Strengths: Good range of security functions; easy to use and configure; and an extremely user-friendly setup process.
Weaknesses: Some functional elements only available as optional extras and even then not fully integrated into the wizard-based management and setup.
Verdict: Well-specified and robust with an easy-to-use wizard-based setup and management tools.
The device has a flexible port configuration, including two 10/100/1000 tri-speed Ethernet interfaces, four usable-definable 10/100 Ethernet ports for redundant WAN links and an integral four port switch allowing direct connectivity with the unit.
Comprehensive documentation includes a detailed quickstart guide, and two CDs loaded with in-depth PDF-based guides.
The device can be configured via our old favorite, the serial cable, a user-friendly web-based interface, or the control buttons and LCDs on the front.
We opted for the web-based console which is quickly accessed over a secure https connection once the management PC had been configured to the same subnet as the default setting.
We then fired up a complicated console based around drop-down menus, but had to decide whether to implement the firewall in NAT routing mode or transparent mode – depending on whether it was on a private or public-facing network. On our private network we selected transparent mode and then had to change the IP of the management PC to 10.10.10.2 – the IP assigned for this mode. We were then prompted to reset the admin default password.
The Wizard-based configuration is impressive, with a basic, easy-to-understand set of security options (off, medium and high) for the firewall and AV functions. The control panel also features a comprehensive logging and reporting option.
Selecting one of the default levels sets up well thought-out pre-defined configurations for most of the features, but not the optional anti-spam and web filter modules.