Kerio Control NG300W review

Lacking anti-spam but Kerio’s wireless-enabled NG300W appliance scores highly for value and performance

IT Pro Recommended
Price
£1,093
  • Excellent web filtering; Speedy installation; Good value
  • No anti-spam protection; No SSL VPN support

Kerio has traditionally offered a modest range of UTM appliances and its Control family gets a timely boost with two new wireless models. The NG300W on review takes the standard NG300 chassis and adds dual band 11ac wireless services and support for up to eight SSIDs.

It's built on a firm foundation, as Kerio's embedded Control software teams up a standard SPI firewall with deep packet inspection, IPsec VPNs, IPS, bandwidth management and QoS (quality of service). There's much more: it augments these with Kerio's own Web Filter service and Sophos' gateway antivirus.

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The appliance is silent and its chunky aluminium chassis functions as a heatsink. Inside beats a speedy quad-core 2.4GHz Intel Atom C2558 partnered by 4GB of DDR3L, 32GB of SSD storage and four Gigabit ports. Kerio claims firewall and UTM speeds of 900Mbits/sec and 700Mbits/sec respectively, which means it'll handle the demands of most SMEs.

The unlimited-user model costs 1,647 ex VAT, but you can save 554 with a 25-user license. Ongoing costs are reasonable; unlimited and 25-user software maintenance charges are 478 and 316 per year and include updates to the Control, Sophos AV and web filter services.

Installation took five minutes, with the web browser wizard setting up Internet access and applying a base set of firewall rules for us. The three LAN ports default to being members of one switch with DHCP services but we could easily break them out and have selected ports providing their own services.

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Likewise with wireless services, as each SSID can be set as a standalone interface or assigned to the LAN port group. Furthermore, making an SSID a guest interface isolates it from all LAN ports and users can be redirected to a customisable welcome web page with an AUP and optional password request.

For custom firewall rules, we chose from the long list of predefined services, added sources and destinations and decided whether to block or allow the traffic. Rules are placed in a list in order of priority and colour coded to show clearly which were blocking or allowing traffic.

We quickly applied antivirus scanning to HTTP, FTP, SMTP and POP3 traffic but noted that Kerio doesn't offer any anti-spam measures. The web filtering is a winner though, as it has over 150 URL categories to block or allow and during testing, we found very few websites escaped its net.

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Bandwidth management and QoS (quality of service) controls are also available and Kerio includes a pre-defined rule that reserves a minimum bandwidth for SIP VoIP services. Intrusion prevention shouldn't be sniffed at either - this is handled by the well-respected Snort and can be activated for all traffic with one click.

Businesses looking to deploy multiple Control appliances to remote sites will like the free MyKerio web cloud portal. Once we'd enabled access from the appliance's local web console, we registered it with our account and could then manage the NG300W from anywhere we wanted.

VPN support extends to the IPsec, PPTP and L2TP variety and while Kerio doesn't support SSL VPNs, it makes up for this with the fact that its own VPN server is very easy to configure. Control VPN clients are available for Windows, OS X and Linux and performance is good too, with file copies between local and remote Windows hosts averaging 50MB/sec and appliance CPU utilisation hovering around 35-40 percent.

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Anti-spam would have been a bonus but we can't fault the Control NG300W for anything else. It's pleasantly simple to manage, built like a tank and offers a good range of security measures for the price.

This review originally appeared in PC Pro issue 273

Verdict

Anti-spam would have been a bonus but we can’t fault the Control NG300W for anything else. It’s pleasantly simple to manage, built like a tank and offers a good range of security measures for the price.

Desktop chassis 2.4GHz Intel Atom C2558 4GB DDR3L 32GB SSD 4 x Gigabit (WAN, 3 x LAN) 2.4/5GHz 11a/ac/b/g/n wireless 2 x USB 2 RJ-45 console External PSU 177 x 146 x 44mm (WDH) Kerio Control and Web Filter Sophos AV 1 year standard warranty. Options: 3-year extended warranty, £113 ex VAT with initial purchase

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