Nortel VPN Gateway 3050
Strengths: Various security and authentication options. Can be tightly integrated into data centre operations
Weaknesses: Awkward web interface, limited feature set and difficult to administrate
Verdict: This is an awkward device with a minimal feature set but strong VPN capabilities
Setting up this product is not a simple task. Most of the setup is done via the command line, but the documentation does not help guide through this process very well. We found ourselves looking through different guides trying to locate configuration information. The absence of a quickstart card or a getting started guide makes this task even more difficult.
Once the appliance is configured, there is a web interface, but it is awkward and minimal at best. Overall management and administration tasks are difficult as well.
The main focus of the Nortel VPN Gateway is to provide security for VPN connections. This includes encryption that supports authenticated and encrypted connections, both internally and externally. The device can also terminate suspicious connections without leaving a trace on the user device. Furthermore, it supports an enhanced clientless mode that runs applets in the browser to build VPN tunnels for client/server applications.
The VPN Gateway 3050 uses certificate-based authentication as well as two-factor and token based. Other types of authentication are also supported, including local authentication database, LDAP, Radius, NTLM, Active Directory and Netegrity services support. One of this appliance's strengths is its scalability. It is intended to support large-scale data-centre operations that require SSL VPN capabilities.
We found documentation for this product to be difficult to follow and not very well organised. The documentation is provided on a separate CD.
When this is loaded, it displays a welcome screen that lists all of the guides and manuals. In all, there are seven different manuals, some of which are hundreds of pages long.
We found ourselves searching through tons of documentation trying to find answers to configuration and setup questions. However, we did find the documentation to be complete if you have the patience to search for what you need.
Nortel offers technical assistance via phone and email, as well as much more in-depth support in the form of an additional support contract. Other areas of help provided are a knowledge base, training and certification options.
We did not receive pricing information for this product and, therefore have not evaluated it in this category.