Dell announces integrated wireless SonicWALL TZ firewalls

These have the same technology as the sixth generation products Dell announced in April, except that they have integrated 802.11ac technology.

Dmitriy_Ayrapetov Dell 300

Dmitriy Ayrapetov, Director, Product Management at Dell SonicWALL

Today, Dell is releasing the wireless versions of its sixth generation of SonicWALL TZ Series firewalls, which have integrated 802.11ac technology.

“These are the same technology as the high-end sixth generation TZ firewalls we announced in April, with the addition of the integrated 802.11 ac wireless capacity,” said Dmitriy Ayrapetov, Director, Product Management at Dell SonicWALL.

The previous fifth generation of the TZ – instantly recognizable by its silver exterior – also had wireless models as well as access points was limited by its time of creation to 802.11 n technology, while the black sixth generation models have the newer technology.

“The difference between these and the models we announced in April is that they have the integrated 802.11 ac, for those who want just a single box with three antennas sticking out of the box,” Ayrapetov said.

Where these models should be used, as opposed to wireless access points, is highly deployment specific, and relies on the skill of the Dell SonicWALL partners to determine the best option.

“A small office might just want the one box, but a small store, on the other hand, might not be the best place for wireless, so they might just want an access point,” Ayrapetov said. “It’s very much dependent on the circumstances of the individual location, and it’s the Dell partner who has the knowledge to tell them what’s best to deploy.”

Ayrapetov said that the changed nature of wireless today means that partners really need to stress to their customers that the older generations of firewalls – even the fifth generation, which dates from 2009, and had a mid-generation refresh in 2012 – really need to be upgraded. While historically, many customers kept their firewalls for years, the changing nature of threats today has led Dell to recommend a more frequent updating, along the lines of the suggested three year PC refresh cycle.

“We have a massive, massive install base of these TZ units, because over a million of the two million that have been sold in the product’s entire lifetime are still active,” he said. “They are much more vulnerable to today’s encrypted threats. In addition, Internet speeds in North America have finally increased, but while that’s good, it also means that also means you need more horsepower.”

The new horsepower, with intrusion prevention speeds reaching 1.1Gbps, supports the faster Internet speeds. This supports bandwidth-intensive mobile applications like HD video and VoIP, to guarantee acceptable quality of service levels. Deep packet inspection on all traffic, including encrypted SSL connections, uses an array of intrusion prevention, SSL decryption and inspection, application control, and content filtering technologies.

Dell has also changed the way it handles SSL encryption licensing, in order to make it more likely that people use it.

“We have complexly waived licensing, except on the lowest model,” Ayrapetov said. “We used to charge separately for the ability to decrypt. The problem was that it had become contradictory to say that having it is absolutely fundamental, and then charge extra for it. So now you can just license for IP and can decrypt SSL as well.”

Ayrapetov said that this is something that wasn’t even available as an option on the previous generation, but has mushroomed into a major issue with the growth of SSL traffic. Dell’s 2015 Security Annual Threat Report reported that 60 per cent of internet connections at the end of 2014 were encrypted using SSL. This makes cyberattacks increasingly hidden from legacy network security products within SSL traffic.

“The need to upgrade to the new models means for Dell partners, this is a great opportunity to go back to their customer base,” Ayrapetov said.

Four models are available. The Dell SonicWALL TZ300 Wireless-AC, TZ400 Wireless-AC and TZ500 Wireless-AC are available now, while the SOHO Wireless-N solution will be available in August.