SonicWall TZ vs pfSense comparison

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Comparison Buyer's Guide
Executive Summary

We performed a comparison between pfSense and SonicWall TZ based on real PeerSpot user reviews.

Find out in this report how the two Firewalls solutions compare in terms of features, pricing, service and support, easy of deployment, and ROI.
To learn more, read our detailed SonicWall TZ vs. pfSense Report (Updated: January 2023).
670,331 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Featured Review
Quotes From Members
We asked business professionals to review the solutions they use.
Here are some excerpts of what they said:
Pros
"The user interface is very easy to manage and find rules. You can do object searches, which are very easy. Also, the logging is very simple to use. So, it is a lot easier to troubleshoot and find items inside the firewall.""Cisco tech is always good and helpful. I would rate them as 10 out of 10.""Firepower NGFW has improved my organization in several ways. Before, we were trying to stamp out security threats and issues, it was a one-off type of way to attack it. I spent a lot of manpower trying to track down the individual issues or flare-ups that we would see. With Cisco's Firepower Management, we're able to have that push up to basically one monitor and one UI and be able to track that and stop threats immediately. It also gives us a little more granularity on what those threats might be.""I like that Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall is reliable. Support is also good.""Another benefit has been user integration. We try to integrate our policies so that we can create policies based on active users. We can create policies based on who is accessing a resource instead of just IP addresses and ports.""The remote VPN and IPsec VPN or site-to-site VPN features are valuable. The clustering feature is also valuable. We have two ISP links. Whenever there is a failover, users don't even get to know. The transition is very smooth, and the users don't notice any latency. So, remote VPN, site-to-site VPN, and failover are three very powerful features of Cisco ASA.""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 high-availability and remote VPN features are most valuable."

More Cisco Secure Firewall Pros →

"I mostly like all of it. Whatever we use is valuable.""I am happy with the EPLS, the radius, and I am happy with the captive portal.""I like the connectivity to the open VPN. It's very smooth.""My technicians find the pfSense's web interface very useful. It is very easy to use. pfSense is very reliable and stable. We like the OpenVPN clients that can be deployed using pfSense very much.""The solution has good customization abilities and plenty of features.""The solution is very easy to use and has a very nice GUI.""The VPN is my favorite feature.""The initial setup is not complex."

More pfSense Pros →

"Its user interface and simplicity are the most favorite parts for our clients. They find it stable and easy to use. Its performance is also good.""It's been very easy to implement and deploy.""From our point of view, the most valuable feature was the ease of deployment.""The most valuable feature is the user-friendly navigation.""The installation is straightforward and took approximately 30 minutes.""It is very user-friendly, and there is no problem in using its interface.""It lets me monitor in live time if someone is 'hogging' bandwidth.""SonicWall TZ is a stable product."

More SonicWall TZ Pros →

Cons
"We wanted to integrate Firepower with our solution, but it didn't have the capability to accommodate our bandwidth since they only had two 10 gig interfaces on the box. We run way more than that through our network because we are a service provider, providing Internet to our customers.""Cisco still has a lot of work to do. You can convert an ASA over to a Firepower, but the competitors, like Palo Alto and Juniper, are coming in. And believe it or not, they are a little bit more intuitive. Cisco has a little bit more work to do. They're playing catch up.""The only improvement that we could make is maybe [regarding] the roadmap, to have better visibility as to what we are targeting ahead in the next few quarters.""Most of the features don't work well, and some features are missing as well.""There is huge scope for improvement in URL filtering. The database that they have is not accurate. Their content awareness and categorization for URL filtering are not that great. We faced many challenges with their categorization and content awareness. They should improve these categorization issues.""The application detection feature of this solution could be improved as well as its integration with other solutions.""They need to do an overhaul of the management console.""Cisco makes horrible UIs, so the interface is something that should be improved."

More Cisco Secure Firewall Cons →

"In an upcoming release, the reporting could be more user-friendly. For example, the reporting in graphs and charts for the host can be cumbersome.""The security could be improved.""The solution could improve by having centralized management and API support online.""It could use a little bit of improvement in the reporting.""The interface is not very shiny and attractive.""ClamAV AntiVirus can cause some crashes. That service should be improved.""I tried pfSense, and it has a big issue with file system consistency, and this is what drove me to OPNsense. The file system stability is quite a big issue for us. We have a lot of outages related to power issues, and OPNsense is much more stable on this side.""The access control aspect of the product could be improved."

More pfSense Cons →

"In terms of what needs to be improved, I would say better load balancing and data filtering.""Getting support can be slow.""If the operation increases and the bandwidth consumption increases, it does not perform as per the expectations.""SonicWall TZ can improve the UI application and when you create any net policies or any new policy, it will not sync or work properly.""Its reporting can be improved. Currently, we cannot directly get the user names. It only shows the IP, which makes it a bit confusing because we need to use the IP to find the user. If we could directly get the name of the user, it would be better.""GUI interface could be improved.""Sonic Analyzer could be improved. It's difficult to manage and not very intuitive.""The log sections could be done more clearly."

