Dell SonicWALL Firewall Appliance Overview

                    Dell SonicWALL Firewall Appliance

Founded in 1991 by brothers Sreekanth Ravi and Sudhakar Ravi under the name “Sonic Systems, to develop Ethernet and Fast Ethernet cards, hubs and bridges for the Apple market.

Originally headquartered at San Jose, California, the company sells a range of internet appliances primarily directed at content control and network security.  

Some of the services provided by these devices include network firewalls, Virtual Private Networks (VPN), UTMs (Unified Threat Management), and anti-spam for emails. Dell acquired SonicWALL on May 9, 2012. 

                       Dell SonicWALL Security Appliance Device Overview

 Depending on your networking needs and number of users intended for a network, many different types of SonicWALL devices could be acquired. Models such as the NSA600 series supports 1,000,000 concurrent connections, extensive client- site VPN and 3Gbps full security while smaller models such as the TZ series are suitable for small to medium size businesses supporting 75+ users.  

For enterprise grade functionality, SonicWALL offers the E10800series that delivers 40Gbps firewall, 12Gbps Malware Protection and supports 12 Million concurrent connections. 

The company also provides wireless solutions with access point models such as SonicWave, SonicPointN2 and Ni series running super-fast 802.11ac wireless protocol.

                                Dell SonicWALL TZ300 Security Appliance

Many variations of firewalls exists in the TZ series some of which have wireless capabilities denoted by ‘W’ in the model numbers. This article will explore the characteristics of the TZ300 model and the operating system software that runs inside the device to provide content control functionalities. 

On the front of the unit, you’ll find the power LED indicator, configuration LED indicator, a powered USB port along with notification indicators for X0 to X4 that flash depending on the ports configured.

The back of the unit consists of a 12 volts manufacturer’s designed power port, Console port for administration, X0 for configuring your Local Area Network, X1 for configuring your Wide Area Network, X2, X3 and X4 which could be used to configure your back up line for the purposes of fail over when your main internet line goes down.

Dell SonicWALL Education and Certification

SonicWALL in association with SecureFirst Partners Portal offers Silver, Gold or Platinum membership and access to SonicWALLUniversity.

Membership advantages include access to a wealth of training materials and knowledge training from authorized specialists which could lead to qualifications as a CertifiedSonicWALL Security Administrator (CSSA) and CertifiedSonicWALL Security Professional (CSSP)

You can sit the test at the cost of about $400. Your company stands to benefit from huge partnership discounts on SonicWALL products if one network engineer in the business gains these certifications. 

Dell SonicWALL Appliance Operating System Overview

Getting your hands on one of the SonicWALL devices like TZ300 could set you back about £780, a great price for small to medium size businesses to implement network security policies.

For the purposes of learning however, an online live demo emulator version of the device operating system interface is available for Free from SonicWALL

Exploring Dell SonicWALL Appliance Operating System Interface

Running inside a SonicWALL device is the SonicOS operating system, responsible for all the technical configurations carried out by a network administrator. 

Below, some of the commonly frequented sections of the firewall device will explored. You may want to spend some time getting familiar with the interface to understand the more advanced features available to securely lock down your network.  

1. SonicWALL > System > Status

The SonicOS interface presents you with some 20 functionality tabs with numerous advanced settings options located on the left pane. Click to expand the System tree and Status.

The Status interface contains a wealth of very useful information all collated in one place. You can find the Model Number, Product Code, Serial Number and Authorization Code. The exact firmware version of SonicOS running on your device, Safe Mode version as well as ROM version information can also be found in this window.

A 1.56GHz Octeon Processor and 1GB RAM with 64MB Flash hardware resources are installed on the SonicWALL TZ 600 Firewall. System Up-Time and Registration code can be found in status tab.

To the right of the same page, vital licensing information can be found including Global VPN Client, App Control, Client Content Filtering, McAfee AV Enforcement, Anti-Spyware, Gateway Anti-Virus, Intrusion Prevention, Analyser and Capture ATP (Advanced Threat Protection) amongst others. Contact your device vendor to enquire about licensing depending on the functionality required for the security of your network. 

2. SonicWALL > System > Licenses

For small to medium size businesses, the SonicWALL security appliance represents a very affordable solution for implementing firewall security policies across your entire network, as well as intricate device access control procedures such as IP lockdown so the firewall can only be accessed from a controlled environment of your choice.

The Dell SonicWALL device offers advanced functionalities such as Deep Packet Inspection, Unified Threat Management (UTM), L2TP VPN technologies, Wireless 802.11n and 802.11a/b/g networks that can be comprehensively deployed for maximum protection and performance. 

The Licensing tab displays detailed information about the Status, Count and Expiration Date of all active and inactive licenses applied to the device. Scroll down to find your Support Service licenses such as Dynamic Support 24/7 (Critically recommended for small to medium sized businesses), Software and Firmware Updates and Hardware Warranty. Contact authorized Vendors for license pricing information. KnowWho License gives administrators the ability to deploy 2FA security across entire networks. 

3. SonicWALL > System > Administration

Undeniably the most important section of your firewall device, the administration section gives the engineer complete control of local and remote device access rules, password enforcement, permitted open ports, Enhanced Audit Logging, Certificates, SSH and Advanced GMS management. 

4. SonicWALL > System > Settings

The current firmware version running on the device can be found here, along with the ability to import settings from a compatible device and back up configuration settings for disaster recovery scenarios.

5. SonicWALL > Network > Interfaces

You get to configure your WAN on X1 and LAN on X0. The remaining ports may be used to configure multiple WAN connections from multiple ISPs to your site, ensuring network failovers are configured in an event the main internet connection goes down.

                                          Final Thoughts

I hope you found this article useful as a general overview of an affordable firewall device, designed to help network administrators deploy security solutions for Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs). Head over to SonicWALL website for more information about their latest multi-engine cloud-based sandbox against encrypted threats. 

Join us again as we explore further advanced configurations and how to leverage complex security deployments against the ever increasing threat of CryptoLocker Ransomware.

Thank you for investing your time with us. 

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          Credits to all organisations and development teams at Dell SonicWALL 


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