Cisco SD-WAN vs Fortinet FortiGate comparison

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Comparison Buyer's Guide
Executive Summary
Updated on Mar 16, 2022

We performed a comparison between Fortinet Fortigate and Cisco SD-WAN based on our users’ reviews in four categories. After reading all of the collected data, you can find our conclusion below.

  • Ease of Deployment: For the most part, users of Fortinet Fortigate feel that deploying it is relatively easy and straightforward. One reviewer noted that Fortinet Fortigate is so easy to set up that it could be deployed in just a couple of clicks. Reviewers of Cisco SD-WAN feel that for the most part its deployment is straightforward as well. However, there is some disagreement as to whether it is easy.
  • Features: Fortinet Fortigate users find it to be reliable and point out that it has many valuable features, including its ability to be deployed either on the cloud or on-premises and its various security tools. However, reviewers say that its monitoring and reporting features leave room for improvement.

    Users of Cisco SD-WAN note that it is a stable solution. Furthermore, they note that its ability to be centrally managed is valuable. However, some users feel that its security features could be improved.
  • Pricing: Users of Fortinet Fortigate feel that it is pretty affordable. For the most part, reviewers of Cisco SD-WAN feel that it is an expensive solution to use. Users of both products feel that of these two, Fortinet Fortigate is the cheaper product.
  • Service and Support: Users of both solutions note that they are supported by excellent technological support teams.

Comparison of Results: Based on the parameters we compared, Fortinet Fortigate seems to be the superior solution. All other things being more or less equal, our reviewers found Cisco SD-WAN rather expensive to purchase, not as secure as it should be, and somewhat difficult to deploy.

To learn more, read our detailed Cisco SD-WAN vs. Fortinet FortiGate Report (Updated: January 2023).
670,400 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Q&A Highlights
Question: Would you choose Cisco SD-WAN or Fortinet FortiGate?
Answer: Fortinet includes SD-WAN with no upcharge in the FortiGate NGFW
Featured Review
Quotes From Members
We asked business professionals to review the solutions they use.
Here are some excerpts of what they said:
Pros
"As compared to the other major vendors in the SD-WAN market, such as VeloCloud, Cisco, and others, the tunnel-free and secure vector routing technology is its major USP, which gives plenty of room to discuss with the customer why IPSec from 1998 is a bit outdated."

More Juniper Session Smart Router Pros →

"The availability of services and combining different connections is most valuable.""With other routing protocols, we have had to send team members to perform installations and configurations. There is a lot of work involved. However with SD-WAN, once it is installed it is fully automated, and we can do all other tasks remotely. We don't have to send staff out to the client's location. It's very independent, and we can establish SD-WAN connectivity easily. It is secure as well.""Cisco SD-WAN's most valuable feature is the ease of transition.""The solution is stable and reliable.""The user experience is pretty good.""The solution is great at aggregating the traffic and then sending it in one direction.""The scalability is the most valuable feature.""Cisco SD-WAN's collaborative features are unique and sustainable. I also like the protocols, which use two SD-WAN."

More Cisco SD-WAN Pros →

"I like Fortinet's cloud management. It allows me to manage all my devices in different branches for three cloud accounts. Even though I use on-prem devices, I can manage everything on the cloud.""The multi-tenancy feature is most valuable. It integrates very well with FortiManager and FortiAnalyzer.""I have found Fortinet FortiGate to be scalable.""Initial setup is straightforward. There weren't too many issues with setting it up. It takes one hour or so.""Some of the valuable features are the firewall, IPS, web filter, and gateway capabilities. Additionally, it is easy to use and flexible.""The UTM feature is quite good. FortiAP is easy to deploy because both Fortigate and FortiAP are under the same brand. Otherwise, you need to do more work on the configuration.""The SD-WAN is the most valuable feature.""From the firewall perspective, the rules and policies are very sufficient and easy to use."

More Fortinet FortiGate Pros →

Cons
"The UI of the SSR conductor is the main part where improvements can be done. Today, for every configuration step, you have to do a series of clicks. What we are missing there are wizards. For example, I have two applications, and I want one application to be prioritized against the other. In such a case, a wizard for assigning policies to a service without configuring each step by hand would be very helpful. There should be an overhaul of the GUI of the conductor. The functionality they have got in the Mist portal should be baked into the conductor itself. It would be really great, but as we all know, that won't happen."

