Dell SonicWALL firewall - A complete solution for network security

There are many network security solutions in market. To help you choose one, his article tells about the advantages, drawbacks and price of the very reliable Dell SonicWALL firewall.

When it comes to networks and data transfer, market is flooded with security solutions. The only dilemma is which one to choose. This article talks about one reliable firewall which is commonly used worldwide for securing networks.

Many of you must have heard of Dell's SonicWALL firewall. It is a Network Address Translator and a secure inspection filter. In fact, it is comparable to Checkpoint Firewall-1 in terms of security implementation. This low priced firewall is basically targeted at small businesses with less than 100 users. You need a Java enabled web browser to manage the firewall processes. It includes no proxy applications. It allows only sessions initiated from the inside to pass. Other sessions are blocked. The default security of the firewall is good in this way but it can't prevent the Trojan horses which connect to the internet due to absence of security proxies.

The security and applications are limited. The firewall does not work well for SQL access, real time multimedia streaming or other non-standard TCP/IP applications.

It is transparent to network applications. You can rely on SonicWALL completely as it has no hard disk drives, no fans and is unexposed to unnecessary services due to the proprietary real time operating system.


Salient features of SonicWALL firewall

  • Stateful inspection filter – The filter which is hardened against IP spoofing, denial of service and packet deformation based attacks protects your network from all major security breaches.

    URLs will get filtered on the basis of CyberNOT list updates or users can themselves configure the firewall to allow access to only some trusted websites. This feature is commonly used in offices or schools where the internet environment has to be highly secure. Administrator can also block the websites by keywords so that even those websites which are absent in the block list can be detected. Any attachment to external proxy servers is also blocked. For unrestricted internet access, firewall allows bypassing the password.

  • HTTP Security filter- The Application Layer HTTP is filtered to block cookies, embedded Java applets and Active X controls.

  • Log reporting – There is an option to configure the firewall to log the access and email the report to an address on periodical basis. This helps management to keep a track of the online activities of employees.

  • Network Address Translator (NAT) – NAT or IP masquerade is a proxy that hides the identity of internal host from public network. It converts the host address to firewall address. The translator used in the firewall performs its basic function but does not support redirecting data to internal servers.

  • Advantages

  • Performance of the SonicWALL desktop is very high as no data can pass without IPSec authentication. Also, the IPSec Virtual Private Network (VPN), which is present in the Pro model by default and in other models as option, is compatible with Firewall-1 and other useful IPSec implementations.

  • SonicWALL is one of the cheapest and simplest to use firewalls available.

  • The firewall is very easy to administer. The log reports enable hands-off approach to management.

  • Drawbacks

  • No security proxies to prevent email attacks. This can be used by crackers to push viruses or Trojan horses into an organization.

  • User authentication is also low as accounts with MD5 encrypted passwords are easy to hack.

  • The multiple interfaces limit the speed and slow the microprocessor.

  • Non-standard TCP/IP applications are not well supported.

  • Models & pricing

    SonicWALL comes in DMZ, Pro, 10 and 50 models. One can easily install them from the official website of SonicWALL. Complete documentation is provided on the official website. This Dell product really lacks when it comes to speed. Except the Pro model which can be accelerated to work on T3, all other models lack fast Ethernet ports and work on connection speeds upto T1 only.

    The price for SonicWALL 10 is $400 and that of SonicWALL 50 is $800. In the upper range, the SonicWALL DMZ costs $1500 and SonicWALL Pro is for $2500. Support subscriptions will cost between $100 and $200 per year. The prices are low if you see the utility and other options available in market. For a price less than of firewall software, SonicWALL offers a complete security solution including hardware.

    Read Introduction to Network Security


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