We have had smoothwall network guardian, for nearly a year, and it's renewal is coming up soon. (The recent renewal quote I had was £2000 for the next year).
So I'm currently looking into alternatives to see if I can get an easier system to use for better value, as a lot of smoothwall's functionality we don't use. All I really need is group based filtering and internet logging.
I'm aware the product has a great rating on edugeek which is one of the reasons we bought it last year. It has been better at filtering then RMs safetynet system we used before it, but there are a few things I hate about it:
The interface is horrible, it should be task based not divided into confusing submenus. The most common tasks are not on the home page (ban site, un-ban site, reports).
The interface is slow, reports take ages to run - although this could be the server spec
Using NTLM login, means that annoying login boxes pop up whenever an updater program runs (non-ntlm app) confusing users.
The aforementioned box then requires the domain\user syntax which confuses users even more.
Laptops which are plugged into the network and use wireless - smoothwall sees as two devices and so uses two licenses - to be fair smoothwall did increase our licenses for free when this happened.
I have been unsuccessful so far in getting it to work with guest access using ruckus guestpass. dual authentication, guest access etc
I'm also thinking about changing back to RM's system (which we get as part of the internet connection) then using a product like securus or policy central to log violations. So students learn to use the internet responsibly.
So in summary:
Is there an alternative to smoothwall that logs, and allows filtering by AD group? or is smoothwall the best system?
What does everyone think about going the other way and using securus to counter student misuse of the net?