More Juniper Session Smart Router Cons →

"Since Cisco acquired Viptela, the stability of this solution has given problems since it is quite new.""It should also be much more affordable for a larger number of customers.""One of the major areas that Cisco can improve on with their SD-WAN offering is their security features. When compared with Fortinet, who have what they call their 'security pillars' (e.g. firewall and security features built-in to their SD-WAN solutions), Cisco generally comes up short. With Cisco, if you need a security component, you have to pay more to get it done. So if they could add more security features that come part and parcel with their existing solutions, then I think Cisco could be very aggressive in the market.""They have taken away our ability to do what we are good at, which is working on the CLI, the interface right on the router. They have limited the commands so much that troubleshooting is nearly impossible.""The solution could be more secure. Security is always a priority for us.""The installation is not easy. If you have experience and it is not your first time doing the installation, it can be easier.""One area for improvement in Cisco SD-WAN is reporting. The report needs to give more visibility to the customer. The security feature in Cisco SD-WAN also needs improvement, particularly if Cisco wants to challenge other brands, such as Fortinet.""The initial setup was not very straightforward, but it gets easier the more deployments you complete."

More Cisco SD-WAN Cons →

"The renewal price and the availability could be improved.""I would like Fortinet to add more automation to FortiGate.""Fortinet Fortigate could benefit by simplifying some of their processes.""Pricing for it is a bit high. It could be cheaper.""Fortinet FortiGate needs to improve to be on par with its competitors, such as Palo Alto and Sophos. They are the market leaders. Fortinet FortiGate needs to improve its capabilities. However, we are happy with Fortinet FortiGate.""Usually, we sell the bundle with the UTM or threat management piece with IPS, IDS. Other providers, such as Palo Alto, are ahead in terms of safe functionality. So, for me, delivering truly safe service is probably something that still needs to be improved.""It is quite new for us, and we need to go more in-depth into the monitoring tools. It provides different features that we need to do what we want. So far, it is okay for us. In terms of improvement, in the future, they can provide a faster implementation of features. Some of the features are first available in other solutions. Fortinet sometimes takes a little bit longer than other solutions, such as Check Point, to implement new features.""When we cluster the two Fortinet FortiGate boxes together we have some issues."

More Fortinet FortiGate Cons →

Pricing and Cost Advice
  • "We are currently renegotiating the offer for the licenses and the license bundle model. The license for an ISP has to be different from the license for an end customer. This is something we are currently renegotiating with Juniper, but, of course, the pricing for the licensing is always an issue when you want to get more customers."
  • More Juniper Session Smart Router Pricing and Cost Advice →

  • "The pricing of this solution is very expensive."
  • "Cisco's pricing is not entirely satisfactory when you compare the SD-WAN solutions in Asian markets — like the South Asian market in Sri Lanka — because there are several competing brands including Fortinet and Citrix, who provide much the same product for a generally lower price. And when it comes to firewall vendors like Palo Alto and SonicWall, they're also selling here. It's the same with VMware, too; they have much the same features."
  • "You have to pay between 3000 and 10,000 euros, or something in that range. The core switches Nexus cost me between 10,000 and 20,000 euros."
  • "Licensing is on a subscription basis."
  • "It's expensive. If you compare Cisco with Fortinet and Juniper, you'll find that Cisco is more expensive than other vendors."
  • "Cisco is more expensive than FortiGate."
  • "In the Russian market where we operate, this solution is expensive."
  • "The price of the solution is the only negative factor, it is much more expensive compared with the Cisco Meraki SD-WAN solution."
  • More Cisco SD-WAN Pricing and Cost Advice →

  • "The price of the license and warranty can be better because it is very expensive."
  • "It's expensive, but compared to the competition it's okay."
  • "In terms of the market, it's not a cheap product, but it's cost-effective."
  • "Fortinet Secure SD-WAN delivered the lowest total cost of ownership (TCO) per Mbps among all other vendors."
  • "I had to pay for the license for the firewall, but it is guaranteed to have updates. I expect a good service for it. It was about €1000 for a year, and there was no additional cost."
  • "It is more expensive than Sophos. Fortinet is overall more expensive than Sophos. The small range of Fortinet, such as 60F and 80F, is more expensive than the small range of Sophos. Sophos is cheaper. In addition, if you jump from 80F Series to 100F Series, the price doubles."
  • "The license is yearly. We pay for the top end. It's called 360."
  • "Here in Brazil, we're going through difficult economic times and the tax on the dollar is high. All the solutions from minor competitors are growing in the market. The prices have come more competitive."
  • More Fortinet FortiGate Pricing and Cost Advice →

