We performed a comparison between Meraki MX and pfSense based on our users’ reviews in five categories. After reading all of the collected data, you can find our conclusion below.
Comparison Results: The main difference between the two solutions is that Meraki MX is expensive, while pfSense is an open-source solution and is free of charge. In addition, Meraki’s monitoring capabilities could use improvement.
"The inspection and web security features are most valuable."
"I'm pretty happy with its reliability. It is also very scalable."
"The performance is good."
"It is simple to manage, and there are a lot of functionalities in the same box."
"FortiGate is very simple to manage and easy to use."
"FortiGate firewalls are user-friendly, and I like the security profiling features."
"FortiGate is on the cheaper end, and it offers good value."
"The wireless control is helpful."
"WAN optimization is the best feature of the solution."
"Ease of management is the best thing about the solution."
"MX is easy to manage, configure and install."
"Since it has an integrated dashboard for all the products, customers can get complete network analytics regarding what the user is doing, monitoring, and observing."
"Its ease of configuration and management is very useful for us and for other companies that don't have an onsite IT person. It is easy to configure and easy to manage. It is easy to configure the VPN with the Auto VPN feature."
"Very easy to use and navigate."
"What I like best about Meraki MX is that it's easy to deploy remotely. The product works. It has automatic updates. I also like that Meraki MX is a brilliant device. You turn it on, stick the key in there, activate it, and then you're done. Meraki MX does what my customers need at the end of the day, so I also like that."
"The simplicity of configuration is the most valuable feature of the solution."
"What I like about pfSense is that it works well and runs on an inexpensive appliance."
"The product’s documentation is good."
"pfSense is a nice product, and I find that there's a lot of information out there. There are some good tutorials on YouTube and other websites with helpful information."
"It is very easy to use. The interface is quite understandable. There is a good community, and I can take over at any time I want. If there is anything wrong with it, I could just reinstall the whole thing and start all over again, and I'll be up again in less than a few minutes"
"The plugins or add-ons are most valuable. Sometimes, they are free of charge, and sometimes, you have to pay for them, but you can purchase or download very valuable plugins or add-ons to perform internal testing of your network and simulate a denial-of-service attack or whichever attack you want to simulate. You can also remote and monitor your network and see where the gap is. Did you forget a printer port? Most attacks at the moment are happening through printers, and they can tell you immediately that you forgot to close the port of the printer. There are more than one million printers that are in danger, and everybody knows that hackers are using them to enter the network. So, you can download plugins to protect your network."
"The most valuable features of pfSense are security, user-friendliness, and helpful online management."
"It is a very good solution for enterprises that need a VPN for their employees. It is the best way to provide a remote work facility to employees at a very low cost. Other solutions that I have had in the past were very expensive. Enterprises don't always have that kind of money to invest."
"What I found most valuable is the cost of the platform, the flexibility of the platform, and the fact that the ongoing fees are not there as they are with the competitor. Some people may think you're taking a risk with using Opensource. I think it just provides the end user, specifically for us small, medium business providers of services, the flexibility we need at the right cost to provide them a higher end, almost enterprise type service."
"Fortinet FortiGate should improve the VPN tokens."
"While FortiGate is cheaper than most other solutions, we're seeing increased license renewal costs. Most of our clients are asking for more significant discounts because the price is going up."
"They have to just improve its performance when we enable all UTM features. When you enable all the features, the performance of FortiGate, as well as of Sophos and SonicWall, goes down."
"Fortigate's hardware capacities could be improved."
"The firmware needs improvement because there are bugs when a new release comes through. Sometimes, the configuration changes, and it's a bit harder to see where the fail is. The first time that you have the firmware, it tends to have some issues, and it's better to wait a bit to update the equipment."
"Fortinet FortiGate needs to improve the logging and reporting. Additionally, the next-generation application's policies should be improved. When they were released they had bugs."
"I would like to see improvements in the product's application rules."
"I would like reporting to be improved and should offer a lot more tools to monitor the products."
"An area for improvement in Meraki MX is that it needs some provision, as supplying the unit through Cisco can be tedious at times, but as far as the product itself and its offerings, Meraki MX is five-star all the way."
"Could possibly use deeper configurations."
"It is very expensive."
"Meraki has some hidden features and information that is only privy to their engineers. If that information became available to us, then it would improve our ease of management, and we would be able to make certain adjustments instead of having to go to them."
"The configuration options for firewall and IPS have limitations."
"Direct logging is something that can be introduced. In the absence of cloud management, the possibility of local configurations and on-premise logins becomes restricted. This limitation stands as a primary concern. When it comes to resolving issues, the inability to access login options hampers troubleshooting efforts. The stability is noteworthy; but when compared to alternative products, its stability is comparatively lower. Additionally, certain limitations are observed in terms of remote control. Price-wise, the solution stands out for its competitive and cost-effective nature compared to other alternatives. Operationally, it is user-friendly and requires minimal effort from administrators, making configuration hassle-free."
"It would be nice to get detailed logging information without third-party software."
"The current lead time is longer for Meraki MX, and it needs to be improved."
"The solution could be more user-friendly, and the graphical interface needs some work so that someone without an IT background can use the application. I would like the ability to manage the on-premise appliance from the cloud. When I'm not in the office, it would be great to connect to the pfSense server and administer the network remotely."
"Ease of use is a problem for a user who is unfamiliar with this product because, in the interface, everything has to be set manually."
