SonicWall PRO 4100
Strengths: An appliance with a big feature set and an easy-to-use interface
Weaknesses: The price is a bit high
Verdict: A good product with a large number of features and a user-friendly interface
The offering from SonicWall is an appliance that runs on a 1U rack-mounted device. The PRO 4100 provides ten ethernet gigabit interfaces that can be addressed and configured separately. Like most other SonicWall products, the PRO 4100 is a stateful-inspection firewall with additional security components that look into the data portion of the packet for deep-packet inspection.
The traditional firewall controls are supplemented with an application-level firewall that delivers the deep-packet inspection. The device incorporates a logging feature that can be used from the same configuration web browser-based session. Several reports can be generated from the same interface, including bandwidth usage by protocol or by IP address, and a list of the websites generating the most traffic. The box also includes settings for voice over IP services, including SIP (session initiation protocol) and H.323.
The installation of the PRO 4100 is as simple as can be. The unit ships with a getting-started guide that walks the administrator through the installation and configuration process. The initial configuration is done in a web browser-based session (both http and https are supported), inside a wizard that sets the internal and external IP addresses, as well as the dynamic host configuration protocol (DHCP) range for the internal interface.
The default firewall configuration blocks all incoming traffic, but allows all outgoing traffic. The configuration can be changed with the addition of new firewall rules, which are easy to create.
Additional documentation to the getting-started guide is available on the CD that comes with the product, which also includes software utilities which make the initial configuration of the system's IP address easier.
Support is available at an additional charge. There are two price tiers, one for office-hour support, the other for around-the-clock assistance. The SonicWall support site is available for free and offers extensive information about troubleshooting and configuration of the company's devices.
The price for the PRO starts at £6,052, which places it at the upper end of the price spectrum. For its large feature set and easy-to-use interface, we rate this our Recommended product.