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    Questions from the Community
    Top Answer:As compared to the other major vendors in the SD-WAN market, such as VeloCloud, Cisco, and others, the tunnel-free and… more »
    Top Answer:We are currently renegotiating the offer for the licenses and the license bundle model. The license for an ISP has to be… more »
    Top Answer:The UI of the SSR conductor is the main part where improvements can be done. Today, for every configuration step, you… more »
    Top Answer:The solution is expensive and could be cheaper.
    Top Answer: When you compare these firewalls you can identify them with different features, advantages, practices and… more »
    Top Answer:From my experience regarding both the Sophos and FortiGate firewalls, I personally would rather use FortiGate. I know… more »
    Top Answer:As a solution, Sophos UTM offers a lot of functionality, it scales well, and the stability and performance are quite… more »
    Comparisons
    Also Known As
    128T Networking Platform, 128 Technology SD-WAN
    Viptela, Cisco vEdge Cloud Router
    FortiGate 60b, FortiGate 60c, FortiGate 80c, FortiGate 50b, FortiGate 200b, FortiGate 110c, FortiGate
    Learn More
    Overview

    The 128T Networking Platform (128T) natively provides network-based security, control, and insight across data centers, wide-area networks (WAN), and edge locations for enterprises, service providers, and cloud companies alike. 128T is reshaping the way organizations design, deploy, and operate real-world networks by making them dramatically simpler, smarter, and more secure — it’s going to fix the router — and ultimately the network — as we know it.

    Cisco SD-WAN is a software-defined WAN (wide area network) solution that provides for secure stable connections to applications for enterprises and organizations. Cisco SD-WAN works to speed up the seamless movement to the cloud. A very robust and reliable solution, Cisco SD-WAN is cutting-edge in threat security and stability of the complete network and has very low latency. Cisco SD-WAN uses Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS), data centers, and even the internet to smoothly advance the move to a SASE (Service Access Service Edge)-based architecture. The Cisco SD-WAN dashboard gives you a complete visual of your entire infrastructure; you can see everything in real time. You will also have simplified IT operations and gain advanced network capabilities, dependability, and security. One valued feature is the overlay management protocol (OMP), which applies to your entire network to speedily connect all your company data centers. Cisco SD-WAN has a very flexible architecture and can be deployed on premises, in the cloud, hybrid, and even has multi-cloud options. Cisco SD-WAN instantly discovers, authenticates, and provisions all devices, both existing and new.

    Cisco SD-WAN simplifies the management of multiple connections across the WAN, improves the end-user experience, improves overall application functionality and performance, and is a very cost-effective solution. Cisco SD-WAN integrates well with Microsoft 365, Salesforce, and many other cloud-based business solutions. Additionally, Cisco SD-WAN optimizes connectivity and streamlines workflows for Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Azure.

    Benefits of Cisco SD-WAN

    • Increased profitability - Cisco SD-WAN will improve performance and decrease overall connectivity costs.
    • Improved productivity - Cisco SD-WAN requires less staff to manage and secure the WANs so valuable resources can be allocated elsewhere in your organization, increasing total productivity.
    • Flexible scalability- Cisco SD-WAN’s flexible and easily scalable architecture will allow your organization to address significantly greater business opportunities, helping to consistently increase revenue.
    • Enhanced security - Cisco SD-WAN offers real-time policy enforcement, ensuring that downtime and unplanned outages are kept to a minimum.

    What real users have to say:

    Cisco SD-WAN is fast with lower costs: “Using SD-WAN to combine services can result in better up time, higher speeds, and much lower costs.”

    Cisco is a brand you can trust: “Cisco is an industry leader, so customers have a high level of trust with the brand - more so than with some newcomers that might have some more revolutionary solutions, but no name recognition.”

    Cisco SD-WAN offers load-balancing and real-time traffic monitoring: “Load balancing is a feature that allows us to take the best of our links and distribute the load intelligently, always with an eye on the end-customer experience.”

    Fortinet FortiGate is an innovative line of firewalls that aim to protect organizations from all types of web-based network threats. They come in a wide variety of product types. Fortinet FortiGate’s solutions are available in a large range of sizes and form factors and are key components of the Fortinet Security Fabric, which enables immediate, intelligent defense against known and new threats throughout the entire network.

    Fortinet FortiGate provides users with next-generation firewall solutions that provide proven protection with unmatched performance across the network, from internal segments to data centers to cloud environments. You can protect every part of your network without exception. Additionally, your protections can be managed from a single central location. This ensures that the task of protecting your network is infinitely easier to accomplish.

