A six month old start-up is leading the move to offload network security functionality from the PC to a dedicated hardware platform.
NetScreen Technologies will begin shipping its initial offerings in mid-July which combine firewall, VPN and traffic management at 10Mbps and 100Mbps throughput.
NetScreen is at present scouring Europe for distributors. The company will take on competition from such industry giants as Cisco Systems and Check Point Software Technologies.
"NetScreen's high-speed throughput and integrated functions give us an edge over our competitors, almost all of which have separate firewall and traffic-management products," said Richard Hanke, marketing director at NetScreen.
"NetScreen 100 and NetScreen 10 act as a bridge between networked client servers, PCs and routers within corporate LANs and the Internet," he added.
The integrated, all-in-one approach, said Hanke, improves performance and facilitates management for network administrators by eliminating the need for separate devices.
"What differentiates us from our competition is the ease of use of our products as well as the product being basically a self-contained box in one place with all the security features," he said.
Additional features include server load balancing, traffic bandwidth and prioritization management and real-time logging and alarming. The NetScreen products also perform other firewall functions such as network address translation and dynamic filtering. They can support 16,000 concurrent sessions, up to 200 advanced access policies and up to 64,000 site/URL blockings for screening out unwanted Web sites.
"Our Web browser interface makes it easy to understand," Hanke added. "With existing products it is difficult to scale up when you are talking about faster Internet connections. We are targeting high performance for markets such as T1, T3 and ADSL connections," he said.
NetScreen recently set new benchmarks for firewall price, performance at the Interop trade show conducted by KeyLabs, an independent benchmarking concern.
"For firewall customers, performance is critical. Customers need all of the protection offered by a firewall but don't want to sacrifice performance for this layer of security," said Tyler Smith, vice president at KeyLabs. "We were impressed with NetScreen's ability to deliver firewall security, great performance and ease of use all at a price nearly anyone can afford."
NetScreen won for best price/performance on throughput, with a rating of 8.4Mbps per $1,000, compared to 3.7Mbps from its closest competition, Cisco Pix. Both companies were neck-and-neck on throughput overall.
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