October 07, 2005
- Ease of Use:
- Value for Money:
- Overall Rating:
- Strengths: Wide range of high-quality security functions in one integrated box running a highly secure underlying OS.
- Weaknesses: The management console could be better, documentation was difficult to follow and setup was problematic.
- Verdict: A very capable device, despite the convoluted setup, but it requires a very high degree of technical ability to get it working to its full potential.
We had problems trying to access the management interface and failed to connect using the Java-based management software. An anti-spoofing function stops you unplugging network cables and then trying to plug them back into different interfaces. This means it took five minutes for the unit to reboot before trying reconfiguration, a process that turned out to be both time-consuming and frustrating.
The quick-start documentation only took us as far as setting up the direct cable connection, so we had to resort to the supplied PDF. Eventually, we did connect to the admin suite – which had to be installed on one of our network clients – and then found that the only way we could configure the device was via a direct Ethernet cable connection, all attempts to access the device over the network having failed. However, the vendor insists this is possible.
The administration console, which is not web-based, requires it own management console software to be installed on the administrator’s client. This means that it can only effectively be managed from a dedicated Windows PC, which is surprising as the actual device is based on FreeBSD, which is widely regarded as being one of the most secure operating systems in the world.
This console is tree-based and was one of the least user-friendly management toolkits in this group test. The Java-based interface claims to offer a simplified version of this management suite, but without the same extensive level of functionality. However, we were unable to confirm this as, despite lengthy attempts to fire up the Java interface, it failed to connect to the client device and never gave any indication as to why it was malfunctioning.
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