SonicWALL SSL-VPN 4000
Strengths: Easy for users once to use once the unit is configured.
Weaknesses: The web interface can be a bit confusing for first time SonicWALL users.
Verdict: A good product, which is above average on the whole.
SummaryThe SonicWALL SSL-VPN 4000 is an appliance-based offering that uses a browser-based client known as NetExtender. The NetExtender client allows all applications to be passed through the SSL-VPN tunnel. The client appears to work only in the Windows environment because it returned an error on each Mac OS machine that tried to use the software. On a Windows system the client is installed as a Firefox extension, which then runs in the system tray. Once the application is running, the browser can be closed and the client remains connected. The SonicWALL SSL-VPN 4000 mirrors an IPsec-based VPN in terms of feel and the only difference is the protocol used by the client to connect.
The installation of the SSL-VPN 4000 appliance was very easy. The entire configuration takes place via a web browser. The interface layout is acceptable and many of the common configuration steps require a little bit of familiarity with the SonicWALL web interface. If you have used a SonicWALL device before, the interface is very similar to that of other SonicWALL products. We were able to configure and log into the SSL-VPN session in less than 30 minutes.
The SSL-VPN 4000 comes with a printed getting started guide, which is very well put together. The guide walks the administrator through several configuration scenarios depending on the placement of the SSL-VPN 4000 in the enterprise’s infrastructure. Common configurations include installing on a firewall’s existing DMZ interface, a new DMZ interface or a LAN interface. Additional documentation is in the form of PDFs included on a CD with the SSL-VPN 4000.
Support is offered through phone and through a support web portal. Ninety days of SonicWALL Dynamic 8x5 support, one year hardware warranty and one year of software and firmware updates are included in the purchase price of the unit. Additional support for 8x5 can be purchased for one, two and three years. 24/7 support is also available for purchase.
The pricing for the SSL-VPN 4000 is $6,995, which places the unit in the middle of the spectrum of products tested. Considering the features offered, the SSL-VPN 4000 is an average value.