Alcatel-Lucent VPN Firewall Brick
Strengths: Incredibly feature rich.
Weaknesses: Documentation is severely lacking.
Verdict: Lots of features with a stiff learning curve.
SummaryThe VPN Firewall Brick is a selective, but major upgrade over the stateful inspection firewall commonly deployed in the late 1990s. It is an appliance that offers many interfaces. The core of the Brick is a stateful inspection engine. This has been allowing administrators to more easily manage security for more than a decade.
In addition to the stateful inspection engine, the Brick boasts some of the top speeds for network firewall devices in the area of IPsec-based VPN connections. A unique feature we liked was the redundant power supply on both 1200 models.
In addition to centralized management provided with the Security Management Server (SMS) software package, SMS provides real-time monitoring, logging and reporting. The documentation states that SMS can have up to 100 administrators using SMS simultaneously. The tool has far too many features to list in the space allotted, but some of the highlights include: bridging and/or routing on all interfaces, all features supported with bridging, IP routing with static routes, 802.1Q VLAN tagging supporting inbound and outbound on any combination of ports, Layer 2 VLAN bridging, Network Address Translation (NAT), Port Address Translation (PAT), and policy-based NAT and PAT (per rule). Also, it supports virtual IP addresses for both address translation and VPN tunnel endpoints, and it offers PPPoE and DHCP-assignable interface/VLAN addresses.
Documentation for the Brick is brief at best. The quick-start guide takes users through the process of mounting the unit in a rack, plugging in the electrical cable and plugging in the network cables. From this point, the user is basically left to determine how to configure the tool.
Support is offered via phone, email and website. The first 90 days of software use is covered by warranty, and the hardware is covered for the first year. Premium support options range from a very reasonable $558-$1,033. This offers a myriad of options, but perhaps most important is the unit return. A new unit is shipped as soon as the call is made.
The VPN Firewall Brick is priced at $29,995, making it a mid-range priced solution.