Zyxel ZyWall USG100 Brings Unified Threat ManagementBy Frank Ohlhorst | Posted 2008-09-08 Email Print
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With the ZyWall USG100 Unified Threat Management appliance, Zyxel dares to go beyond the firewall concept and tread where Symantec, Sonicwall, Fortinet and WatchGuard reign supreme.
The word "firewall" conjures up all sorts of images, and therein lies the problem. That word has become a catchall for an abundance of security products, both software- and hardware-based, which can share very little in common. While the industry continues to struggle with the question of what exactly a firewall is, networking vendor Zyxel Communications has decided to move beyond the term firewall and classify its latest device, the Zywall USG100, as a Unified Threat Management appliance.
Simply put, the USG100 is much more than a firewall; it is an appliance that protects networks from a variety of security threats, from malware to intrusions to spam. What's more, the USG100 offers VPN support—SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) and IP Security—as well as bandwidth management and a slew of other features.
At first glance, the USG100's feature set seems impressive, especially at an MSRP of just $649, but one has to realize that the UTM market is crowded at best, oversaturated at worst and dominated by industry giants such as Symantec, Sonicwall and Fortinet. All of those vendors have products that are pretty close in features to Zyxel's USG100, making Zyxel's leap into the market a challenging one.
Fortunately, Zyxel has a few elements on its side when it comes to entering a challenging market. First off, the company has a strong channel commitment and is devoted to partners. Secondly, the USG100 is offered at a price that is several hundred dollars lower than its competitors. Thirdly, Zyxel has gone to great lengths to incorporate features that attempt to best the competition in several areas, ranging from speed to capacity to ease of use.