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Router with content filter

Posted on 2014-11-25
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Last Modified: 2015-01-03
Hi

I'm looking for suggestion on cable routers with content filtering

The network has 100 pcs and is a school, the content filtering would need to have a bypass option for teachers if possible

Thanks in advance
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Question by:techsolve1
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by:Aaron
Aaron earned 125 total points
ID: 40465148
You can look at these two brands:

Barracuda
https://www.barracuda.com/products/webfilter

Sonicwall
http://www.sonicwall.com/us/en/products/Network_Security_Content_Filtering_Categories.html

I have had great success with both in the past.
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by:techsolve1
ID: 40465252
Do you have any models from sonic wall that you would recommend

Thanks
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by:Asif Bacchus
Asif Bacchus earned 250 total points
ID: 40465255
Aaron has two great suggestions.  I would like to offer an additional suggestion that is perhaps slightly more work, but allows for more variety in choosing a router and possibly more customized control.

I would suggest looking at coupling services such as OpenDNS with a router that supports dd-wrt custom firmware (check the website dd-wrt.com for supported routers, there are hundreds).  The two together give you many options and allow for quite a lot of flexibility in setting up filtering options.  As an example, check out http://www.4thinker.com/parental-control.html to see how one person has blocked pornographic websites using OpenDNS and dd-wrt.

If you're interested, I can provide more details or answer specific questions about such a setup.  I just thought I'd throw this option out there for you to consider since it let's you use a variety of off-the-shelf routers and I know working for schools that the budget is always a concern!
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tolinrome earned 125 total points
ID: 40465275
Well. there are two different ways you could go with this.
1. As mentioned by the experts above, a hardware device in your school.
2. Having all web traffic filter in the cloud, which is becoming much more popular.

Aside from budget and just technical thoughts here i would consider, as suggested by Asif Bacchus, looking into OpenDNS (I've had great success with it before as well). Its fully operational from the cloud. You login to the portal and manage from there what you want to block etc. You would usually put their DNS server IP address as forwarders on your domain controllers, so you're filtering through DNS. They have different methods in which you can choose. They even had the free method when I was doing it, but they started charging for it.
You can also use Bluecoat, which is an enterprise solution from SMB to large companies worldwide - they have both the hardware device and cloud option.

The good thing about the cloud option is that you don't have to worry about hardware and software failure from your end and about updating hardware and firmware etc. and all you do is log into the portal and manage your web filter. Many products come with what you require such as a "bypass group" and you can also integrate your Active Directory environment with the product for user reporting if needed.

Also, you'll want to make sure the product supports the web browsers that you use in school, some kids may try to get fancy and try to put a proxy in the browser to bypass the filter. Most products, like Bluecoat, will allow you to control the browser settings and you can also install agents on the users machines that control these things as well.

I've been through this and know that whats a requirement now usually changes on short notice. They may start asking you about how to protect laptops and mobile devices next, so all these things you need to consider.
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by:Asif Bacchus
Asif Bacchus earned 250 total points
ID: 40465314
Tolinrome raises some great points!  Just so you know, you can also prevent things like proxy settings via Group Policy assuming you are using IE.  So, sort out what route you'd like to go (I also recommend using cloud-based DNS management for this) and then post back if you need some help with GPO settings and the like.
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Expert Comment

by:Aaron
ID: 40465347
I would contact the vendor directly and build a relationship with them. Generally you will talk to a sales guy but if you give them the rundown of your network and the needs you have they will help you find the best product. If you think they pick somthing "way excessive" post your question here and we will let you know if you really need that much power. However my usual suggestion is to leave room for expansion as scalability can be a pain to deal with later on. Most of these systems run 10-15 years if maintained and updated so I can't say I have had to buy any recently. The nice thing of working with the vendor is later on if you need accessories you can work with them and often times having a relationship they will give you discounts. I haven't had to deal with purchasing through sonicwall vendors personally but that is generally how it works. Also you could probably share more of your network specifics with 1 rep than you can here on exchange.
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by:Network Zero
ID: 40471111
Sonic wall 3500 done.
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