A firewall appliance
, 19" rack-mounted
Sonic, of Sunnyvale. CA, have been in business since the early 1990s, originally as a second-tier manufacturer of ethernet NICs, later branching out into bridges, hubs, switches, half-routers, and other networking hardware and software. In the late 1990s, the company introduced a line of lower-priced firewall devices, with the SonicWall Pro being the top of the line.
Most importantly, the device is a stateful inspection device, (as opposed to stateless, which means, in a nutshell, the context of the incoming traffic is allowed or rejected based on a list of logical source/destination rules. If you can afford it, you should choose stateful inspection.
The device features three auto-switching 10/100 megabit/sec ethernet ports for WAN, LAN and DMZ purposes. It also has the basic suite of firewall appliance features such as NAT (including one-to-one NAT), email alerts, per-port access lists, automatic firmware updating option, and VPN utilising IPSEC.
The device is powered by a 233MHz Intel StrongARM RISC CPU, and claims 270 MIPS. My network consists of two physically disparate LANs, with approximately sixty users, and I've yet to see any performance degradation from this device
Administration is performed remotely via a Java-capable web browser, and is fully graphical, although a serial port on the device also provides VT-102 administration.
The devices retail for approximately AUD$6000, which places the device a little below the competing FireBox. I find the feature set to be compelling, which, when added to the easy-to-delegate graphical administration system, makes this firewall and excellent choice for small to medium sized businesses, especially if VPN is desired.