    Benefits of Fortinet FortiGate

    Some of the benefits of using Fortinet FortiGate include:

    • The ability to manage your firewalls from a centralized automated control console. Fortinet FortiGate’s FortiManager enables administrators to exercise control of their firewalls in a streamlined manner. Administrators have full visibility and control over their system from a single location. It utilizes automation that collects information in real time, which greatly simplifies and reduces the cost of running various types of workflows. Administrators can free up resources by automating the most basic tasks.
    • The ability to produce uniform, appropriate, and coordinated responses to threats across networks. Fortinet FortiGate’s FortiGuard feature generates system protections in near real time. This allows administrators to address threats to the system with custom-made solutions that can be uniformly enforced.
    • The ability to scale up your security to fit your changing security needs. Fortinet FortiGate’s design allows users to accelerate the transfer of data between users and escalate the number of users that are covered without compromising security of performance. This means that users can grow their networks and continue to collaborate without worrying about the system slowing down or coming under attack.

    Reviews from Real Users

    Fortinet FortiGate’s firewall solutions are cutting edge. They stand out from competitors for a number of reasons. Two major ones are the robustness and power of their firewalls. Fortinet FortiGate’s firewall provides users with many valuable features that allow them to maximize what they can do with the solution. These firewalls enable users to use a single piece of software to accomplish tasks that often require the use of multiple pieces of software.

    PeerSpot user Eric S., a Solutions Engineer and Consultant at a tech-services company, notes the robustness of this solution when he writes, "One of the nice things about FortiGate is that it can be deployed on the cloud or on-premises. You can actually do both. That's the biggest reason why I stick with this solution as opposed to something like Cisco Meraki. Another nice thing is that I can log directly into a FortiGate or get to it through their FortiCloud access products. They're pretty reliable and consistent. One of the reasons why I started using the product was their single pane of management. I can deploy their line of firewalls in conjunction with their switching and access points, and I can manage the entire network from one interface.”

    PeerSpot user Jim M., a network admin at Penobscot Valley Hospital, notes the power of Fortinet FortiGate’s security software when he writes, "It does a lot for you for intrusion protection and as an antivirus. The threat management bundle is worth the money. You don't need another company to monitor your web traffic for you. You can do everything yourself on the firewall. You restrict your own black list for people on the firewall.”

    Offer
    Learn more about Juniper Session Smart Router
    Learn more about Cisco SD-WAN
    Learn more about Fortinet FortiGate
    Sample Customers
    Revation Systems
    Doyle Research, Ashton Metzler & Associates
    Pittsburgh Steelers, LUSH Cosmetics, NASDAQ, Verizon, Arizona State University, Levi Strauss & Co. Whitepaper and case studies here
    Top Industries
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Computer Software Company19%
    Comms Service Provider13%
    Financial Services Firm7%
    Retailer6%
    REVIEWERS
    Comms Service Provider50%
    Computer Software Company14%
    Financial Services Firm12%
    Transportation Company5%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Computer Software Company21%
    Comms Service Provider18%
    Financial Services Firm7%
    Government6%
    REVIEWERS
    Comms Service Provider17%
    Financial Services Firm10%
    Computer Software Company9%
    Manufacturing Company7%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Comms Service Provider20%
    Computer Software Company19%
    Government6%
    Educational Organization5%
    Company Size
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business22%
    Midsize Enterprise16%
    Large Enterprise62%
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business44%
    Midsize Enterprise16%
    Large Enterprise40%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business21%
    Midsize Enterprise14%
    Large Enterprise65%
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business47%
    Midsize Enterprise24%
    Large Enterprise29%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business30%
    Midsize Enterprise20%
    Large Enterprise50%
    Buyer's Guide
    Cisco SD-WAN vs. Fortinet FortiGate
    January 2023
    Find out what your peers are saying about Cisco SD-WAN vs. Fortinet FortiGate and other solutions. Updated: January 2023.
    670,400 professionals have used our research since 2012.

    Cisco SD-WAN is ranked 2nd in Software Defined WAN (SD-WAN) Solutions with 49 reviews while Fortinet FortiGate is ranked 1st in Software Defined WAN (SD-WAN) Solutions with 89 reviews. Cisco SD-WAN is rated 8.0, while Fortinet FortiGate is rated 8.4. The top reviewer of Cisco SD-WAN writes "Stable, cutting-edge, and robust". On the other hand, the top reviewer of Fortinet FortiGate writes "SSL proxy makes URL filtering easier because the encryption is done before the packet ever leaves ". Cisco SD-WAN is most compared with Versa FlexVNF, Meraki SD-WAN, VMware SD-WAN, Silver Peak Unity EdgeConnect and Huawei Enterprise Routers, whereas Fortinet FortiGate is most compared with Cisco Secure Firewall, pfSense, Sophos XG, Check Point NGFW and Juniper SRX. See our Cisco SD-WAN vs. Fortinet FortiGate report.

    See our list of best Software Defined WAN (SD-WAN) Solutions vendors and best WAN Edge vendors.

    We monitor all Software Defined WAN (SD-WAN) Solutions 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.