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As a network and cybersecurity expert, I’ve had the opportunity to explore and review various security solutions, and the Firewalla Gold SE is the latest one.
This multi-gigabit cyber security firewall/router caught my attention with its promise of robust network protection without the need for a subscription.
In this review, I’ll explore its features, performance, and overall value, drawing from my personal experience and insights from other reputable sources.
What is Firewalla Gold SE?
The Firewalla Gold SE is an advanced network security device, offering dual 2.5 Gigabit WAN ports and two Gigabit LAN ports.
Designed to address high-speed internet connections, it’s a compact, subscription-free solution for both home and small business networks.
|Comprehensive cybersecurity features
|Compatibility issues with some routers
|High-speed connectivity options
|No web portal for management
|User-friendly setup and management through the app
|Ad and content blocking capabilities
|Detailed network insights and monitoring
|No subscription required, offering long-term value
Design and features
The device offers a small, compact metal build with four Ethernet ports, USB, HDMI, and SD card ports. Its design is both functional and aesthetically pleasing, fitting seamlessly into any network setup.
The Firewalla Gold SE operates in three modes: Router, Bridge, and DHCP making it suitable for various networking needs.
Setup and user experience
Setting up the Firewalla Gold SE is straightforward, thanks to the companion Firewalla App. The device offers insights into network activity and allows for app and website blocking on specific devices.
However, some users have reported compatibility issues with certain routers, particularly in Simple Mode, which can lead to network slowdowns.
The lack of a web portal for management might be a drawback for people who prefer browser-based interfaces.
Ports and connectivity
A significant update from the Firewalla Purple, the Gold SE model houses four Ethernet ports – two 2.5 Gigabit and two 1 Gigabit.
This configuration is particularly beneficial for homes or small businesses with high-speed internet connections.
Additionally, the inclusion of USB, HDMI, and SD ports, along with a reset button, enhances its versatility. The presence of dust covers for unused ports is a thoughtful touch, protecting the device from potential damage.
The Firewalla Gold SE is powered by a Quadcore ARM processor, accompanied by 4GB of memory and 32GB of storage.
This hardware setup is more than capable of handling network traffic at speeds of up to 2Gbps, making it a future-proof choice.
The device offers four operating modes – Router, Bridge, DHCP, and Simple Mode – each designed for different networking scenarios.
Router Mode transforms the device into a primary router, Bridge Mode allows it to operate between networks, and DHCP Mode augments an existing network setup.
Simple Mode, however, has faced compatibility issues with certain routers.
Advanced network security features
- Cyber threat protection: The Firewalla Gold SE is equipped to analyze data packets entering and leaving the network. This analysis helps in identifying and blocking potential cyber threats, including malware and hacking attempts. Its ability to preemptively stop these threats before they reach the devices on the network is a critical feature.
- App and website blocking: One of the standout features is the ability to block specific apps and websites on connected devices. This is particularly useful for parental control, allowing parents to manage their children’s internet usage effectively.
- Ad blocking: The Firewalla Gold SE can block ads across the network, enhancing your browsing experience and reducing the risk of malware from malicious ads.
- Network insights and monitoring: The Firewalla Gold SE provides comprehensive insights into network activity. You can monitor which devices are connected, track data usage, and receive alerts for unusual activities or potential security breaches.
- Network segmentation: The device supports network segmentation, allowing users to isolate devices from each other. This feature is crucial for protecting sensitive data and preventing potential breaches from spreading across the network.
- High-speed ports: With two 2.5 Gigabit WAN ports and two Gigabit LAN ports, the Firewalla Gold SE is well-equipped for high-speed internet connections. This setup ensures that the network’s performance is optimized for both current and future internet speed advancements.
In terms of performance, the Firewalla Gold SE delivers consistently.
The high-speed ports ensure that internet speeds are not bottlenecked, maintaining optimal performance even in demanding scenarios.
The device’s ability to handle 2Gbps speeds is a testament to its capability to support future internet technologies.
Firewalla Gold SE review – Verdict
The Firewalla Gold SE is a powerful, user-friendly solution for network security and management.
Its simple and elegant design, comprehensive features, and future-proof capabilities make it a good investment for people who prioritize network safety and control.
On the downside, priced at $449, it’s not the most budget-friendly option on the market, but its subscription-free model and performance efficiency offer good value for your money.
Whether for a home setup or a small business network, the Firewalla Gold SE is a reliable device.