NetScreen offers new firewall/VPN boxes

Security hardware and software vendor NetScreen Technologies Inc. Monday announced the availability of four new combination firewall/VPN (virtual private network) appliances aimed at the large enterprise and medium-sized business. The company also released a new version of the software that runs the devices.

NetScreen added two devices each to its large enterprise and small-to-medium-sized business product lines with the announcement. All four devices feature firewalls that offer security features such as NAT (Network Address Translation) and protection against port scans and dozens of common Web attacks such as SYN floods, which attempt to overwhelm a server by sending a large number of SYN packets. The appliances also offer VPN support compliant with the IPSec (IP Security) standard, the company said. A VPN allows users to send data over the Internet as if it were a part of a corporate network.

The higher-end of the two enterprise-class devices, the NetScreen-208, offers eight auto-sensing 10/100 Ethernet ports and up to 550M bps (bits per second) of firewall throughput and 200M bps of VPN throughput, according to NetScreen. The NetScreen-204 offers four 10/100 Ethernet ports and delivers throughput of up to 400M bps on the firewall and 200M bps on VPN, the company claimed. NetScreen also said that both devices can support up to 1,000 VPN connections, or "tunnels."

The NetScreen-208 costs US$14,995 and the 204 costs $9,995.

NetScreen also took the wraps off two devices for small-to-medium-sized businesses, the NetScreen-50 and -25. Both devices sport four auto-sensing 10/100 Ethernet ports. While the $5,995 NetScreen-50 offers 170M bps of firewall throughput and 50M bps to the VPN, the $3,495 NetScreen-25 supports up to 100M bps throughput for the firewall and 20M bps for the VPN, NetScreen claimed. The 50 offers up to 100 VPN connections, while the 25 supports as many as 25, the company added.

Lastly, NetScreen also beefed up its ScreenOS, the software that runs its devices. ScreenOS 3.1, the new version, allows administrators to create and manage security "zones" within a network, activate appliance features for each port on a device individually and more finely control security features, NetScreen said.

All four devices are shipping immediately, though only the 204 and 208 are shipping with ScreenOS 3.1. ScreenOS support for the 25 and 50 models -- as well as support for NetScreen's 100, 5XP and 500-series models -- will come in the first half of 2002, NetScreen said.

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