WatchGuard XTM 23-W review

We’ve often criticised WatchGuard for being too complex to manage. With the launch of the XTM 2 series of security appliances, the company tells us this flaw has been fixed. Read this exclusive review of the new XTM 23-W to find out if it has succeeded.

Security is managed using policies which combine settings for each service while AD support has been improved to allow multiple domains to be defined. We found the web interface does indeed provide full access for all security configurations making it much easier to create policies. You have a good choice of proxies and along with HTTP, FTP, SIP, H.323, POP3 and SMTP you finally get HTTPS included as standard.

Even the WebBlocker update process has been sorted out. We never liked the fact that you had to use the Windows Task Scheduler as it just added another layer of complexity but this is now fully automated and runs in the background at predefined intervals.

Although the web interface provides plenty of graphs it doesn't offer any reporting tools. If you want to create PDF based reports on activity you will still need to use WatchGuard's logging and reporting servers. However, these don't require a lot of resources and can run in the background on any Windows system.

The appliance supports 802.11n/b/g wireless connections and can present up to three SSIDs. One is a guest SSID which bridges only with the WAN port to provide secure Internet access for wireless users. When guests load a browser they can be redirected to a custom web page where they must agree to an AUP before they can continue.

Dave Mitchell

Dave is an IT consultant and freelance journalist specialising in hands-on reviews of computer networking products covering all market sectors from small businesses to enterprises. Founder of Binary Testing Ltd – the UK’s premier independent network testing laboratory - Dave has over 45 years of experience in the IT industry.

Dave has produced many thousands of in-depth business networking product reviews from his lab which have been reproduced globally. Writing for ITPro and its sister title, PC Pro, he covers all areas of business IT infrastructure, including servers, storage, network security, data protection, cloud, infrastructure and services.