SonicWALL NSA 240
Strengths: A big feature set and an easy-to-use interface.
Weaknesses: There might be a learning curve for SonicWALL newbies.
Verdict: A superior product, which offers a huge number of features for the price. This makes the NSA 240 the Recommended network firewall.
SummaryIf you've considered SonicWALL before and didn't take the plunge, now is the time. This offering is an appliance-based tool, which runs on a 1U rack-height device that is smaller than the standard rack width. Don't be fooled by its size, though - it crams a staggering number of features into such a small space.
The SonicWALL NSA 240 provides 10 Ethernet gigabit interfaces, which can be separately addressed and configured. Like most other products from the company, the NSA 240 is a stateful inspection firewall with additional security components. The traditional firewall controls are supplemented with an application level firewall, which delivers deep packet inspection.
The SonicWALL device also incorporates a logging feature. This can be used from the same web browser-based configuration session. Several reports can be generated from the same interface, including bandwidth usage by protocol, and also bandwidth usage by IP address. It also reports which websites are generating the most traffic.
The default firewall configuration blocks all incoming traffic, but allows all outgoing traffic. In addition, new firewall rules are about as easy as possible to set up, and will take little time for the administrator.
The installation of the appliance is straightforward and about as simple as can be. The unit ships with a hard copy of a getting started guide, which takes the user through the initial configuration and administration of the SonicWALL device. Additional documentation is available on an included CD.
Support is available at an additional charge. Eight hours a day/five days a week support is included for the first 90 days. After 90 days, the fee for support is $75 per incident. SonicWALL has phone, email and web support. The web support is a true knowledge base and proves to be quite practical.
Pricing for the SonicWALL NSA 240 is $1,195, which places it at the less expensive end of devices tested in this month's Group Test.