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SonicWall NSa vs pfSense comparison

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Featured Review
Find out what your peers are saying about SonicWall NSa vs. pfSense and other solutions. Updated: January 2022.
564,143 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Quotes From Members
We asked business professionals to review the solutions they use.
Here are some excerpts of what they said:
Pros
"There are no issues that we are aware of. It does its job silently in the background.""Feature-wise, we mostly use IPS because it is a security requirement to protect against attacks from outside and inside. This is where IPS helps us out a bunch.""The most valuable feature that Cisco Firepower NGFW provides for us is the Intrusion policy.""The most important features are the intrusion prevention engine and the application visibility and control. The Snort feature in Firepower is also valuable.""I have experience with URL filtering, and it is very good for URL filtering. You can filter URLs based on the categories, and it does a good job. It can also do deep packet inspection.""We have not had to deal with stability issues.""It is one of the fastest solutions, if not the fastest, in the security technology space. This gives us peace of mind knowing that as soon as a new attack comes online that we will be protected in short order. From that perspective, no one really comes close now to Firepower, which is hugely valuable to us from an upcoming new attack prevention perspective.""You do not have to do everything through a command line which makes it a lot easier to apply rules."

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"Is good at blocking IP addresses.""The GUI is easy to understand.""The scalability is very good, where you can do an HA configuration and then bring in another box, if necessary.""The intrusion detection feature is the most valuable. It is an open-source firewall, so there is a lot of material on it. I also find the open VPN capability very nice. It is pretty customizable. The clustering and the high availability are the two biggest things to be able to get out of a firewall.""The initial setup is easy.""The solution is fairly scalable when it comes to integrating with other applications and data sets.""The solution has good customization abilities and plenty of features.""We like the fact that the product is open-source. It's free to use. There are no costs associated with it."

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"The features that I have found most valuable are the firewalling, which is very good and the GUI which is very intuitive. It is easy to use, and provides great security.""They offer good antivirus solutions.""The prices are similar to other vendors and the support is good.""It allows us to block applications, i.e., websites by application type category. It is far more capable than content filtering alone.""The most valuable features are flexibility, ease of setup, and it's a good product cost-wise.""The most valuable features of this solution are intrusion detection, intrusion prevention, and the advanced capture client, which provides live traffic analysis.""It's very flexible and meets our customer's needs.""We like the features, but the main thing is from a commercial and cost perspective it is very good."

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Cons
"The configuration in Firepower Management Center is very slow. Deployment takes two to three minutes. You spend a lot of time on modifications. Whereas, in FortiGate, you press a button, and it takes one second.""The initial setup was a bit complex. It wasn't a major challenge, but due to our requirements and network, it was not very straightforward but still easy enough.""This product is managed using the Firepower Management Center (FMC), but it would be better if it also supported the command-line interface (CLI).""The product line does not address the SMB market as it is supposed to do. Cisco already has an on-premises sandbox solution.""On the VPN side, Firepower could be better. It needs more monitoring on VPNs. Right now, it's not that good. You can set up a VPN in Firepower, but you can't monitor it.""They need a VTI. I know it's going to be available in the next software version, which is the 6.7 version. However, the problem with that is that the 6.7 is going to deprecate all the older IKEv1 deployment tunnels. Therefore, the problem is that we have a lot of customers which are using older encryptions. If I do that, update it, it's not going to work for me.""The visibility for VPN is one big part. The policy administration could be improved in terms of customizations and flexibility for changing it to our needs.""It's mainly the UI and the management parts that need improvement. The most impactful feature when you're using it is the user interface and the user experience."

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"The integration should be improved.""The technical support needs to be improved.""The interface is not very shiny and attractive.""ClamAV AntiVirus can cause some crashes. That service should be improved.""We had training from an advisor for the configuring of this solution and it was not difficult. However, if we were not trained it would have been not as easy.""The usage reports can be better.""The solution requires a lot of administration.""There's a bit of a learning curve during the initial implementation."

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"Some of the configurations could be better.""Do not even consider NetExtender - probably one of the most horrific, nightmare grade Java-based VPN clients. We have but all given up trying to make it work reliably.""Potential improvement around the associated VPN cost""It is not scalable. If your enterprise is growing hard then you have to buy another, bigger product. Maybe if you use it virtually it is more scalable.""The reporting feature could be better because most of the companies want to have the analytics included, which is something that you have to buy separately.""SonicWall does not support DynDNS, yet this is an important feature for smaller companies that do not have a static IP address.""The reporting and monitoring are a bit complex and should be easier in SonicWall NSa because other firewalls I have experienced have been more simple, such as Palo Alto. We are able to receive a clear view of our network. As a general user with little experience, it would be difficult for them to handle.""In terms of improvement, features like App Control do not work properly"

