Firewalla Gold Plus is the perfect firewall for small businesses and home networks

Imagine you are building a house and you don’t put in a real front door. Instead of a solid and lockable door, imagine putting a piece of fabric over the opening where the door should be to keep people out and secure your belongings. I know it sounds absolutely ridiculous, and yet many people do something very similar to their home network by not adequately protecting it.

The internet contains many bad actors who spend time probing and hacking, always looking for a way to break into a network to see what they can find. And when you consider that your home network probably has devices that could allow a hacker to break into your home. A hacker could be watching your kids, reading your email, and even stealing your banking information and passwords. It’s easy to see how vulnerable many home and business networks are. Seeing it this way, it makes sense to equip your network with a strong digital door and lock to protect valuable personal data.

Today, an average home network has around 25 devices, and a corporate network can have many more. These devices include smartphones, tablets, laptops, smart TVs, surveillance cameras, printers, and wireless speakers. The list is almost endless; Much of the data on these devices is not encrypted and could be vulnerable to attack without a good firewall. When it comes to a business, valuable data, trade secrets and sensitive personal information increase risk to an even higher level.

Firewalla makes a range of hardware firewalls that suit many users. I recently reviewed the Firewalla Purple, a slick portable firewall with a full Linux server running Firewalla’s innovative software so it can stand guard on a network and keep everything and everyone safe. The advantage of the Firewalla series is that you don’t need to know anything about network details to use them effectively. However, if you want to learn more about networks and how to protect them, the Firewalla series allows you to dig deep and learn exactly how a network is used and how well it works.

Firewalla’s latest product is the new Gold Plus Firewall. This incredibly well-made device is housed in a sturdy metal chassis and offers four 2.5Gbps Ethernet ports capable of handling 5Gbps throughput. This is fast enough even for a medium-sized company network. It might be a little overkill for a home network, but it’s arguably one of the best and most comprehensive network security devices for the money.

Assuming you’re lucky enough to have a high-speed fiber optic internet connection, the Firewalla Gold Plus can tie two of those multi-gigabit connections together with load balancing and failover, giving a business a super-fast and resilient internet connection that’s properly protected and can process large amounts of data at high speed.

The Firewalla Gold Plus can be set up and managed using the excellent Firewalla smartphone app. It takes less than 10 minutes to get up and running with the Gold Plus acting as the master router for a home or office network. The Gold Plus can also be used in parallel or single mode by connecting to the network’s main router. In this simple mode, Gold Plus works by ARP spoofing the main router’s IP address, auditing all devices on the network, constantly monitoring their performance, and blocking malicious or unwanted traffic.

The Firewalla Gold Plus monitors and reports a wide variety of network statistics. It can routinely test the status of the internet connection and tell if it’s down or slow. It regularly tests the quality of the connection and reports error packets and ping speeds to alert you when your connection isn’t working optimally. Gold Plus can even test the Wi-Fi network and report on its speed so you’ll know if it needs to be tweaked to deliver higher throughput.

Firewalla Gold Plus can not only block malicious attacks – like denial of service etc. – but also wall off parts of the internet and prevent selected users from accessing social media, video streaming or other categories that you might find in an office or want to block home environment. All of this can be achieved with the Firewalla app. For example, when it’s time for the kids to do their homework, you can use the app to turn off access to the things they shouldn’t see, while still allowing them access to resources they need to see. What the Gold Plus isn’t is an antivirus package. You still need an excellent antiviral package to protect your email.

The data throughput is also logged by the Firewalla Gold Plus, so that it can be found out who is the data eater in the office and who is accessing dodgy websites, which can then be blocked off. The network can even be segmented with unlimited VLANs, allowing departments to have their own secure area or split the home network between work, play and guests. It’s an incredibly flexible system, and it becomes even more useful as you learn to use it. Firewalla also sends out regular emails on how to get the most out of their products and they’re a brilliant and easy way to learn more about networking.

Jerry Chen is one of the brains behind the Firewalla series and a Cisco veteran. What Chen doesn’t know about networking is probably not worth knowing. He and his team regularly release updates to the app and hardware to ensure the latest threats are addressed and blocked. Firewalla’s support team is excellent at answering tricky questions and knows the Firewalla range inside out.

I tested the Firewalla Gold Plus for a week. It was easy to set up and the build quality feels second to none. Inside the metal case is a real Linux server running Ubuntu on an Intel processor. It can even run apps if you want it to. In addition to the four Ethernet 2.5Gbps ports, there are a few USB ports that can even be used to host a USB drive that acts as a NAS (network-attached storage) if you auto-mount -Install app. All of this knowledge and more is available on the Firewalla website and the guides are very educational and easy to follow.

Once the Firewalla Gold Plus is up and running, it can do its job 24/7 while monitoring the data moving across the network. If you need to know something, the app will send you a message and tell you what’s happening. The Gold Plus can even be used as a VPN server or VPN client, offering a secure and encrypted private connection that adds another layer of protection to a network. This is important if you work away from the office and use a public network like a hotel or coffee shop. Firewalla even makes the portable Firewalla Purple easy to take with you on the road.

Another great feature of the Gold Plus when used in router mode is the Smart Queue feature. It is possible to set up rules that allow Gold Plus to prioritize specific traffic in case the network becomes congested. Smart Queue ensures the network runs smoothly by prioritizing specific devices by marking certain categories of data as more critical than others. It’s an incredibly agile and clever feature that keeps an eye on network throughput without requiring expensive human intervention.

Verdict: The new Firewalla Gold Plus Firewall is a must-have tool for corporate networks and would also be useful for hybrid workers who need to access a corporate network securely. The ability to handle 5 Gbps throughput and multi-gig internet connections is a game changer and improvement over the Firewalla Gold. You can see the differences between the two products in the table below. And now that there is a growing number of people working from home, handling sensitive data and requiring secure access to a corporate network, the Firewalla Gold Plus offers a ready-to-use solution that costs less than 0, 00 for home workers can be introduced a high quality front door with a real lock. Whether you’re a network nerd or someone who needs to protect their network, the Firewalla Gold Plus is a valuable tool for protecting a network from malicious attacks and ensuring the smooth running and integrity of a home or office network protects. Highly recommended.

Prices & Availability: The firewall Firewalla Gold Plus is shipping now and costs $579.

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