More SonicWall TZ Cons →

Pricing and Cost Advice
  • "The price is comparable."
  • "We sell Cisco ASA Firewall as a bundle — the price is very cheap. If a customer were to go for renewal direct from Cisco, then the price would be quite high."
  • "It definitely competes with the other vendors in the market."
  • "The price for Firepower is more expensive than FortiGate. The licensing is very complex. We usually ask for help from Solutel because of its complexity. I have a Cisco account where I can download the VPN client, then connect. Instead, I create an issue with Solutel, then Solutel solves the case."
  • "I know that licensing for some of the advanced solutions, like Intrusion Prevention and Secure Malware Analytics, are nominal costs."
  • "It is affordable. The hardware is not that expensive anymore. It is a matter of licensing these days."
  • "Cisco is not for a small mom-and-pop shop because of the cost, but if you're in a regulated industry where a breach could cost you a million dollars, it's a bargain."
  • "I like the Smart Licensing, because it is more dynamic and easier to keep track of where you are at. If we have a high availability firewall pair and they are deployed in active/standby rather than active/active, I would expect that we would only pay for one set of licenses because you are using only one firewall at any one time. The other is there just for resiliency. The licensing, from a Firepower perspective, still requires you to have two licenses, even if the firewalls are in active/standby, which means that you pay for the two licenses, even though you might only be using one firewall any one time. This is probably not the best way to do it and doesn't represent the best value for money. This could be looked at to see if it could be done in a fairer way."
  • More Cisco Secure Firewall Pricing and Cost Advice →

  • "pfSense is open-source."
  • "We are using the open-source version which is free. We are testing the solution to see if we are going to go to the enterprise version which requires a license and is not free."
  • "There is no license. You don't have to pay anything. It's completely free."
  • "It's open-source and it's free. Anything for free is good."
  • "pfSense is a free solution."
  • "The solution software does not require a license, it is free. The support contract is about $600 dollars."
  • "Its price is pretty fair."
  • "The solution is free. However, you need to pay for support."
  • More pfSense Pricing and Cost Advice →

  • "The price is fair."
  • "The license that we purchased is good for three years."
  • "Its price is very high, which makes it difficult to convince the clients to buy this solution."
  • "The price is fair for the solution for the quality you receive."
  • "You need to purchase multiple licenses to manage multiple devices which is cost-prohibitive for the value you would receive."
  • "Customers are required to pay for a yearly subscription."
  • "It has a yearly subscription."
  • "It is a bit expensive. We have to purchase the license and the reporting part separately, which makes it a bit pricey. This is the main reason why we have thought of moving to another firewall. It would be good if they combine both of these."
  • More SonicWall TZ Pricing and Cost Advice →

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    Answers from the Community
    Rafahavelo Onja
    Tan Jun - PeerSpot reviewerTan Jun
    User

    Just purchase an anti-spam license and activate it at the SonicWall license portal.


    I would like to recommend you SONICWALL HOSTED EMAIL SECURITY ADVANCED. It is more helpful and if you are using Office365 or GSuite, go for SonicWall Cloud App Security.


    It is more powerful.

    Pedro Escalona - PeerSpot reviewerPedro Escalona
    Real User

    Hi, for SonicWall you buy a license and on the same firewall you can activate the antispam only in the ingress mode. 


    But there is a catch, at the moment they don't support TLS for SMTP so I would recommend their other solution, that has email security for appliance and virtualized on VMware or Hyper-V.

    Questions from the Community
    Top Answer: When you compare these firewalls you can identify them with different features, advantages, practices and… more »
    Top Answer:One of our favorite things about Fortinet Fortigate is that you can deploy on the cloud or on premises. Fortinet… 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:You don't really specify what type of router you are looking for but if you are talking about a gateway router I… 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:I’ll say it depends on your needs. Fortinet FortiGate and SonicWall TZ are both next-gen firewalls (NGFW) with similar… more »
    Top Answer:The only advice I have for people looking at this solution is to either learn the product or hire someone who knows it… more »
    Top Answer:Just purchase an anti-spam license and activate it at the SonicWall license portal. I would like to recommend you… more »
    Comparisons
    Also Known As
    Cisco ASA Firewall, Cisco Adaptive Security Appliance (ASA) Firewall, Cisco ASA NGFW, Cisco ASA, Adaptive Security Appliance, ASA, Cisco Sourcefire Firewalls, Cisco ASAv, Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall
    Dell SonicWALL TZ
    Learn More
    Netgate
    Video Not Available
    Overview

    The Cisco Secure Firewall portfolio delivers greater protections for your network against an increasingly evolving and complex set of threats. With Cisco, you’re investing in a foundation for security that is both agile and integrated- leading to the strongest security posture available today and tomorrow.

      From your data center, branch offices, cloud environments, and everywhere in between, you can leverage the power of Cisco to turn your existing network infrastructure into an extension of your firewall solution, resulting in world class security controls everywhere you need them.

