Dell releases family of secure, fast wireless firewalls

With the Defense Department looking to make greater use of mobile devices, IT leaders said recently they were looking for “secure enough” solutions that can be adapted to the enterprise.

Dell this week released a new family of wireless firewalls that the company hopes could be a part of that solution. The SonicWALL TZ Wireless Firewall Series makes use of IEEE 802.11ac wireless performance and deep packet inspection to help ensure security at the perimeter, the company said.

“With regard to DOD, the two concerns we hear are speed and security,” said Paul Christman, vice president of Federal for Dell Software. SonicWALL TZ has both, since 802.11ac, the latest version of the WiFi standard, is three times faster than its predecessor (802.11n), which not only improves performance but enables the extra security step of deep packet inspection, Christman said.

The first generation of wireless firewalls inspected data traffic via the ports, while the next-generation TZ look inside the packets for malware, decrypting the data, inspecting it and then re-encrypting it, he said. Without the extra bandwidth provided by 802.11ac, inspecting those packets would slow down transmissions to an unacceptable level.

“The traditional reason you wouldn’t do this is throughput,” Christman said. The speed of the new wireless standard, which was approved in January 2014, “makes it practical to have this level of security in wireless.”

Dell is marketing the TZ firewalls for distributed enterprises, along with small and midsize businesses. Christman noted that Dell’s 2015 threat report found that smaller installations and remote offices are seeing a lot of attacks, which underscores the importance of securing the perimeter of the enterprise. “It’s more than just securing the castle,” he said.

About the Author

Kevin McCaney is a former editor of Defense Systems and GCN.

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