Rules can be scheduled to apply only during certain days of the week or minutes of the day. You can even create one-time rules. That’s great for allowing something like a one time FTP file transfer without worrying about whether you would remember to delete the rule after the FTP transfer was completed.
Of course, increased versatility and functionality comes at a price. The NetScreen installation isn’t easy enough to do without a little reading. I’ve been able to install many firewalls without ever touching them -- this isn’t one of them.
The NetScreen product, however, comes with hundreds of pages of documentation located on the Web site or the included CD-ROM. The documentation includes incredible amounts of useful information, summarizing each feature before getting into the details. It includes lots of steps, examples, and pictures.
The configuration examples are what really bring the learning together, and are usually missing in other vendor’s instructions. The NetScreen’s documentation is simply the best documentation I’ve ever seen for any computer product, period.
But what will make me a customer for life (if it doesn’t change), is the fact that each technical support call (remember, I’m new to this firewall so I made a handful of calls over a period of days because of an overly complicated network environment) resulted in contact with an intelligent, cheerful, easy-to-understand technical support person in one to five minutes. No communication problems, no long waits on complicated phone menu trees. It’s human and not outsourced to the cheapest provider.
Dell, Microsoft, and every Juniper competitor: Are you listening?
Does the NetScreen appliance have room for improvement? Sure. I’m not thrilled with the anti-spam solution chosen for UTM. Policies for NAT and port address translation to internally hosted servers could be easier to set up. I don’t like how individual IP addresses have to be specifically identified with the /32 CIDR mask (it's confusing to first-time installers). Nothing’s perfect, but this solution and its vendor come close.
So, in summary, the NetScreen firewall is an excellent, versatile product. It has the best documentation of any computer product I’ve ever worked with, and Juniper offers quick, easy-to-understand, human, technical support in minutes.
I will never use another perimeter firewall product!