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SonicWALL and Linksys devices perform many of the same functions. But the two platforms are quite different.
SonicWALLs are deployed in numerous small and medium businesses. Linksys devices typically are deployed in small organizations.
Here’s a look at how the two popular firewall interfaces compare.
Both SonicWALL and Linksys provide wizards to simplify device administration.
The Linksys wizard is straightforward and provides basic configuration options.
The SonicWALL counterpart provides access to multiple configuration wizards, including Setup, PortShield Interface (for segmenting networks), Public Server (for configuring public access to an internal server) and VPN.
By Erik Eckel
Both the SonicWALL and Linksys require username/password combinations to access the network devices.
The SonicWALL’s wider featureset is immediately apparent. The SonicWALL Status screen displays a wide variety of information, listing everything from installed licenses to CPU utilization, current connections and more. In addition, the SonicWALL’s multiple components, such as firewall and VPN interfaces, are all accessible from the System Status window.
The Linksys’ Status menu, meanwhile, displays active configuration information related to the current WAN connection.
The SonicWALL System Administration screen enables changing the administrator name and password, in addition to configuring Web management security settings and login security.
The Linksys Administration menu supports changing the password only, Web access and remote router access settings (as well as UPnP status).
Firmware Upgrades are configured using the SonicWALL’s System Settings menu, while the Linksys Administration’s Firmware Upgrade screen provides equivalent functionality.
Backing up and restoring router configuration information is completed using the SonicWALL’s Firmware Management menu, found within the System Settings menu, and on the ConfigManagement feature within the Linksys’ Administration screen.
Both SonicWALL and Linksys devices can provide DHCP services.
SonicWALL devices, and Linksys routers, provide DDNS services. Administrators configure DDNS settings using the Network | Dynamic DNS menu when working with SonicWALL devices. Linksys users, meanwhile, use the Setup | DDNS screen.
The SonicWALL’s routing capacities simply outrun the typical low-cost Linksys device. Numerous and complex routing options can be configured using a typical SonicWALL device. Here the route policies and route advertisement interfaces are displayed.
On the bottom, you can see the simple Linksys firewall settings used to forward traffic from specific ports to specific systems.
SonicWALL and Linksys both offer models that enable secure wireless communications. The SonicWALL’s Wireless Status menu, shown on top, displays considerable information. In addition to monitoring the status of connections, MAC filter lists, guest services, firmware versions and more.
The main Linksys Wireless screen, meanwhile, l;ists the wireless network mode, SSID and channel in use. It also provides an option for disabling the SSID broadcast, which many administrators encourage to help discourage unauthorized wireless network use.
Many administrators prefer to authorize wireless access based upon a system’s specific MAC address. The SonicWALL’s Wireless | Mac Filter List screen (shown here on top) is used to configure such security on SonicWALL devices.
Administrators deploying Linksyst equipment use the Wireless tab (and Wireless MAC Filter option) to configure similar security.
While MAC filtering helps ensure unauthorized users cannot access a wireless network, it’s not foolproof. A hacker, given sufficient time to monitor transmissions between an access point and authorized client, could relatively easily determine the authorized unit’s MAC address.
Administrators can configure DMZs using the SonicWALL’s Firewall | Services menu or the Linksys’ Applications & Gaming | DMZ interface.
SonicWALL devices ship with complete manuals, published as PDF files, on an accompanying CD-ROM. Administrators can also access comprehensive help documentation that’s kept current on the live SonicWALL Web site by clicking the Help button that appears on the left menu of the SonicWALL configuration interface.
Linksys devices, meanwhile, include only spartan documentation, as shown here on the bottom.