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Pricing and Cost Advice
  • "Cisco pricing is premium. However, they gave us a 50 to 60 percent discount."
  • "There are additional implementation and validation costs."
  • "Cisco, as we all know, is expensive, but for the money you are paying, you know that you are also getting top-notch documentation as well as support if needed."
  • "This product requires licenses for advanced features including Snort, IPS, and malware detection."
  • "This product is expensive."
  • "For me, personally, as an individual, Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall is expensive."
  • "The price of Firepower is not bad compared to other products."
  • "The solution was chosen because of its price compared to other similar solutions."
  • More Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall Pricing and Cost Advice →

  • "This solution provides enterprise-level features at a fraction of the cost of an enterprise firewall."
  • "It is an open source firewall."
  • "We are using the open-source version, not the commercial one."
  • "It has almost zero cost, and it is open to us. It runs on a small appliance just for a couple of 100 bucks, and I've never had an appliance burn out on me yet."
  • "It is open source."
  • "I spent a couple of $1,000 on hardware, and the OS was free. A comparable firewall would cost me probably 20 grand. It saved a lot of money."
  • "I like the fact that it is open-source."
  • "pfSense is open-source, but the support is something that the customer pays for."
  • More pfSense Pricing and Cost Advice →

  • "Licensed features provide application control, content filtering, antivirus, and anti-malware all in a single appliance."
  • "The CPUs are not able to compete with a similar price point to the Fortinet, WatchGuard, or Palo Alto product."
  • "A firewall doing anti-spam might be a low cost solution, but it is not your best strategy."
  • "You need their analyzer to properly generate reports. This is an expensive, licensed feature, with a complex application or appliance back-end."
  • "If you want to connect more than five concurrent users by VPN then you have to pay an additional fee."
  • "SonicWall is a one-time purchase and there is no renewal license."
  • "The pricing and value are good."
  • "The pricing is good and we are satisfied with the cost of this solution."
  • More SonicWall NSa Pricing and Cost Advice →

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    Questions from the Community
    Top Answer: 
    When you compare these firewalls you can identify them with different features, advantages, practices and… more »
    Top Answer: 
    The Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall is a very powerful and very complex piece of anti-viral software. When one considers… more »
    Top Answer: 
    It is easy to integrate Cisco ASA with other Cisco products and also other NAC solutions. When you understand the Cisco… more »
    Top Answer: 
    Fortinet’s Fortigate is a firewall solution we use and are very much satisfied with its performance. We find Fortigate… more »
    Top Answer: 
    Two of the most common and well recognized firewalls, PfSense and OPNsense both support site-to-site IPsec VPN and… more »
    Top Answer: 
    pfSense is a nice product, and I find that there's a lot of information out there. There are some good tutorials on… more »
    Top Answer: 
    The antivirus and items of that nature were quite helpful to have.
    Top Answer: 
    Our organization would pay for a license every two to three years.
    Top Answer: 
    Sometimes I found the GUI and some of the features a little bit hard to navigate, as opposed to Fortigate, which is much… more »
    Comparisons
    Also Known As
    Cisco Firepower NGFW, Cisco Firepower Next-Generation Firewall, FirePOWER, Cisco NGFWv
    NSA 250M, NSA 2600, NSA 3600, NSA 4600, NSA 5600, Dell SonicWALL NSA
    Learn More
    Netgate
    Video Not Available
    Overview

    Cisco NGFW firewalls deliver advanced threat defense capabilities to meet diverse needs, from
    small/branch offices to high performance data centers and service providers. Available in a wide
    range of models, Cisco NGFW can be deployed as a physical or virtual appliance. Advanced threat
    defense capabilities include Next-generation IPS (NGIPS), Security Intelligence (SI), Advanced
    Malware Protection (AMP), URL filtering, Application Visibility and Control (AVC), and flexible VPN
    features. Inspect encrypted traffic and enjoy automated risk ranking and impact flags to reduce event
    volume so you can quickly prioritize threats. Cisco NGFW firewalls are also available with clustering
    for increased performance, high availability configurations, and more.
    Cisco Firepower NGFWv is the virtualized version of Cisco's Firepower NGFW firewall. Widely
    deployed in leading private and public clouds, Cisco NGFWv automatically scales up/down to meet
    the needs of dynamic cloud environments and high availability provides resilience. Also, Cisco NGFWv
    can deliver micro-segmentation to protect east-west network traffic.
    Cisco firewalls provide consistent security policies, enforcement, and protection across all your
    environments. Unified management for Cisco ASA and FTD/NGFW physical and virtual firewalls is
    delivered by Cisco Defense Orchestrator (CDO), with cloud logging also available. And with Cisco
    SecureX included with every Cisco firewall, you gain a cloud-native platform experience that enables
    greater simplicity, visibility, and efficiency.
    Learn more about Cisco’s firewall solutions, including virtual appliances for public and private cloud.

