Fortinet Debuts 1 Gbps Firewall in New Security Appliances

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Network security provider Fortinet (NASDAQ: FTNT) added two new multi-threat security appliances to its product lineup Tuesday, aimed at small branch offices of distributed enterprises, SOHOs (small office/home office) and small businesses, and service providers delivering managed services in customer premise equipment (CPE) deployments.

"It's really about our ability to bring new levels of performance into different market segments," said Chris Simmons, director of product strategy at Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Fortinet. "It's all about delivering an appliance that can serve multiple markets."

The new FortiGate-60C and FortiWifi-60C appliances deliver 1 Gbps of firewall inspection performance at an entry-level price, and feature a secure digital high-capacity (SDHC) card slot for storage expansion, 3G network connectivity, local logging and reporting, WAN optimization, and simplified setup through its USB interface. They both include the full version of FortiOS 4.0 MR2 firmware.

In addition to functioning as a dedicated enterprise-class firewall with tightly integrated IPS and complete content protection (CCP), the appliances integrate IPSec/SSL VPN, antivirus/anti-malware, intrusion prevention, Web filtering, anti-spam, data loss prevention, and voice security services into a single device. The features can be deployed in any combination, all determined by the customer for maximum deployment flexibility. The FortiWifi-60C supports 802.11 a/b/g/n connectivity.

Simmons explained that the high performance of the two new appliances—only available in much more expensive appliances until now—is due to Fortinet's new system-on-a-chip (SOC) architecture, which combines a traditional system CPU with Fortinet's proprietary FortiASIC content and network processors. The new architecture allows Fortinet to fit more technology on the chip while simultaneously making them faster and more reliable.

"Getting the performance down into the entry-level was really the goal here," Simmons said. "We plan to continue to use it to drive more and more functionality down into the entry-level of this technology."

The FortiGate-60C and FortiWifi-60C appliances also incorporate an SDHC card slot and ExpressCard slot. The devices come standard with a 4GB SDHC card for event logging, and support up to 32GB cards. Customers who install a 16GB or larger card will gain access to the devices' Web caching and WAN optimization features.

The ExpressCard slot supports a 3G wireless card for secure mobile deployments or redundant WAN connections to ensure data availability.

To make the devices easy for SMBs to deploy, the devices include the FortiExplorer setup wizard, which automatically launches when the customer connects the appliance to a Microsoft Windows PC via USB. FortiExplorer walks the customer through configuration and deployment of the device onto the network.

Simmons noted that the new devices should be especially attractive to businesses that are expanding into the cloud. As SOHOs, small businesses, and distributed enterprises expose themselves to Web-based applications, they require greater identification and control over those applications. The FortiGate-60C and FortiWifi-60C CCP feature integrates content-aware security technologies into the firewall to identify threats, providing the ability to enforce rigorous and granular security policies down to the application level, independent of port or protocol.

"We're seeing a higher drive toward moving information into the cloud," Simmons said. "We need to be able to ensure we can identify applications by what they are and provide a very finite, granular level of control over those applications."

The FortiGate-60C appliance is $595, or $895 with Fortinet's security software bundle. The FortiWifi-60C appliance is $695, or $995 with the security software bundle. The security bundle includes: antivirus/antispyware, IPS and Web filtering, anti-spam, application control, database security, vulnerability management, Web application firewall, and 8x5 FortiCare.

Fortinet employs per-device licensing rather than a per-seat model.

"We don't limit the device in any way to a certain number of users," Simmons said. "The device does what the device can do and we put no artificial limitations on that."

Thor Olavsrud is a freelance writer and a former senior editor of InternetNews.com. He has covered operating systems, standards, telecom and security, among other technologies.