Cymphonix Network Composer
Strengths: Easy to deploy with many policy options.
Weaknesses: Slightly difficult to manage and could become expensive for large environments.
Verdict: A very comprehensive product, but can become expensive as web filters go.
SummaryThe Network Composer provides web filtering and bandwidth shaping for HTTP and encrypted SSL traffic based on URL pattern, domain or content category using database lookup and dynamic content analysis. Policy compliance is enhanced using filter avoidance protection for port hopping and anonymous proxy blocking. This product also provides file type download and application control including peer-to-peer, update services, IM and streaming media.
This product installs quickly and setup is guided by an easy to follow setup wizard. This wizard not only assists in customizing the device for the environment, but also gathers and installs all updates at its completion. After setup is complete, management is done through the web interface.
This tool can integrate with the already existing Active Directory (AD), E-Directory and LDAP user databases for policy creation and management. This provides easy plug-in to the environment without having to create new groups or users. However, the integration with AD requires an extra step of deploying an agent onto the domain controller, which could be a problem in some environments.
Documentation includes a paper quick-start guide and a PDF user guide. The quick-start guide outlines network placement of the device and a short section on getting to the setup wizard. The user guide provides a much higher level of detail, including more explicit installation and setup instructions.
Cymphonix offers one year of hardware and software maintenance included with purchase. This includes phone and email support, as well as advance hardware replacement. Support is provided 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mountain Time, five days a week with 24-hour maximum response time on email support. There is also a support area on the website, which offers free access to a knowledge base and product downloads.
At a price of about $1,520 for the smallest device and 25 users, with price ranges up to 200Mbps and 50,000 users, this product is an average value for the money. We find that it does have some nice features, but it could become quite pricey as a web content manager for larger installations.