|Smoothwall Ltd. SmoothWall Express Firewall|
|Summary||Open source based firewall with nice GUI, on-line help and very efficient (fast) routing|
|Pros||• Easy installation
• Graphical configuration interface
• Online help system
|Cons||• Installation completely erases hard disk
• Limited functionality for power users
A good firewall these days is pretty much a necessity, especially if you have a broadband connection to the Internet. But which firewall is best for you? How about a free system that runs well on older hardware, uses a graphical configuration system, and is easy to install and configure? If that sounds like your cup of tea, then let's take a look at Smoothwall Express 2.0.
Smoothwall is software that can turn a low-end PC into a dedicated firewall system, equaling and even exceeding the performance and features of many hardware firewall appliances. Smoothwall Express is licensed under the GPL and based on Linux, but the thing that sets Smoothwall apart from other Linux-based firewall systems is the graphical configuration interface. From the comfort of your desktop browser, you can configure some advanced networking capabilities without even breaking a sweat.
Smoothwall is targeted at users of all capabilities, from home user to network administrator, but personally I'd have to say that the Express version is probably most attractive to the home user. The online context-sensitive help system alone can catapult even the technically challenged to near geek status. While Smoothwall Express is free, the Smoothwall company also sells a Corporate Server version, which of course costs money, but offers more features.