Firewall meets switch

SonicWall Pro 1260 combines perimeter security, VPN, and workgroup switching in single 1U appliance

We’ve been impressed more than once by the combination of performance and manageability in SonicWall’s firewalls. We’ve also been somewhat amazed at the company’s ability to include features normally found in high-priced enterprise gear -- such as load balancing and fail-over, object-based management, and most recently, policy-based NAT to improve the flow of VoIP traffic -- into products with SMB-friendly prices.

SonicWall’s latest trick, aimed squarely at small businesses and branch offices, is to combine the firewall and a 24-port layer 2 switch into a single 1U appliance. The integrated result, the SonicWall Pro 1260, will ultimately give administrators the ability to apply port-level security policies to different zones of the network; the Enhanced version of the Pro 1260, which will include VLAN capabilities, as well as port mirroring and monitoring and traffic statistics reporting, is due the first quarter of next year.

In the meantime, the Pro 1260 Standard includes an unmanaged version of the Fast Ethernet switch you were going to buy anyway plus SonicWall’s tightly integrated suite of perimeter security features: a deep inspection firewall and IPSec VPN, with intrusion prevention, gateway and network anti-virus, and content filtering available as options. Following an industry trend, SonicWall has also thrown in Dynamic DNS services, further helping to reduce the cost of branch-office connections.

As does the Pro 2040 we reviewed in November, the Pro 1260 includes SonicWall’s new collection of wizards that dramatically ease the setup of public servers, hub-and-spoke VPNs, and NAT. The icing on the cake is RADIUS user authentication, with support for 802.1x port-based access control slated for a future release of SonicOS.

SonicWall Pro 1260


Cost: Standard, $1,295; Enhanced, TBD

Available: Standard, this month; Enhanced, first quarter 2005