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WatchGuard Technologies' Firebox SSL Core VPN Gateway

The initial admin interface, a tabbed Web page, supports basic administrative functions like access to logs, changing the admin password, uploading licenses, starting/stopping the server and launching the Access Gateway Administration Tool, which opens a Citrix Secure Access interface to a Gnome desktop containing the Firebox SSL Admin tool. You can input the IP address and related information here before you place the appliance into production. The Firebox SSL Admin page displays tabs at the top for easy access to detailed management options for configuring authentication sources, network resources, user groups and policies, network settings, and logging.

Two in One

The Firebox SSL provides end users with two VPN modes: Private and Public/Kiosk. Private mode gives them full network access while they're using applications on their desktops or laptops. Public/Kiosk mode uses the Citrix Secure Access Kiosk client to connect to a remote Gnome desktop session with links to the Mozilla Web browser and clients for VNC, telnet, ICA, SSH and Remote Desktop.

WatchGuard Firebox

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I tested each mode by navigating to the HTTPS site accessible on the external IP of the firewall. The Windows version of the VPN client downloads and runs an 800-KB executable through ActiveX when using Internet Explorer. Because I was testing on a non-ActiveX-aware browser like Firefox, I had to download and run the VPN client executable separately, or load a Java applet supporting only Public mode. The executables and applets required only one download, which I completed using a high-speed Internet connection.

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