SmoothWall breaks its attributes down into four feature sets. These sets include firewall, VPN, email security and web security. Included in email security are features, such as anti-spam, anti-virus and mail relay and control. Web security encompasses web content filtering, anti-virus, anti-spyware and browser exploit detection.
We found this product to be reasonably simple to use. There was no initial set-up wizard, so deployment is guided by the quick start guide. While the steps are short, it would have been easier to have a wizard. The webGUI for this device is typical. Areas can be accessed either by using a drop menu or using the links across the top.
This device comes out of the box 99 percent unconfigured. We found managing and setting up the device to be quite a task. While this allows for full customization of options, it also allows for a higher possibility of human error (which could leave the network vulnerable).
This product includes a getting started guide and an admin guide. The getting started guide lays out a few steps to get the product up on the network and running. The admin guide goes into deep detail about configuring and managing the device. The admin guide is well organized and effectively illustrates configuration of the device components. It also includes many screenshots and step-by-step procedures in a clear and organized manner.
Support contracts from SmoothWall provide telephone and email support, software updates and major new versions, with the option for next business day hardware advance replacement. In addition, SmoothWall reseller partners can provide on-site installation, support and consultancy services.
The SmoothGuard is priced at $5,000. It does offer a fair bit of functionality for the price; however, we found this product to be somewhat difficult to set up and manage. That, of course, affects the overall cost of ownership, which may reduce the value somewhat. Additionally, the appliance supports up to 1,000 workstations per appliance. Thus, for very large deployments, it is necessary to implement additional appliances.