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Internet Related/Filtering/Firewall Thread, Filtering and firewall in Technical; Originally Posted by timbo343 Are you able to say why you are coming away from bloxx? Support used to be ...
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    Quote Originally Posted by timbo343 View Post
    Are you able to say why you are coming away from bloxx?
    Support used to be fantastic and it's gone downhill.

    I can no longer get reports from my unit and the reporting has been sporadic since it was installed some years ago. The performance of the unit has faltered. Initially we were told "well, you need a new one because you've outgrown this one" (after 2.5years of it being in place - they specced it!), until I finally managed to persuade a support technician to look at the database - he did some work on it and performance returned to normal. The functionality to port data to an external RDBMS has never worked.

    If you gave me some more time, I could probably carry on but I'm afraid BLOXX, where as they used to be quite forward thinking and helpful have gone backwards as a company. We looked at Smoothwall and we wished we had used that.

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    Just to high-jack this thread...is anyone using open source?

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    Marshall_IT's Avatar
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    Just an update after various visits, Web demos and research.

    All thoughts are my personal opinions and are subjective to my needs.

    I have had a good look at the following devices:

    Smoothwall
    SonicWall
    Watchguard
    Lightspeed
    Fortigate
    Bloxx

    I have narrowed it down to either SonicWall or Smoothwall a these seem to offer the most complete devices.

    The Bloxx offering, while good seemed to lack something of maybe just concentrate too much on anonymous proxies. (maybe that was just the sales guys).

    Watchguard, while offering most of what I was looking for, misses out on some key things like YouTube controls. Also the policy creation tool, while a good idea was a little clunky and the ui overall I seemed a little dated.

    Fortigate was very similar to Watchguard in respect of features and ui. But seemed a little less powerful.

    Lightspeed I didn't like the idea of a client install.

    So, on to Smoothwall and SonicWall...

    One has a better filter, the other has a better firewall.
    Both say they are improving the areas the are behind in.

    Smoothwall have said we should see an update to their reporting and Firewall sections in the next few months.
    SonicWall said they are looking closely at improving the more school centric bits that were missing from their filtering.

    Although SonicWall are used, so I'm told, extensively throughout education in the UK, this seems to be more colleges and universities. These institutions have very different requirements when it comes to filtering.

    There is one last factor in my situation, which could be a game changer in the case of which I choose. That I might be supporting a number of primaries with their line and filtering.

    If their connection is routed through our high school, we'd only need one UTM, if they connect directly to the Internet but we created branch VPNs, they would need smaller boxes which I could manage remotely.

    More to come I think.

  4. 2 Thanks to Marshall_IT:

    mrbios (2nd March 2013), simpsonj (9th May 2013)

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    Thank you for rounding up those opinions Marshall, while i will make my own opinions of 3 of those it's nice to have in depth opinions with reasoning on more products than I'm looking at

    Out of interest are you able to expand on the problem areas of the smoothwalls firewall? Having met with a smoothwall representative I've been given their information regarding improving it but i have no experience of how bad and what is bad about it currently (I've heard it's very overly complicated and long winded to change settings currently?) Also have you ever used an ISA firewall to make comparisons between what you've tested?

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    @Marshall_IT did you not consider websense? I have moved to smoothwall from websense but since you are evaluating most of the big players im surprised you didnt look at websense.

    I must admit, come from websense to smoothwall was a big change for us on how we offer our filtering, a completely different way of thinking due to how their policies work, but anyway, after 2 weeks im starting to get to grips with it . Plus you can offer feature requests to smoothwall which is a nice customer service part imo.

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    Marshall_IT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrbios View Post
    Thank you for rounding up those opinions Marshall, while i will make my own opinions of 3 of those it's nice to have in depth opinions with reasoning on more products than I'm looking at

    Out of interest are you able to expand on the problem areas of the smoothwalls firewall? Having met with a smoothwall representative I've been given their information regarding improving it but i have no experience of how bad and what is bad about it currently (I've heard it's very overly complicated and long winded to change settings currently?) Also have you ever used an ISA firewall to make comparisons between what you've tested?
    @mrbios I haven't used an ISA firewall unfortunately.
    I wouldn't exactly say the Smoothwall firewall was bad, just not good. It doesn't do layer 7 packet inspection get which is a major bonus to the SonicWall. As a basic firewall or heard Smoothwall good.

  8. Thanks to Marshall_IT from:

    mrbios (2nd March 2013)

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    Quote Originally Posted by timbo343 View Post
    @Marshall_IT did you not consider websense? I have moved to smoothwall from websense but since you are evaluating most of the big players im surprised you didnt look at websense.

    I must admit, come from websense to smoothwall was a big change for us on how we offer our filtering, a completely different way of thinking due to how their policies work, but anyway, after 2 weeks im starting to get to grips with it . Plus you can offer feature requests to smoothwall which is a nice customer service part imo.
    @timbo343 I will look at websense, but have heard a few people coming from it.

    Another major concern / requirement for me she ability to control bandwidth to websites and applications for certain groups and ip ranges. This is one of the areas that SonicWall out performed smoothwall.

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    Websense was a good product but its worth a look even if you are ruling them out to see what they are offering. I know that for thw wsg, i needed their box , a server and an sql database and they couldnt work out their licensing.

    That seems a good feature from sonicwall, maybe smoothwall might be able to do something similar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marshall_IT View Post
    @mrbios I haven't used an ISA firewall unfortunately.
    I wouldn't exactly say the Smoothwall firewall was bad, just not good. It doesn't do layer 7 packet inspection get which is a major bonus to the SonicWall. As a basic firewall or heard Smoothwall good.
    How about complexity? Was it easy to configure in comparison to the competition or a bit of a ballache?

    Also i was told layer 7 features were a big part of what's being added in updates this year (I was told April but was also told that may not be 100% accurate) though i assume you've heard the same.

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    Another major concern / requirement for me she ability to control bandwidth to websites and applications for certain groups and ip ranges. This is one of the areas that SonicWall out performed smoothwall.
    I'm sure @tom_newton said this was coming during the year.

    The firewall is simple but effective but as has been said it isn't layer 7 at present

  13. Thanks to john from:

    rpmoore (3rd March 2013)

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    The complexity, better than most but still not simple. Considering the amount of control you have these things can only get so simple.

    It made sense to me at least.

    Yes I know the layer 7 stuff is coming soon as well as the improved reporting, hence the close tie at the moment.

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    What are the price differences like?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marshall_IT View Post
    The complexity, better than most but still not simple. Considering the amount of control you have these things can only get so simple.
    I've obviously not used one myself but a local school told me they hated the firewall because it was so complicated to get the simplest of setups working, which sounds contradictory to everything on these boards says...I'm starting to wonder if they just didn't know what they were doing....lol

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marshall_IT View Post
    Another major concern / requirement for me she ability to control bandwidth to websites and applications for certain groups and ip ranges. This is one of the areas that SonicWall out performed smoothwall.
    We are also replacing our dated QoS module this year and will also offer bandwidth by category and group, and hopefully by application.

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    I suggest using a Juniper SSG 350M appliance for firewall, anti-virus, anti-spam and base web filtering (you can probably get this at no extra cost if you choose your ISP carefully as we did), TMG for back to back FW/DMZ and then a software only version of Smoothwall (no firewall) for the main on-site filtering. This way you have a fail safe on web filtering and firewall all at minimal cost.

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