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SonicWall NSa vs pfSense comparison

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Featured Review
Find out what your peers are saying about SonicWall NSa vs. pfSense and other solutions. Updated: January 2022.
563,780 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Quotes From Members
We asked business professionals to review the solutions they use.
Here are some excerpts of what they said:
Pros
"The customer service/technical support is very good with this solution.""It's got the capabilities of amassing a lot of throughput with remote access and VPNs.""I have integrated it for incidence response. If there is a security event, the Cisco firewall will automatically block the traffic, which is valuable.""The dashboard is the most important thing. It provides good visibility and makes management easy. Firepower also provides us with good application visibility and control.""The feature set is fine and is rarely a problem.""The solution offers very easy configurations.""The most valuable features of this solution are the integrations and IPS throughput.""Feature-wise, we mostly use IPS because it is a security requirement to protect against attacks from outside and inside. This is where IPS helps us out a bunch."

More Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall Pros →

"I have found the firewall portion for the blocking most valuable.""Sophos Intercept X is scalable. Currently, we have almost 30 people using it in our company.""Some of the terminologies were more familiar to me than it was when I first encountered Cisco.""I mostly like all of it. Whatever we use is valuable.""Good basic firewall features.""One of the advantages of pfSense is that it is very easy to work with. It is a very good open-source solution, and it works really well. pfSense provides a complete package. For some features, it could be the first solution in the world. It is a very good alternative in the market for a firewall solution. You don't need to go to Cisco or other brands with expensive firewalls. pfSense also allows us to offer some support services.""I am happy with the EPLS, the radius, and I am happy with the captive portal.""Technical support is perfect, excellent."

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"The antivirus and items of that nature were quite helpful to have.""The prices are similar to other vendors and the support is good.""Easy to setup and implement""They offer good antivirus solutions.""It allows us to block applications, i.e., websites by application type category. It is far more capable than content filtering alone.""This product is user-friendly and easy to configure.""Support has improved dramatically since their separation from Dell.""The most valuable features are flexibility, ease of setup, and it's a good product cost-wise."

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Cons
"It would be great if some of the load times were faster.""I would like it to have faster deployment times. A typical deployment could take two to three minutes. Sometimes, it depends on the situation. It is better than it was in the past, but it could always use improvement.""FirePOWER does a good job when it comes to providing us with visibility into threats, but I would like to see a more proactive stance to it.""It's mainly the UI and the management parts that need improvement. The most impactful feature when you're using it is the user interface and the user experience.""One feature I would like to see, that Firepower doesn't have, is email security. Perhaps in the future, Cisco will integrate Cisco Umbrella with Firepower. I don't see why we should have to pay for two separate products when both could be integrated in one box.""We're getting support but there's a big delay until we get a response from their technical team. They're in the USA and we're in Africa, so that's the difficulty. When they're in the office, they respond.""An area of improvement for this solution is the console visualization.""When you make any changes, irrespective of whether they are big or small, Firepower takes too much time. It is very time-consuming. Even for small changes, you have to wait for 60 seconds or maybe more, which is not good. Similarly, when you have many IPS rules and policies, it slows down, and there is an impact on its performance."

More Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall Cons →

"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 interface is not very shiny and attractive.""The security could be improved.""pfSense has some limitations in detecting site sessions. We want to control internet usage based on sites and their content, and pfSense doesn't perform this function.""Web interface could be enhanced and more user friendly.""The integration of pfSense with EPS and EDS could be better. Also, it should be easier to get reports on how many users are connecting simultaneously and how sections connect in real-time.""User interface is a little clumsy.""I have been using WireGuard VPN because it is a lot faster and more secure than an open VPN. However, in the latest version of pfSense, they have removed this feature, which is one of the main features that I need. They should include this feature."

More pfSense Cons →

"They should consider upgrading the capabilities within the GUI.""Initially, it may be difficult for some people to learn and become acquainted with it.""Sometimes I found the GUI and some of the features a little bit hard to navigate, as opposed to Fortigate, which is much more user-friendly.""We're not particularly fond of the way it generally performs. We are finding ourselves rebooting often. There are freeze-ups and that kind of thing. The stability needs to improve exponentially.""Potential improvement around the associated VPN cost""The product likely isn't a good fit for a large organization.""The anti-spam requires a specific Java version on the server side (do not update it, otherwise it will break).""I would like to have a built-in vulnerability scanner in the firewall. It would be great to have such functionality. Its price could also be better. It would also be good to have a local warehouse. It doesn't get damaged a lot, but if a customer needs a replacement, currently, it has to come from Miami or Mexico, which can take a few days. It would be better if they have a local warehouse from where we can just pick replacements and quickly solve a client's needs in terms of replacing equipment. It would be great to have it locally instead of waiting for it from Mexico or the USA."

