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Branch Office Firewalls

Firewall Blowout

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Our basic network configuration for testing involved three network spaces: the ISP-provided network outside the firewall, the LAN inside the firewall and the corporate network available through a VPN (see "How We Tested Branch-Office Firewalls," for specifics).

Similarities and Differences

The invitations we issue for comparative reviews spell out our minimum requirements, grading criteria and basic test scenario. The vendors decide which products to submit. Although we aim for apples-to-apples comparisons, there's room for variability. Some go toward the top end and take a hit on price, banking on better features and performance. Others meet the bare-bones requirements and hope a low price will give them a boost. Most try to find the middle ground. This self-selection exercise can be a fascinating window into how a vendor will spec out bids for real customers.

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