• United States
Neal Weinberg
Contributing writer, Foundry

Check Point’s Safe@Office

Sep 30, 20042 mins
Check PointEnterprise Applications

* A look at Check Point's Safe@Office 225

If you’re looking for back-up Internet access for your remote offices, check out Check Point’s Safe@Office 225 device.

The metal box about the size of a VCR cassette packs plenty of features. Check Point provides software add-ons to the basic hardware, so you can configure the system you need. For example, if you want remote management, Web filtering, e-mail anti-virus, or expanded logging and reporting, grab a price list.

The box didn’t let us set the range for IP addresses doled out by the unit’s Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) server, but at least the box sees other IP addresses, so it doesn’t give out addresses already in use. The Web administration application is clean and usable, if a bit loud with its orange and yellow color scheme. Firewall rules are set through a pop-up wizard, but without extra filtering modules the service options to control are slim (less than 10).

Our focus was on the failover capabilities, however. Unlike the other boxes tested, the Safe@Office 225 doesn’t plug both broadband modems into connectors on the unit. You must plug the broadband modems into a separate wiring hub (not included), and connect that hub to the WAN1 port on the box. Usually the system fails over from cable to DSL automatically with no Web surfing delays, but occasionally the primary WAN link must be disabled in the administration to kick-start the failover.

E-mail traffic always went to the cable modem WAN link, keeping SMTP traffic flowing. And because the box doesn’t support load sharing, no connections got linked to the slower DSL connection, as did some of the other systems where traffic actually slowed in load-balancing mode. But that also means two comparable broadband connections don’t provide any possibility of a speed boost, as they do on other boxes. About $900 online, the Check Point box will work well when failover is the most important goal, as when the two broadband connections differ widely in speed (such as cable and minimum-speed DSL).

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