Zyxel ZyWall USG100 Brings Unified Threat Management

By Frank Ohlhorst  |  Print this article Print


Desktop-as-a-Service Designed for Any Cloud ? Nutanix Frame

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.

Frank Ohlhorst Frank J. Ohlhorst is the Executive Technology Editor for eWeek Channel Insider and brings with him over 20 years of experience in the Information Technology field.He began his career as a network administrator and applications program in the private sector for two years before joining a computer consulting firm as a programmer analyst. In 1988 Frank founded a computer consulting company, which specialized in network design, implementation, and support, along with custom accounting applications developed in a variety of programming languages.In 1991, Frank took a position with the United States Department of Energy as a Network Manager for multiple DOE Area Offices with locations at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPL), Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), FermiLAB and the Ames Area Office (AMESAO). Frank's duties included managing the site networks, associated staff and the inter-network links between the area offices. He also served at the Computer Security Officer (CSO) for multiple DOE sites. Frank joined CMP Technology's Channel group in 1999 as a Technical Editor assigned to the CRN Test Center, within a year, Frank became the Senior Technical Editor, and was responsible for designing product testing methodologies, assigning product reviews, roundups and bakeoffs to the CRN Test Center staff.In 2003, Frank was named Technology Editor of CRN. In that capacity, he ensured that CRN maintained a clearer focus on technology and increased the integration of the Test Center's review content into both CRN's print and web properties. He also contributed to Netseminar's, hosted sessions at CMP's Xchange Channel trade shows and helped to develop new methods of content delivery, Such as CRN-TV.In September of 2004, Frank became the Director of the CRN Test Center and was charged with increasing the Test Center's contributions to CMP's Channel Web online presence and CMP's latest monthly publication, Digital Connect, a magazine geared towards the home integrator. He also continued to contribute to CMP's Netseminar series, Xchange events, industry conferences and CRN-TV.In January of 2007, CMP Launched CRNtech, a monthly publication focused on technology for the channel, with a mailed audience of 70,000 qualified readers. Frank was instrumental in the development and design of CRNTech and was the editorial director of the publication as well as its primary contributor. He also maintained the edit calendar, and hosted quarterly CRNTech Live events.In June 2007, Frank was named Senior Technology Analyst and became responsible for the technical focus and edit calendars of all the Channel Group's publications, including CRN, CRNTech, and VARBusiness, along with the Channel Group's specialized publications Solutions Inc., Government VAR, TechBuilder and various custom publications. Frank joined Ziff Davis Enterprise in September of 2007 and focuses on creating editorial content geared towards the purveyors of Information Technology products and services. Frank writes comparative reviews, channel analysis pieces and participates in many of Ziff Davis Enterprise's tradeshows and webinars. He has received several awards for his writing and editing, including back to back best review of the year awards, and a president's award for CRN-TV. Frank speaks at many industry conferences, is a contributor to several IT Books, holds several records for online hits and has several industry certifications, including Novell's CNE, Microsoft's MCP.Frank can be reached at frank.ohlhorst@ziffdavisenterprise.com

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...