This device incorporatesseveral features in one box.It has real flexibility, withfully adjustable and customisablepolicies, port configuration, andmanagement screens. It also offersseveral different report types,which make finding clear informationabout attacks or networkactivity easy. Reports can also becreated according to a scheduleset by an administrator and savedon the device for review later.

The appliance is very simple todeploy, set up and use. This is asingle unit containing everythingneeded to protect a network. Itsits inline between the router andfirewall. After a quick configuration,the unit is up and running,instantly protecting the network.

The web interface is very simpleto navigate, with a dashboard ofreal-time network activity on themain page. Through the wellorganisedweb interface, anadministrator can find easy accessto reporting engines and policyadjustment. Although not muchconfiguration is necessary, if apolicy needs to be changed oradjusted, the manuals make this aquick and easy task.

We found the IPS 5500 to be astrong box under pressure. Itremained solid under almost allour testing parameters. However,when it was under extreme attack,the box would overload and makethe web interface freeze and themanagement computer wouldhave to be rebooted. We wereable to bypass the appliance usingCore Impact and penetrate theprotected network.

The device comes with manydifferent types of manuals anddocumentation, as well as a verysimple-to-use quickstart guidethat claims the product can be upand running smoothly in about 30minutes, which we found to bejust about right.

If any questions do arise duringdeployment and setup, there arereferences to different guidesincluded in the quickstart manual.All documentation is very clearand concise, with very usefuldiagrams and topologies included.

This device has many types ofsupport. Top Layer has a standardsupport centre that can bereached between 8am and 8pm(EST) by telephone. However,there is an option to upgradesupport by joining their WebIntegrated Support Environment(WISE) that provides not onlyonline support, but also 24-7telephone support.

The device comes with a prettyserious price tag. However, for amedium to large-sized network, itis a good buy. We found thatbecause of the ease of use anddeployment, this device actuallywill save money by not requiringextensive care and management.