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Pricing and Cost Advice
  • "Cisco pricing is premium. However, they gave us a 50 to 60 percent discount."
  • "There are additional implementation and validation costs."
  • "Cisco, as we all know, is expensive, but for the money you are paying, you know that you are also getting top-notch documentation as well as support if needed."
  • "This product requires licenses for advanced features including Snort, IPS, and malware detection."
  • "This product is expensive."
  • "For me, personally, as an individual, Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall is expensive."
  • "The price of Firepower is not bad compared to other products."
  • "The solution was chosen because of its price compared to other similar solutions."
  • More Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall Pricing and Cost Advice →

  • "This solution provides enterprise-level features at a fraction of the cost of an enterprise firewall."
  • "It is an open source firewall."
  • "We are using the open-source version, not the commercial one."
  • "It has almost zero cost, and it is open to us. It runs on a small appliance just for a couple of 100 bucks, and I've never had an appliance burn out on me yet."
  • "It is open source."
  • "I spent a couple of $1,000 on hardware, and the OS was free. A comparable firewall would cost me probably 20 grand. It saved a lot of money."
  • "I like the fact that it is open-source."
  • "pfSense is open-source, but the support is something that the customer pays for."
  • More pfSense Pricing and Cost Advice →

  • "Licensed features provide application control, content filtering, antivirus, and anti-malware all in a single appliance."
  • "The CPUs are not able to compete with a similar price point to the Fortinet, WatchGuard, or Palo Alto product."
  • "A firewall doing anti-spam might be a low cost solution, but it is not your best strategy."
  • "You need their analyzer to properly generate reports. This is an expensive, licensed feature, with a complex application or appliance back-end."
  • "If you want to connect more than five concurrent users by VPN then you have to pay an additional fee."
  • "SonicWall is a one-time purchase and there is no renewal license."
  • "The pricing and value are good."
  • "The pricing is good and we are satisfied with the cost of this solution."
  • More SonicWall NSa Pricing and Cost Advice →

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    Questions from the Community
    Top Answer: 
    When you compare these firewalls you can identify them with different features, advantages, practices and… more »
    Top Answer: 
    The Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall is a very powerful and very complex piece of anti-viral software. When one considers… more »
    Top Answer: 
    It is easy to integrate Cisco ASA with other Cisco products and also other NAC solutions. When you understand the Cisco… more »
    Top Answer: 
    Fortinet’s Fortigate is a firewall solution we use and are very much satisfied with its performance. We find Fortigate… more »
    Top Answer: 
    Two of the most common and well recognized firewalls, PfSense and OPNsense both support site-to-site IPsec VPN and… more »
    Top Answer: 
    pfSense is a nice product, and I find that there's a lot of information out there. There are some good tutorials on… more »
    Top Answer: 
    The antivirus and items of that nature were quite helpful to have.
    Top Answer: 
    Our organization would pay for a license every two to three years.
    Top Answer: 
    Sometimes I found the GUI and some of the features a little bit hard to navigate, as opposed to Fortigate, which is much… more »
    Comparisons
    Also Known As
    Cisco Firepower NGFW, Cisco Firepower Next-Generation Firewall, FirePOWER, Cisco NGFWv
    NSA 250M, NSA 2600, NSA 3600, NSA 4600, NSA 5600, Dell SonicWALL NSA
    Learn More
    Netgate
    Video Not Available
    Overview

    Cisco NGFW firewalls deliver advanced threat defense capabilities to meet diverse needs, from
    small/branch offices to high performance data centers and service providers. Available in a wide
    range of models, Cisco NGFW can be deployed as a physical or virtual appliance. Advanced threat
    defense capabilities include Next-generation IPS (NGIPS), Security Intelligence (SI), Advanced
    Malware Protection (AMP), URL filtering, Application Visibility and Control (AVC), and flexible VPN
    features. Inspect encrypted traffic and enjoy automated risk ranking and impact flags to reduce event
    volume so you can quickly prioritize threats. Cisco NGFW firewalls are also available with clustering
    for increased performance, high availability configurations, and more.
    Cisco Firepower NGFWv is the virtualized version of Cisco's Firepower NGFW firewall. Widely
    deployed in leading private and public clouds, Cisco NGFWv automatically scales up/down to meet
    the needs of dynamic cloud environments and high availability provides resilience. Also, Cisco NGFWv
    can deliver micro-segmentation to protect east-west network traffic.
    Cisco firewalls provide consistent security policies, enforcement, and protection across all your
    environments. Unified management for Cisco ASA and FTD/NGFW physical and virtual firewalls is
    delivered by Cisco Defense Orchestrator (CDO), with cloud logging also available. And with Cisco
    SecureX included with every Cisco firewall, you gain a cloud-native platform experience that enables
    greater simplicity, visibility, and efficiency.
    Learn more about Cisco’s firewall solutions, including virtual appliances for public and private cloud.

