SonicWALL NSA 250M Beta

| Tuesday, October 25th, 2011 | 1 Comment »


I apologize for the poor image quality. My iPhone 3G is past its prime. It says, “NSA 250 M”.

Last month I was asked by SonicWALL to beta test their soon to be released NSA 250M firewall. This model will be replacing the NSA 240. In my opinion, the NSA series provide an excellent line up of models ranging from the NSA 240, 2400, 2400MX, 3500 and 4500. The NSA 2400 hits the spot in most SMB businesses in my opinion. A quick description of SonicWALL’s Next-Gen Firewalls.

SonicWALL® Next-Generation Firewalls are the cornerstone of the SonicOS Platform, delivering superior gateway protection, inspection for SSL encrypted sessions, and importantly, granular application intelligence and control. With SonicWALL Next-Gen Firewalls, IT can visualize applications running across a network—allocating bandwidth for what’s essential and limiting or blocking what’s not.

SonicWALL’s Reassembly-Free Deep Packet Inspection™ (RFDPI) engine scans every byte of every packet delivering full content inspection of the entire stream while providing high performance and low latency. This technology is superior to outdated proxy designs that reassemble content using sockets bolted to anti-virus programs that are plagued with inefficiencies and overhead of socket memory thrashing that leads to high latency, low performance and file size limitations.

Back to the NSA 250M. The “M” stands for module/modular. This was the first major difference that I saw with the NSA 250M over the NSA240.

The back of the NSA 250M is where the module goes as you can see here.

Modules range from SFP to T1 cards. Now think about this for a minute. You can now run your firewall straight to a core router/switch or any other device via fiber.

With the support for T1, you no longer need an extra CSU/DSU  or some other device that your ISP usually provides, a straight drop to the card and you can turn up your line!

In the front of the NSA 250M you’ll see USB slots. These can be used with 3G/4G cards to provide you a tertiary connection to the internet in case both your primary and secondary WAN fails. So yes, the NSA 250M does support three potential ISP’s. This not a new feature though as it has existed with the current NSA 240.

Below I compare the system information. The most noticeable difference is that the CPU is faster at 700mhz with the NSA 250M compared to just 500mhz with the NSA 240.

Also the RAM has been doubled to 512RAM as opposed to just 256RAM!

My beta test was completely successful and I did not run into any issues. It consisted of:

  • Registering the device
  • Updating the latest beta firmware
  • Creating VPN site-to-site tunnels
  • Creating IPSEC VPN remote access for mobile clients
  • Create SSL-VPN for remote access for mobile clients
  • Testing application intelligence. (I was able to visually see my traffic, very cool!)

Of course there are many features of the firewall that I simply didn’t have the time to test but nothing from what I’ve seen during my testing revealed any problems.

Unfortunately I was unable to test the modular card as I think that would probably provide me the most issues if there were any.

In any event, this looks like to be a solid replacement for the aging NSA 240 and I can’t wait to begin configuring more of these down the road!

I’d like to thank SonicWALL for reaching out to me and giving me the opportunity to beta test one of their newer products!

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