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I am doing a new WAN/LAN Design and wanted to know what would be a better in terms of value, reliability, support and performance. I need to connect 3 remote office to main HQ and multiple field staff also.

I heard good things about both SonicWall and Watchguard, if you had to choose between these two, which one would you choose and why ?

Should I consider an MPLS between the main offices ? or just do a dedicated VPN ?

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3 Answers 3

How remote are the offices? If they're in the same local area, talk to some telcos and see if you can get metro ethernet between the lines. That would be the most ideal, considering the cost of bandwidth is typically so much lower for such a higher speed.

If your sites aren't ultra-local, and MPLS is in your budget, you should absolutely consider it. MPLS by itself is very secure. If you feel like security is incredibly warranted, IPSEC over MPLS is as completely secure as you're going to get for a piece of bandwidth. When we had multiple offices, I was heavily considering MPLS as our option. Since we only have two real locations, the cost wasn't worth it for us, and I ended up using IPSEC tunnels over internet facing ethernet lines.

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Office is are pretty far apart, Detroit->Washington->Atlanta. I just learned we have MPLS, i might possibly get rid of it due to cost considerations and get maybe 2MBS T1's at all sites and create a dedicated IPSEC VPN between all sites, what do you think? –  Quraysh Jan 22 '10 at 6:08
    
MPLS connections are typically T1 (or metroE, on the right providers). Also, T1s are sort of set at 1.544Mb/s, so to get 2Mb, you'll need two of them, wind up with 3Mb/s and double your bill. I would only go off the MPLS lines if you could increase the bandwidth at all of your sites for less than the cost of your current solution. If you're in those metroareas, shop around and see if you can find internet on metroethernet. If it's not available, shop around for another MPLS provider. T1 prices have gone way down lately, so you may get a deal. –  Matt Simmons Jan 22 '10 at 12:53

Unless you have unusual needs that would dictate a special product, you should choose what you're most comfortable with or what you already have experience with. You need to create some kind of specification sheet with the features that you need, want and wish for. With that information you'll be better able to whittle down the possible choices.

My preference is SonicWall because it is relatively easy to use and has quite advanced features. I'm not experience with Cisco/Juniper/Checkpoint/et. al. at this point in my career and SonicWall has so far never lacked any features that I've needed. SonicWall firewalls have the ability to easily add other services that you may need in the future such as spam filtering and virus scanning. Their point-to-point firewall features seem to be good which could do just fine for you creating site to site VPNs. The global VPN client is solid and secure for client PCs as well. The cons to SonicWall would be that adding various features here and there always seems to cost some kind of licensing fee. Rarely is anything "thrown in" to the package. It feels sometimes like I'm being nibbled to death by ducks with the various licenses that come up.

With all of that said, I'm sure Watchguard is good too and a "Watchguard guy" would say the same things about his favorite product. Take a look at both products and test out some units and see what you're most comfortable with.

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From what I can tell, you're going to get similar features in Sonicwall vs. Watchguard, but my personal preference leans toward WG. The interface is more difficult to grasp at first glance, but I found it to be far easier to manipulate policies than the SW interface. I also seem to remember having access to a lot better diagnostic tools than are included with SW, but I may have just been using higher-end WGs in the past.

I haven't had reliability or performance issues with either.

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