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replacing a firewall/vpn router

Posted on 2006-04-20
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I currently have a D-Link DFL-300 and have been extremely happy with it with the exception of two factors:

1) I cannot find a way to successfully manage or secure port 25, because of this some companies are blacklisting my email domain.

2) Internet traffic, at times, completely stalls and connectivity drops for a minute at a time.

Our users can't conduct business this way so it's time to replace the router I believe. Does anyone have advice on a small - medium sized business firewall and VPN router? I have about 25 clients local, and about 5 road warriors. I need something that is stable, configurable, not too difficult to train others on for support backup and has excellent log reporting.

This is a very time sensitive need, hence the high points.
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Question by:Randy Cole
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noctot earned 2000 total points
ID: 16503058
 I doubt you need a new router.
   Could you provide more information on your situation with managing port 25? Are you getting reports from blacklists that you are sending out spam or that you may have open relays? Those are both common reasons for blacklisting and have nothing to do with your router. In fact, very few e-mail abuse issues are best handled by router configurations.
   As far as the Internet traffic dropping, that may be a router problem but you've got a lot of troubleshooting to do first. The first step is to isolate. If your router connects to a modem you'll want to check out it's connection when the service drops. When it is working normally make a note of the color and state (like solid or blinking) of all of its status lights. When you experience the problem check the modem again and compare. If you see any lights labeled something like PWR or SYNC go red then the problem is with your WAN connection or modem. If your router has a built-in modem the same applies. If you see a problem with the status lights call your ISP. If you think your modem or the WAN side of your router is good then you need to ping test.
   Run IPCONFIG /ALL from a DOS prompt and find out your IP address, your default gateway and your DNS servers. The next time the Internet drops ping your gateway and, if successful, ping your DNS servers. You'll have to be quick if it only drops very briefly. The gateway for your PCs should be the router itself so if pings to the gateway drop replace the cabling to the router as see if that helps. If you can ping the router (gateway) but not the DNS servers then the router might be dropping the connection even if you can't tell that by the status lights. Again, call your ISP.
   After that, troubleshooting it gets complicated. Your ISP might be able to assist you if they are cool. Otherwise you would need to hire a LAN tech but it is really hard to find a good one. Ask fellow business owners for recommendations.

   If you'd rather I just shut up and answer your question I'd suggest a Linksys RV042 or a Netopia 3386.
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by:pseudocyber
ID: 16506356
I've heard really good things about Sonicwall.  They seem fairly easy to operate.  Check out this Sonicwall VPN 200 - which can support SSL VPN for up to 50 users.

http://www.sonicwall.com/products/ssl-vpn200.html
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by:lrmoore
ID: 16506624
Probably more than you want to spend for 25 users, but I like the Cisco PIX 506 or the ASA5510. Can't beat the "fixup" smtp mail guard, but it depends on your mail server. Keeping your mail server off the black lists is more a function of how you set up the server, not the firewall in front of it.
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by:pseudocyber
ID: 16506693
lr, how much are those?  I just did a quick google price check and saw a price of around $700 for the SW vpn 200.
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by:lrmoore
ID: 16506984
Refurb 506E around $895
New ASA 5510 $2500
http://www.cdw.com/shop/products/default.aspx?EDC=792590

For 25 users is $100 per user too much to spend for the best if they're losing productivity at $2500/hour in lost time?


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by:pseudocyber
ID: 16507005
Not for me ... but it might be to some Manager types ... ;)
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by:lrmoore
ID: 16507047
Yeah, I know it's hard to squeeze $ out of the bean counters. Most of them simply cannot see the bigger picture.

> Internet traffic, at times, completely stalls and connectivity drops for a minute at a time.
This could be a side affect of something else thats happening, not just the quality of your firewall. To get visibility on what is happening on the LAN, you need something like Ethereal or NTOP  http://www.ntop.org
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