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WatchGuard XTM 26-W review

Despite modest dimensions the WatchGuard’s XTM 26-W appliance provides enterprise level security measures at a price SMBs can afford.

Performance testing

For performance testing we hooked the appliance up to the lab's Ixia XM2 chassis equipped with two Xcellon-Ultra NP load modules. We created an Ixia test that simulated web clients on one Gigabit load module port accessing web servers over HTTP port 80 on another port.

With only the default policy enabled, we saw maximum firewall throughput settle at around 215Mbits/sec. This is well below the quoted speeds but there is a good reason for this as WatchGuard tests using 1518 byte UDP packets.

WatchGuard XTM 26-W - Performance

The lab's Ixia performance testing system reported an average of around 85Mbits/sec throughput with web filtering, IPS and gateway anti-virus enabled

Using lightweight UDP packets doesn't represent real world usage whereas our test does. We could also see from the appliance's web interface that its CPU utilisation was up at 100 percent during the test so there was clearly no more left in the tank.

To test full UTM performance we enabled our WebBlocker policy along with IPS and gateway anti-virus. Running the same Ixia test saw throughput settle at around 85Mbits/sec slightly higher that the quoted UTM speed.

Overall

We don't see the lower firewall performance as an issue as no-one will be buying the XTM 26-W purely for this duty only. UTM performance was acceptable showing the appliance is capable of handling the demands of the target market.

Similar products such as Netgear's ProSecure UTM 50 represent good value and easier to deploy but can't match WatchGuard's features. For the price, there's little on the market that delivers the same level of security services as the XTM 26-W.

ITPRO Value award

Verdict

The XTM 26-W can be tricky to configure but it delivers a range of features at an affordable price for SMBs. Its security policies are versatile and WatchGuard’s application awareness can strictly control social networking in the workplace.

Chassis: Desktop

Performance: 540Mbits/sec firewall; 75Mbits/sec UTM

Memory: 256MB RAM

Network: 5 x Gigabit

Wireless: 2.4GHz n/b/g or 5GHz a/n

Ports: USB, RJ-45 serial

Management: Web browser or WatchGuard software

Software: WatchGuard System and Firebox Manager plus Report, Log and Quarantine servers included

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