The NETASQ U450 provides features including a firewall, IPS, VPN, SSL VPN, web content filtering, gateway anti-virus provided by the ClamAV engine, and gateway anti-spam, just like most UTMs we see. But we found an interesting feature that ties nicely into the IPS: This appliance does dynamic network vulnerability assessment as well.

Setup for this appliance is really divided into two steps: The first is easy and guided not by a wizard, but by a tutorial. This setup
tutorial is launched from the included CD and guides users through the steps to get initial access to the appliance's web GUI and to set the IP and network configurations. At the completion of the tutorial, we had to download the management software and install it. This is where things got a little more complicated. The management console and its applications are a little confusing and awkward to navigate at first.

We found creating policies to be difficult and not very intuitive through the management console. However, there are a few default IPS and firewall policies in place initially, so we were able to get a good understanding of policy options using those as starting points in the testing process.

This product did perform well and the near real-time monitoring application did give us clear and easy-to-read information about the attacks.

Documentation includes many PDF guides for both the management and monitoring console. While these guides are quite lengthy -- the management application administrator guide is almost 700 pages long  they are well-organized and provide a great amount of detail, including step-by-step instructions, screen shots and configuration examples.

NETASQ offers different levels of support, which offer varying access to phone and email support, as well as various warranty and upgrade options. We found nothing on the website that indicated an online support area.

At a price just under $6,300, we find the U450 to be an average value for the money. We found it had a few management weaknesses, and there is a slight learning curve with this appliance.