      Investing in a Secure Firewall appliance today gives you robust protections against even the most sophisticated threats without compromising performance when inspecting encrypted traffic. Further, integrations with other Cisco and 3rd party solutions provides you with a broad and deep portfolio of security products, all working together to correlate previously disconnected events, eliminate noise, and stop threats faster.

      pfSense is a free and open-source operating system for routers and firewalls, and is typically configured as DHCP server, DNS server, WiFi access point, VPN server, all running on the same hardware device. It is operated through a user-friendly web interface, making administration easy even for users with limited networking knowledge.

      In addition, pfSense is feature-rich, has a mature platform, is customizable, is flexible by design, and can be used on a small home router as well as run the entire network of a large corporation. pfSense puts you in control of your networking, is regularly updated, and works to promptly patch security issues. pfSense has recently become the favored alternative to the industry leader, Cisco.

      pfSense is:

      • Robust
      • Powerful
      • Easy to use
      • Secure
      • Scalable

      pfSense Key Features

      pfSense has many key features and capabilities, including:

      • Strength and accuracy: pfSense is able to always follow either default or custom rules, making it a stronger firewall than some of its competitors. It also filters traffic separately, whether it’s coming from your internal network of devices or the open internet, allowing you to set different rules and policies for each.

      • Flexibility: pfSense can work both as a basic firewall and as a complete security system because it gives you the flexibility to integrate additional features as code where necessary.

      • Open-source: Because it is open-source, not only is pfSense free to use, but community members can contribute to the code to make it a better software.

      • User-friendly: Usually firewall products are not user-friendly because they often include complex settings, options, and features that require fine-tuning. pfSense’s interface is simple, direct, and easy to use.

      • WireGuard Support: Instead of building your own VPN using pfSense, or settling for a commercial VPN provider, you can directly integrate WireGuard with the pfSense firewall.

      • Speed Management and Fault Tolerance: pfSense’s multi-WAN feature allows your system to continue operating in case components fail.

      • Well-supported: pfSense regularly has security and feature updates. It also has a documentation site and a well-informed and knowledgeable support forum.

      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."



      The secure, sophisticated SonicWALL TZ is widely deployed at small businesses, retail, government, remote sites and branch offices. It combines high-performance intrusion prevention, malware blocking, content/URL filtering and application control.
      Offer
      Learn more about Cisco Secure Firewall
      Learn more about pfSense
      Learn more about SonicWall TZ
      Sample Customers
      There are more than one million Adaptive Security Appliances deployed globally. Top customers include First American Financial Corp., Genzyme, Frankfurt Airport, Hansgrohe SE, Rio Olympics, The French Laundry, Rackspace, and City of Tomorrow.
      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
      AeroM_xico Delta TechOps, Unimat
      Top Industries
      REVIEWERS
      Financial Services Firm16%
      Comms Service Provider13%
      Computer Software Company9%
      Government8%
      VISITORS READING REVIEWS
      Computer Software Company20%
      Comms Service Provider18%
      Government7%
      Educational Organization5%
      REVIEWERS
      University11%
      Marketing Services Firm9%
      Comms Service Provider9%
      Computer Software Company6%
      VISITORS READING REVIEWS
      Comms Service Provider23%
      Computer Software Company15%
      Government8%
      Educational Organization5%
      REVIEWERS
      Construction Company12%
      Financial Services Firm9%
      Non Profit9%
      Healthcare Company9%
      VISITORS READING REVIEWS
      Computer Software Company19%
      Comms Service Provider16%
      Retailer6%
      Government5%
      Company Size
      REVIEWERS
      Small Business35%
      Midsize Enterprise25%
      Large Enterprise40%
      VISITORS READING REVIEWS
      Small Business28%
      Midsize Enterprise18%
      Large Enterprise53%
      REVIEWERS
      Small Business70%
      Midsize Enterprise18%
      Large Enterprise13%
      VISITORS READING REVIEWS
      Small Business29%
      Midsize Enterprise20%
      Large Enterprise51%
      REVIEWERS
      Small Business64%
      Midsize Enterprise21%
      Large Enterprise15%
      VISITORS READING REVIEWS
      Small Business42%
      Midsize Enterprise16%
      Large Enterprise41%
      Buyer's Guide
      SonicWall TZ vs. pfSense
      January 2023
      Find out what your peers are saying about SonicWall TZ vs. pfSense and other solutions. Updated: January 2023.
      670,331 professionals have used our research since 2012.

      pfSense is ranked 3rd in Firewalls with 47 reviews while SonicWall TZ is ranked 13th in Firewalls with 38 reviews. pfSense is rated 8.4, while SonicWall TZ is rated 8.2. 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 TZ writes "Multifeatured firewall solution with a user-friendly interface, high availability, scalability, and stability". pfSense is most compared with OPNsense, Fortinet FortiGate, Sophos XG, Untangle NG Firewall and Azure Firewall, whereas SonicWall TZ is most compared with Fortinet FortiGate, Sophos XG, SonicWall NSa, Meraki MX and WatchGuard Firebox. See our SonicWall TZ 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.