remove button.


The Master can be removed only if it is the last node in the cluster.

A dialog window will open to ask for confirmation and to present one more option:

Advanced options

Remove node even if not reachable

Force removal of the node even if it can not currently be reached.


It is suggested to not remove an unreachable node, because its removal process only remove it from the cluster, but not wipe its configuration. Therefore, as soon as it comes back online it starts contacting the other nodes, and this might lead to the HA cluster disruption.

Remember that a node removed from the cluster will be restored to factory defaults.