Review: SonicWALL TZ 100 router

The SonicWALL TZ 100 router boasts widespread encryption, VPN and security compatibility, also offers optional Unified Threat Management services.

The SonicWALL TZ 100 has become a small business workhorse. The hearty router, which boasts widespread encryption, VPN and security compatibility, also offers optional Unified Threat Management (UTM) subscription services. Pound for pound, the TZ 100 may well be the best SMB router competing today.


Who's it for?

The SonicWALL TZ 100 is a natural fit for remote and branch offices that must be securely connected to main headquarters' offices. The network security appliance is also an outstanding firewall option for small business organizations that require network security, remote connectivity functionality and low cost deployment.

What problem does it solve?

SonicWALL's developed a well-earned reputation for producing hardened, secure devices that network very well together. The TZ 100 series delivers a low-cost network security appliance that protects a network from outside threats and enables secure remote connectivity between static sites and even for traveling staff. Further, subscription security services allow administrators to protect remote sites and small offices from viruses, spyware, content-filtering, spam and other threats by loading perimeter-based protection.

Standout features

  • Wide-ranging functionality: Tremendous functionality is collected within the TZ 100's tiny package. Network administrators, in a single deployment, obtain wide-spread (both site-to-site hardware- and cross-platform software-based) VPN functionality, hardened firewall protection, DHCP services, comprehensive routing capabilities, VOIP support, zone security support, logging and reporting functionality, perimeter protection subscription services, load-balancing capability, hardware failover capacity, an integrated network switch and even optional wireless connectivity.
  • Widespread compatibility: The SonicWALL TZ 100 boasts vast compatibility. Numerous VPN encryption and authentication technologies are supported, including DES, 3DES, AES, MD5 and SHA-1. Key exchange technologies supported include IKE, manual key, X.509 certificates and L2TP over IPSec. Global VPN client platforms supported include Windows 2000, XP, Vista and Windows 7, while the SSL VPN platform support includes Mac OS X and multiple Linux distributions. RIP and static routes are supported on the TZ 100 platform, as is XAUTH/RADIUS, Active Directory, SSO, LDAP and Novell database authentication.
  • Centralized policy management: TZ 100 series devices support SonicWALL's Global Management System (GMS). The feature enables centralized administration of numerous SonicWALL devices, thereby lowering deployment and maintenance costs for larger organizations due to GMS' ability to remotely manage configurations, integrate policies and reporting and view real-time performance.
  • Low cost: At less than $299 on the street, the TZ 100 is a very capable, readily affordable network security appliance. Units ship with a one-year warranty while boasting mean time between failure ratings of approximately eight years. Optional subscription services further lower costs for organizations seeking to deploy strictly firewall and router functionality.

What's wrong?

  • Complexity: SonicWALL router configuration and deployment isn't for the faint of heart or uninitiated. On at least one occasion, I've spent some two to three hours on the telephone with SonicWALL's own engineers troubleshooting site-to-site VPN connections using dynamic DNS addresses. That said, the technology provides incredibly complex functionality, and no one ever said networks, firewalls and routing technology would always be easy. For offices that require assistance, Remote Start-up and Configuration Service for the TZ Series is available from a variety of sources.

Competitive Products

Bottom line for business

SonicWALL's TZ 100 routers are perfect fits for many small offices. The small but powerful devices provide complete basic network functionality with support for more complex networking and even subscription UTM features. The only catch is that offices will require knowledgeable technicians to ensure the devices are properly deployed, but even in that case remote support is available.

User rating

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