Strengths: Free lifetime support and low purchase price
Weaknesses: Administration interface takes a little getting used to
Verdict: For small and medium enterprises, this is a perfect SSL-VPN solution
ZyWall SSL-10 is a smaller appliance designed for ten concurrent users. Despite the size of the unit, it offered many of the features the larger units did. The product is primarily a Java and XML web browser-based application. The device also includes a stateful inspection (SPI) firewall and a network address translation feature.
The unit ships with four LAN Ethernet interfaces and one WAN connection. However, each LAN connection is based on a single LAN IP and you cannot address every interface individually. The WAN interface provides options for DHCP and PPPoE, as well as a statically configured IP address. These features make the ZyWall appropriate for use in small to medium-sized businesses.
The installation was about average in terms of difficulty. The ZyWall is configured primarily though a web administration interface. The interface is pretty well laid out and logical, but not as simple as it could be. The unit ships with an IP address already assigned to the device, and this requires the administrator to change the IP address of the machine before starting the initial configuration.
Once the IP addresses are set and the unit is installed, the rest of the configuration takes place in the web based GUI. The configuration seems simple enough, and building the portal for applications and websites is simple. However, at this point in the configuration our test unit locked up and needed to be rebooted.
Once the reboot was complete we attempted to access the SSL VPN from our client. The client connection was where we had real trouble. The SSL-10 would push the Java and XML client into a seemingly endless loop. We tried switching browser and machines, and the only error message we ever received was a request to use a FQDN instead of an IP address to access the portal. The login screen was a bit irksome too, because it defaulted to the option of being on a public computer instead of a single machine.
The box arrives with a printed quick-start guide that walks the administrator through the entire installation process. Further manuals are included as PDFs. Support is offered by phone and is free for the life of the product.
The pricing for the ZyWall came in at £290. Even with the configuration and performance difficulties we experienced, for the small enterprise this is excellent value.