SonicWall Aventail EX-1600
Strengths: High-powered performance with a many great features
Weaknesses: High cost for smaller environments
Verdict: If you can afford it, this one is worth a good look. SonicWall has apparently dispensed with some of the quirks of older Aventail products
SonicWall's Aventail EX-1600 is a high-end SSL VPN designed for the needs of medium to large enterprises. The Aventail Workplace feature provides quick access to web bases and client-server-based applications, as well as files shares via a web browser without the need for a VPN client application. This product also features Aventail Connect Mobile, which allows for Windows Mobile users to connect to resources.
We found this product quite easy to work with. The initial setup and configuration is guided by a short and easy-to-follow wizard. After the wizard is complete, further configuration is done via a web-based GUI. This has a clean look and is well organised and intuitive to navigate.
This appliance can tie in directly with Active Directory for user authentication or can be configured for local users or to work with Radius servers. There is also a great deal of flexibility built in, so customised portals can be set up to be as granular as needed.
Also built into this product are access control rules, which means users have to meet requirements before they can access network resources.
There are a couple of PDF documents provided with the Aventail EX-1600. One of these documents is a lengthy getting-started guide describing considerations and deployment scenarios for the appliance. There is also an administration and installation guide that provides a great amount of detail about installation and setup procedure, as well as advanced configuration of the product features. Both these guides include detailed step-by-step instructions as well as many screenshots, diagrams and tables to provide further illustration.
All SonicWall Aventail E-Class SSL VPNs have 24/7 support available both by phone and email. This must be purchased as part of a support contract. There is also a support area available on the website that includes product guides, technical notes, FAQs, user forums and a knowledge base.
We find this product to be good value for money. At a price of more than £6,000 it is quite a hefty investment, but it does offer some robust features and a great amount of flexibility.