    Providing comprehensive network security solutions for the enterprise, large business and SOHO, pfSense solutions bring together the most advanced technology available to make protecting your network easier than ever before. Our products are built on the most reliable platforms and are engineered to provide the highest levels of performance, stability and confidence.
    Achieve a deeper level of security with the SonicWALL Network Security Appliance (NSA) Series of next-generation firewalls. NSA Series appliances integrate automated and dynamic security capabilities into a single platform, combining the patented, SonicWALL Reassembly Free Deep Packet Inspection (RFDPI) firewall engine with a powerful, massively scalable, multi-core architecture. Now you can block even the most sophisticated threats with an intrusion prevention system (IPS) featuring advanced anti-evasion capabilities, SSL decryption and inspection, and network-based malware protection that leverages the power of the cloud.
    Offer
    Learn more about Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall
    Learn more about pfSense
    Learn more about SonicWall NSa
    Sample Customers
    Rackspace, The French Laundry, Downer Group, Lewisville School District, Shawnee Mission School District, Lower Austria Firefighters Administration, Oxford Hospital, SugarCreek, Westfield
    Nerds On Site Inc., RKC Development Inc., Expertech, Fisher's Technology, Ncisive, Consulting, CPURX, Vaughn's Computer House Calls, Imeretech LLC, Digital Crisis, Carolina Digital Phone, Technigogo Technology Services, The Simple Solution, SwiftecITInc, Rocky Mountain Tech Team, Free Range Geeks, Alaska Computer Geeks, Lark Information Technology, Renaissance Systems Inc., Cutting Edge Computers, Caretech LLC, GoVanguard, Network Touch Ltd, P.C. Solutions.Net, Vision Voice and Data Systems LLC, Montgomery Technologies, Techforce, Concero Networks, ASONInc, CPS Electronics and Consulting, Darkwire.net LLC, IT Specialists, MBS-Net Inc., VOICE1 LLC, Advantage Networking Inc., Powerhouse Systems, Doxa Multimedia Inc., Pro Computer Service, Virtual IT Services, A&J Computers Inc., Envision IT LLC, CommunicaONE Inc., Bone Computer Inc., Amax Engineering Corporation, QPG Ltd. Co., IT 101 Inc., Perfect Cloud Solutions, Applied Technology Group Inc., The Digital Sun Group LLC, Firespring
    Orange County Rescue Mission, First Source, Michaels & Taylor, Green Clinic Health System, Aspire Chiltern Skills and Enterprise Centre, UnitedStack, Faith Lutheran College Redlands, Celtic Manor Resort, Star Kay White, Air Works, Unimat Life, NHS Yorkshire and Humber Commissioning Support (YHCS), Hutt City Council, Mato Grosso do Sul, Nspyre
    Top Industries
    REVIEWERS
    Comms Service Provider22%
    Financial Services Firm16%
    Non Profit8%
    Government8%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Comms Service Provider33%
    Computer Software Company21%
    Government7%
    Manufacturing Company4%
    REVIEWERS
    University10%
    Comms Service Provider10%
    Marketing Services Firm8%
    Computer Software Company6%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Comms Service Provider44%
    Computer Software Company15%
    Government6%
    Media Company4%
    REVIEWERS
    Manufacturing Company17%
    Educational Organization14%
    Healthcare Company10%
    Insurance Company7%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Comms Service Provider27%
    Computer Software Company20%
    Government6%
    Educational Organization5%
    Company Size
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business43%
    Midsize Enterprise28%
    Large Enterprise29%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business21%
    Midsize Enterprise13%
    Large Enterprise66%
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business70%
    Midsize Enterprise17%
    Large Enterprise13%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business56%
    Midsize Enterprise14%
    Large Enterprise30%
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business65%
    Midsize Enterprise18%
    Large Enterprise18%
    Find out what your peers are saying about SonicWall NSa vs. pfSense and other solutions. Updated: January 2022.
    563,780 professionals have used our research since 2012.

    pfSense is ranked 3rd in Firewalls with 60 reviews while SonicWall NSa is ranked 17th in Firewalls with 38 reviews. pfSense is rated 8.6, while SonicWall NSa is rated 7.8. The top reviewer of pfSense writes "Feature-rich, well documented, and there is good support available online". On the other hand, the top reviewer of SonicWall NSa writes "A rugged solution capable of defeating advanced threats". pfSense is most compared with OPNsense, Fortinet FortiGate, Sophos UTM, Sophos XG and Zyxel Unified Security Gateway, whereas SonicWall NSa is most compared with Meraki MX, Fortinet FortiGate, WatchGuard Firebox, SonicWall TZ and Sophos UTM. See our SonicWall NSa vs. pfSense report.

    See our list of best Firewalls vendors.

    We monitor all Firewalls 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.