eSoft InstaGate 604
Strengths: Feature-rich with a low cost
Weaknesses: Nothing that we found
Verdict: For its rich feature set and excellent pricing, we make this our Best Buy
The InstaGate 604 from eSoft is an appliance we have seen come back year after year with an array of great features and functionality at a reasonable cost. It offers a stateful firewall with deep packet inspection capabilities, proxy-based scanning, real-time threat monitoring, scanning of both web and email for worms and viruses, and protection from bots and other network attacks.
This product can be loaded with functionality by using specific SoftPaks made available from eSoft, allowing for complete customisation of features and services.
We found the InstaGate 604 is about as plug and play as a network security appliance can get. The initial setup process takes just a few minutes and the appliance is pretty much up and protecting the network with just a few clicks of the mouse.
To begin the setup, we plugged the InstaGate into our network so it could grab a dynamic host configuration protocol (DHCP)-assigned address. Once it had an address, we were able to access the web-based setup wizard through a web browser. This helped us get a base configuration in place, as well as download and update the SoftPaks that were registered to the appliance. After this was complete, we were able to access the web-based management console for all further administration and management.
We continue to find this appliance to be one of the easiest appliances to configure, use and manage. On the policy and management side, most configurations are as simple as on or off, but that does not mean this product lacks flexibility or granularity. It can be easily configured for a multitude of environments. It also features a solid dashboard that is centred around the ThreatMonitor, which shows real-time reporting of events and traffic, with clear charts and graphs that are easy to read even at a quick glance.
Documentation included a short quick-start guide that detailed the initial setup process, as well as a full user guide that provided many screenshots and step-by-step instructions on device and feature configuration and overall device management procedures. All documentation was well organised and easy to follow.
ESoft offers 90 days of no-cost phone support to help get the appliance up and running. After this, customers can purchase phone support on a per incident basis or as a yearly subscription for unlimited 24/7 assistance. Also available is a plan that includes unlimited phone support, hardware care, software updates and a hot swap service. All customers can also access a web-based help area that includes product documentation and a knowledgebase.
At a price of c£1,315, we find this product to be excellent value for the money. ESoft InstaGate 604 is powerful enough to protect some of the larger environments with an impressive feature set, but it has a price tag that even small environments can easily handle.