NETASQ F800 UTM Appliance
Strengths: All-in-one very functional network security solution.
Weaknesses: Difficult to administrate, limited support.
Verdict: Fully functional, multi-function appliance with a disorganised frontend. Features work well together, but policy management and configuration were not an easy task.
The NETASQ F800 appears to have a simple setup, but configuration was another story. After going through a setup procedure that involves changing IP addresses of its interfaces and the management computer, the appliance then has to be licenced.
We found that it can be difficult to reconfigure the interfaces to get it online, so we tried to obtain a licence and import it from a file. This was confusing, as it requires you to register and download the licence files and the site is not at all clear on how to do this. After all that, we found that the different management consoles were awkward to navigate.
The F800 combines essential network protection tools such as firewall, VPN, AV, anti-spam, and web filtering. Admin, management and reporting are done through a suite of three different programs – Firewall Manager, Firewall Monitor, and Firewall Reporter – but this relegates administration into a process of flipping through windows trying to locate information or policy management.
We found documentation for this product to be well laid-out and easy to understand. The quickstart guide is straightforward and explains in good detail the setup of the appliance to get it online, although our version had view descriptions with the port details for all NETASQ firewalls except the 800. This was not very helpful, but the initial setup turns out to be the same for all models, making the omission little more than an inconvenience. All other documentation is in easy-search, easy-to-navigate PDF format.
This product needs support, but that is not always easy to get. Online help is sparse, with no online forum, and product literature only available on the website.
NETASQ suggests that support might be obtained most efficiently from its resellers rather than from itself. There is a premium support program available at extra cost, offering NBD hardware replacement.
While the F800 offers a lot of features for the price, it is not as easy to use as many others in this category. And it is quite expensive, considering the limited support available, so is average value for money.