SonicWall boosts VPN, management features

Firewall and virtual private network (VPN) appliance maker SonicWall Tuesday announced an upgrade to the firmware powering all of its products, which will bring users new VPN and bandwidth management features.

The new firmware, version 6.3, will upgrade all current SonicWall devices and is available immediately, said Erik Hutsler, senior product manager at SonicWall, based in Sunnyvale, California. The firmware update is free and is available for download from SonicWall, Hutsler said. Users will be prompted to upgrade when they log on to their devices, he said.

Among the new features added through the firmware upgrade are a number of improvements to the devices' VPN capabilities, improved blocking of the e-mail attachments that often carry viruses and worms and bandwidth management, Hutsler said.

The VPN support has been upgraded to include user-level authentication, which will improve security by requiring users to log on with a user name and password before they are granted access to the VPN, Hutsler said. This feature will be particularly useful for workers on home networks where private PCs and work PCs coexist, he added.

Further helping out home office workers, the new firmware supports multiple IPSec (Internet Protocol Security) connections being passed through a single appliance, allowing two home workers to use the same device to connect to different networks, he said.

The firmware also adds support for Network Address Translation (NAT) Traversal to allow VPN connections to work smoothly with firewalls, many of which employ NAT as a security measure, and other devices that support NAT, he said.

SonicWall devices have new bandwidth management features thanks to the upgrade, which will allow administrators to prioritize the type of traffic sent by the box and ensure that critical applications get the bandwidth they need, Hutsler said.

The appliances can now also filter e-mail attachments based on extension type, thereby helping to block some viruses and worms, he said.

Other new features include support for redundant backup devices, digital certificates and content filtering, he said.

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