First Look: WatchGuard's Firebox SOHO 6

By Patricia Fusco | Posted June 17, 2003

WatchGuard Technologies, an Internet security solutions provider, this week introduced its new Firebox SOHO 6 Wireless lineup. Designed to provide remote office works, as well as small or home offices with a complete wired and wireless security solution in single appliance, the Firebox SOHO 6 features an integrated 802.11b Wireless Access Point (WAP), 4-port LAN Ethernet switch and remote management capabilities — along with WatchGuard's well known firewall and virtual private network (VPN) technologies.

In a recent study by JupiterResearch, this publication's parent company, 90 percent of those surveyed said improved security solutions would impact their decision whether to install a wireless local area network (WLAN) this year.

The Firebox SOHO 6 Wireless lineup is designed to deliver multiple layers of security that makes wireless deployment safe for small businesses or remote offices. This includes securing networks with 3DES encryption, authentication and Internet Protocol Security (IPSec) VPN and Mobile User VPN support, as well as with ICSA-certified dynamic stateful packet filtering, application level gateways, anti-virus protection and optional Web content filtering.

"With increasing businesses deployment of wireless networks, there's a demonstrated need for an integrated security appliance that can cover both wireless and wired environments, said Charles Kolodgy, research director, IDC. "WatchGuard's new offering should help eliminate the major concerns about wireless security. It has the robust security features of the company's popular SOHO 6 firewall and VPN appliances, is easy to deploy and manage, and is scalable on the wired side."

Jean Nassar, WatchGuard senior vice president of marketing, said it's rare for a business to be completely wireless, so customers need a solution that incorporates scalable wired security so they don't have to use additional equipment to secure multiple devices.

"It's security — not access — that is the real issue with wireless deployment," Nassar said. That's why our SOHO 6 Wireless is first and foremost a firewall, and not just a WAP with a firewall thrown in for good measure."

Sig Fidyke, WatchGuard senior product manager of SOHO products, said WatchGuard's primary concern is with security, so the SOHO 6 ensures that the entire network is protected from the outset by requiring users to set up security systems on the appliances before enabling wireless connectivity.

"Having to actively turn on wireless networking may not be convenient for end users," Fidyke said, "but at least they know they are secure from the get go."

Fidyke said the other key benefit of the SOHO 6 is its ability to support dynamic domain name addressing.

"Our dynamic DNS support is unique," Fiduke said. "Small offices tend use cable or DSL connections. It's costly, if not impossible, to buy a static IP address for some of these 'always-on' broadband connections. With the SOHO 6 there's no need for a static IP because we support dynamic DNS assignments and VPN tunnels by name, not by number."

Meshed VPN Topology establishes private, encrypted tunnels between up to seven Firebox SOHO 6 appliances for economical data sharing in a small business environment. The SOHO 6 also comes with anti-virus protection for wireless users and optional content filtering capabilities that allows network administrators to control and enforce security policies.

Remote management from a central location gives network administrators control over wireless access and traffic through private networks. This reduces the cost and complexity of wireless security management. Intuitive Configuration with a Web-based user interface makes setup and management easy.

Pricing Details
The Firebox SOHO 6 Wireless family includes three models, which are available immediately through WatchGuard resellers worldwide. The Firebox SOHO 6 Wireless small office endpoint retails for $649, the Firebox SOHO 6tc Wireless branch office endpoint lists at $799, and the Firebox SOHO 6tc Wireless 50 User branch office endpoint/multi-office endpoint retails for $1,079.

Each Firebox SOHO 6 Wireless model includes a 90-day renewable subscription to WatchGuard's LiveSecurity Service, which provides customers with systematic updates and security intelligence. Backed by a team of security experts, technical support representatives and trainers, LiveSecurity Service includes software updates, broadcasts (threat responses, virus alerts, information alerts, expert editorials and support flashes), technical support and online training. WatchGuard Firebox products are also backed by a one-year limited hardware warranty.

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