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LAN & WAN Reviews

Using Smoothwall, Continued

All of the services are easy to set up using the web interface, which while not providing a high degree of control, still manages to make enough options accessible to get the service up and running. Another great thing about the web interface is the online context sensitive help system. Even configuring things that you don't fully understand can be made easier just by reading the help. When you click on help, a new window pops up explaining what it is you're looking at and how to set it up.

SmoothWall Online Help screen 

Figure 5: Online Help
(click image to enlarge)

I consider the online help system to be one of the Smoothwall's greatest strengths. Many folks simply don't have the patience to dig around on the Internet or through a manual for help, but nearly everyone will click a single button when they need it. This feature alone in my opinion gives Smoothwall a huge edge over many other web-based interfaces I've seen, especially for people new to firewalls.

Smoothwall also includes a web-based Java-driven SSH interface as shown below:

SmoothWall Tools : Shell screen

Figure 6: Tools : Shell
(click image to enlarge)

SmoothWall Networking : Port Forwarding screen

Figure 7: Networking : Port Forwarding
(click image to enlarge)

Adding and removing rules are as easy as clicking a button. Above you can see I'm removing a temporary rule that I had set up to improve Gnutella performance.

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