SonicWall smashes speed records

New appliance offers enterprise-level UTM performance

User interface remains the same

While the hardware changes are hugely evident in the performance numbers, the Web-based user interface (which most enterprise network managers will find to be easy to learn) and the underlying firewall feature set are little changed from what we saw in our November UTM test.

The strong extra features of the SonicWall family that the products are known for, such as wireless LAN management system, wireless intrusion-detection system, and VoIP using Session Initiation Protocol support, and high-end diagnostic tools, are all still there and haven't changed significantly from prior versions.

One new feature is that IT can change the scanning parameters for UTM features between "Recommended" and "Performance Optimized" settings. A third setting called "Maximum Security" was also included in the firmware we tested, but it will be removed from the next version. SonicWall engineers say they are making the change because the level of security in the "Recommended" and "Maximum" settings was actually the same. SonicWall told us (the feature is so new it isn't in the documentation yet) that this doesn't turn on and off signatures in the IPS or antivirus parts of the product, but rather optimizes how it scans to look for the most common threats. In our performance testing, we saw some fairly dramatic speed differences when we employed the various security settings.

The higher performance of the E7500 on UTM tasks also led us to upgrade its overall IPS score. The management and coverage of the IPS in the E7500 is largely unchanged from Version 4 of the SonicWall software.

The E7500 does still show signs of SonicWall's SMB heritage. So while some features, such as IPS, are now extremely fast, SonicWall hasn't done much to improve the manageability or control of the firewall or the UTM feature set. For example, tuning the IPS to suppress an alert for a particular system is still very difficult and produces a nearly unmaintainable configuration. Similarly, you still cannot have different UTM configuration sets for different zones or different flows through your network. The result is that while this firewall is capable of handling an immense amount of traffic, it fits best into networks where all the traffic should be handled the same way.

If you already love the SonicWall interface and features, the E7500 will be a great way for you to boost performance. On the other hand, if you're unhappy with SonicWall's feature set or management system before, the E7500 won't give you any reason to change your mind.

Bottom line

SonicWall has garnered tremendous loyalty in its customer base by offering network managers a UTM feature set at a competitive price. One of the Achilles' heels of the product line, though, has always been its UTM performance. With the E7500, SonicWall takes their firewall products up to enterprise speeds.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Joel Snyder

Network World
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Jack Jeffries


As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr


The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?