"I'd like to find something in pfSense that is more specific to URL filtering. We have customers who would like to filter their web traffic. They would like to be able to say to their employees, "You can surf the web, but you cannot get access to Facebook or other social media," or "You can surf the web, but you're not allowed to gamble or watch porn on the web." My technicians say that doing this kind of stuff with pfSense nowadays is not easy. They can implement some filters using IP addresses but not by using the names of the domains and categories. So, we are not able to exclude some categories from the allowed traffic, such as porn, gambling, etc. To do that, we have to use another product and another web filter that uses DNS. I know that there are some third-party products that could work with pfSense, but I'd like the native pfSense solution to do that."
"The solution could improve by having centralized management and API support online."
"pfSense could improve by having a sandboxing feature that I have seen in SonicWall. However, maybe it is available I am not aware of it."
"More documentation would be great, especially on new features because sometimes, when new features come out, you don't get to understand them right off the bat. You have to really spend a lot of time understanding them. So, more documentation would be awesome."
"Other solutions provide more scope for growth. For instance, we can have only 10 to 20 employees on VPN, but other solutions can support more users. We also have more capabilities to increase the performance of the solution."
"I expect a better interface with more log analysis because I create my own interface."
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:
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.”
Cisco Meraki MX appliances are next-generation firewalls with all the advanced security services needed for today’s IT security. The appliances are ideal for organizations considering a unified threat management (UTM) solution for branch offices, data centers, distributed sites, or campuses. Since Meraki MX is 100% cloud-managed, installation and remote management are simple and zero-touch.
Meraki MX’s hardware and virtual appliances are configurable in Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Google Cloud Platform, and private cloud support is offered through Cisco NFVIS and Alibaba Cloud.
Organizations of all sizes and across all industries rely on Meraki MX to deliver secure connectivity to hub locations or multi-cloud environments, as well as application quality of experience (QoE) through advanced analytics with machine learning.
Cisco Meraki’s advanced QoE analytics offers:
Cisco Meraki’s SD-WAN offers:
The Meraki MX’s SD-WAN is unique in that it can be easily extended to deliver optimized access to resources in public and private cloud environments with virtual MX appliances. Its SD-WAN lowers operational costs and improves the performance of remotely-accessed resources. Users can ensure the availability of the apps and services their employees use most through dynamic path selection, policy-based routing, support for application-layer profiles, and VPN.
Meraki MX offers industry-leading cloud management that has template-based settings which can scale easily from small deployments to tens of thousands of devices. It features an intuitive web-based dashboard for managing mobile devices, united firewalls, switching, and wireless LAN. Users can also benefit from role-based administration, configurable email alerts for a variety of important events, and easily auditable change logs. Meraki MX is capable of producing summary reports with device, user, and application details archived in the cloud.
Meraki MX Key Features
MX has a robust suite of network services in an all-in-one device, which saves you money by eliminating the need for multiple appliances. These services include:
Reviews from Real Users
Meraki MX stands out among its competitors for a number of reasons. Two major ones are its easy management and its ability to be accessed remotely. Below is some feedback from PeerSpot users who are currently using Meraki MX as their firewall security solution.
Craig B., a central services engineer at Liberty Technology, writes, “The web console for managing everything keeps everything on Meraki and keeps us from going somewhere else. It is why I think a lot of people like Meraki. Comparing it to SonicWall or even a different Cisco firewall, like traditional ASAs, managing Meraki is a thousand times easier because of fluidity. You don't have to rebuild a table just to change one rule. It's much more readable for a human.”
Edgardo C., an IT director, notes,”By using the VPN, we can connect remotely. We have two offices, and we could connect them through the VPN. We could establish a network between two sites, and that has improved and increased communication and productivity. Our remote site is able to access the server remotely.”
pfSense is a powerful and reliable network security appliance primarily used for security purposes such as firewall and VPN or traffic shaping, network management, and web filtering. It is commonly used by small businesses and managed service providers to protect their customers' networks and enable remote access through VPNs.
The solution is praised for its stability, user-friendly interface, scalability potential, open-source nature, free cost, easy installation, firewall capabilities, security features, flexibility, and simplicity. Overall, pfSense is a cost-effective solution for enterprises that need a VPN for their employees.
pfSense Key Features
pfSense has many key features and capabilities, including:
Reviews from Real Users
Below is some feedback from PeerSpot Users who are currently using the solution.
Bojan O., CEO at In.sist d.o.o., says, “The classic features, such as content inspection, content protection, and the application-level firewall, are the most important."
Another PeerSpot user, a chef at a media company, explains what he finds most valuable about pfSense: "The plugins or add-ons are most valuable. Sometimes, they are free of charge, and sometimes, you have to pay for them, but you can purchase or download very valuable plugins or add-ons to perform internal testing of your network and simulate a denial-of-service attack or whichever attack you want to simulate. You can also remote and monitor your network and see where the gap is."
T.O., a VP of Business Development at a tech services company, mentions, "What I found most valuable is the cost of the platform, the flexibility of the platform, and the fact that the ongoing fees are not there as they are with the competitor."
Meraki MX is ranked 3rd in Unified Threat Management (UTM) with 21 reviews while Netgate pfSense is ranked 2nd in Firewalls with 22 reviews. Meraki MX is rated 7.8, while Netgate pfSense is rated 8.6. The top reviewer of Meraki MX writes "Provides good visibility, easy to configure and manage, and good for small businesses". On the other hand, the top reviewer of Netgate pfSense writes "Feature-rich, well documented, and there is good support available online". Meraki MX is most compared with Cisco Secure Firewall, Palo Alto Networks NG Firewalls, Sophos XG, SonicWall NSa and SonicWall TZ, whereas Netgate pfSense is most compared with OPNsense, Sophos XG, Untangle NG Firewall, Sophos UTM and Azure Firewall. See our Meraki MX vs. Netgate pfSense report.
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