WatchGuard presented us with a fire-engine red rack mountable unit featuring an LCD display for status messages, and a wealth of well-presented documentation.
The Firebox is available in a number of models, but all ship with the same base unit – which means you can upgrade your model or add extra security features or services through the purchase of additional license keys.
You can choose to either install the Firebox in a routed configuration or a drop-in configuration, both of which include setting up external and trusted interface connections and selecting a Windows-based management station PC that is connected by Ethernet to the trusted port and by serial cable to the serial port.
From the management station, which has the WatchGuard software installed, we then ran the setup wizard, which establishes the appliance as a basic firewall. While initially the Firebox is managed over an Ethernet connection for setup, you can also manage it remotely via a modem.
The management console uses a familiar Windows tree, while policies are managed via a series of icons allowing you to manage DNS settings and filter HTTP traffic, and so on. The layered security engine of the device allows for integrated intrusion detection and prevention, including default packet handling and functionality to block sites and ports. It also allows you to set up HTTP proxy, SMTP proxy and user authentication. The appliance also comes with dynamic Network Address Translation enabled by default to help protect the internal structure of the network.
A VPN manager license, which comes bundled with the device, enables you to manage up to four branch office secure tunnels, but obviously this requires the installation of numerous Fireboxes at the desired locations.
As well as real-time traffic monitoring, the Firebox also allows you to view and filter files through a log viewer or generated reports.