    Providing comprehensive network security solutions for the enterprise, large business and SOHO, pfSense solutions bring together the most advanced technology available to make protecting your network easier than ever before. Our products are built on the most reliable platforms and are engineered to provide the highest levels of performance, stability and confidence.
    Achieve a deeper level of security with the SonicWALL Network Security Appliance (NSA) Series of next-generation firewalls. NSA Series appliances integrate automated and dynamic security capabilities into a single platform, combining the patented, SonicWALL Reassembly Free Deep Packet Inspection (RFDPI) firewall engine with a powerful, massively scalable, multi-core architecture. Now you can block even the most sophisticated threats with an intrusion prevention system (IPS) featuring advanced anti-evasion capabilities, SSL decryption and inspection, and network-based malware protection that leverages the power of the cloud.
    Offer
    Learn more about Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall
    Learn more about pfSense
    Learn more about SonicWall NSa
    Sample Customers
    Rackspace, The French Laundry, Downer Group, Lewisville School District, Shawnee Mission School District, Lower Austria Firefighters Administration, Oxford Hospital, SugarCreek, Westfield
    Nerds On Site Inc., RKC Development Inc., Expertech, Fisher's Technology, Ncisive, Consulting, CPURX, Vaughn's Computer House Calls, Imeretech LLC, Digital Crisis, Carolina Digital Phone, Technigogo Technology Services, The Simple Solution, SwiftecITInc, Rocky Mountain Tech Team, Free Range Geeks, Alaska Computer Geeks, Lark Information Technology, Renaissance Systems Inc., Cutting Edge Computers, Caretech LLC, GoVanguard, Network Touch Ltd, P.C. Solutions.Net, Vision Voice and Data Systems LLC, Montgomery Technologies, Techforce, Concero Networks, ASONInc, CPS Electronics and Consulting, Darkwire.net LLC, IT Specialists, MBS-Net Inc., VOICE1 LLC, Advantage Networking Inc., Powerhouse Systems, Doxa Multimedia Inc., Pro Computer Service, Virtual IT Services, A&J Computers Inc., Envision IT LLC, CommunicaONE Inc., Bone Computer Inc., Amax Engineering Corporation, QPG Ltd. Co., IT 101 Inc., Perfect Cloud Solutions, Applied Technology Group Inc., The Digital Sun Group LLC, Firespring
    Orange County Rescue Mission, First Source, Michaels & Taylor, Green Clinic Health System, Aspire Chiltern Skills and Enterprise Centre, UnitedStack, Faith Lutheran College Redlands, Celtic Manor Resort, Star Kay White, Air Works, Unimat Life, NHS Yorkshire and Humber Commissioning Support (YHCS), Hutt City Council, Mato Grosso do Sul, Nspyre
    Top Industries
    REVIEWERS
    Comms Service Provider22%
    Financial Services Firm16%
    Non Profit8%
    Government8%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Comms Service Provider33%
    Computer Software Company21%
    Government7%
    Manufacturing Company4%
    REVIEWERS
    University10%
    Comms Service Provider10%
    Marketing Services Firm8%
    Computer Software Company6%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Comms Service Provider44%
    Computer Software Company15%
    Government6%
    Media Company4%
    REVIEWERS
    Manufacturing Company17%
    Educational Organization14%
    Healthcare Company10%
    Insurance Company7%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Comms Service Provider27%
    Computer Software Company20%
    Government6%
    Educational Organization5%
    Company Size
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business43%
    Midsize Enterprise28%
    Large Enterprise29%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business21%
    Midsize Enterprise13%
    Large Enterprise66%
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business70%
    Midsize Enterprise17%
    Large Enterprise13%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business56%
    Midsize Enterprise14%
    Large Enterprise30%
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business65%
    Midsize Enterprise18%
    Large Enterprise18%
    Find out what your peers are saying about SonicWall NSa vs. pfSense and other solutions. Updated: January 2022.
    564,143 professionals have used our research since 2012.

    pfSense is ranked 3rd in Firewalls with 60 reviews while SonicWall NSa is ranked 17th in Firewalls with 38 reviews. pfSense is rated 8.6, while SonicWall NSa is rated 7.8. The top reviewer of pfSense writes "Feature-rich, well documented, and there is good support available online". On the other hand, the top reviewer of SonicWall NSa writes "A rugged solution capable of defeating advanced threats". pfSense is most compared with OPNsense, Fortinet FortiGate, Sophos UTM, Sophos XG and Zyxel Unified Security Gateway, whereas SonicWall NSa is most compared with Meraki MX, Fortinet FortiGate, WatchGuard Firebox, SonicWall TZ and Sophos UTM. See our SonicWall NSa vs. pfSense report.

    See our list of best Firewalls vendors.

    We monitor all Firewalls reviews to prevent fraudulent reviews and keep review quality high. We do not post reviews by company employees or direct competitors. We validate each review for authenticity via cross-reference with LinkedIn, and personal follow-up with the reviewer when necessary.