An appliance known as firewall hardware or a physical firewall device is an appliance that sits between the uplink system and the client system. It filters traffic based on pre-configured security policies, user profiles, business rules, and other business rules. The uplink is responsible for carrying traffic from public and private networks. The client system is comprised of a server, employee desktop, WFH system, IoT node, and a WFH system. This article will discuss the fundamentals of firewall hardware as well as the top 10 contenders for this market in 2022.

What is Firewall Hardware?

An appliance called a physical firewall device, or firewall hardware is an appliance that sits between the uplink system and the client system. It filters traffic based on pre-configured security policies, user profiles, business rules, and other business rules. The uplink is responsible for carrying traffic from private or public networks. The client system, on the other hand, can be a server, employee desktop, WFH system, IoT node, and so forth.

Firewall solutions are an essential component of enterprise security. Palo Alto Networks’ 2020 report found that firewalls (including hardware appliances) were the most important security measure an enterprise uses to protect its infrastructure. According to the report, 96.6% have a firewall installed. 53.8% of these companies also use web-based firewalls. More than 4 out of 5 organizations rely on firewall hardware and not software or cloud-based solutions.

How Does Firewall Hardware Work

It is used to examine incoming traffic and to allow or block data packets based on pre-set configurations. Data packets are data packets that carry data across networks. They contain header information. This information communicates the source, type, and destination of each packet. This header information is used by the firewall to ensure that only legitimate traffic is allowed in.

Advanced security policies can be enforced on top of firewall hardware. These policies can be used to detect malware, zero-day threats and brute force attack unauthorized access, and a host of other security risks.

Integrating the hardware with security information and events management (SIEM) could allow you to receive real-time alerts and detailed trend analysis. This will enable you to make recommendations for enterprise security.

Firewall hardware is, in other words, a crucial part of your cybersecurity toolkit and a key component of your network management tools.

These are five important things to know about firewall hardware devices

  1. The router might include a hardware appliance. You can have both a router and a firewall in such cases.
    Technically, a portable computing device with firewall software installed is considered firewall hardware.
  2. Hardware firewalls have the onboard memory that can be used to execute security policies, route traffic, and implement business rules.
  3. There are many options for firewall hardware, from small tablet-sized devices to ruggedized hardware that can be placed in your server room.
  4. There are two types: stateless firewalls and stateful firewalls. The former is more flexible and can be customized to suit your needs.
  5. Organizations will typically use firewall hardware in combination with firewall software to create a secure network environment.

Depending on your requirements, you can choose from a variety of firewall appliances. A multi-billion-dollar market for network security firewalls is expected to reach 10.5 billion in 2025. There are many options available for WFH network protection, Smart device security, small-business web security, enterprise threat prevention, and everything in between.

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Also read: List of Top 10 Open-Source Firewalls

Top 10 Firewall Hardware Devices

This list of the top ten firewall hardware devices covers the most common use cases. It is alphabetical.

1. Bitdefender BOX

A complete firewall hardware solution for your home and personal devices. It includes complimentary software (Bitdefender Total Security), installation, setup, and shipping.

Key Features

  • Protection for all devices in the network, even if they are not running an antivirus
  • Bitdefender Total Security Software Solution 1 Year Subscription
  • The BOX Network Security hub can monitor and manage your device ecosystem
  • Safe browsing, content filtering, and phishing/fraud prevention are some of the features.
  • Smart profiles to secure your device management in your home
  • Assessment of vulnerability and protection with brute force

USP: BitdefenderBOX is an end-to-end solution that plugs into your ISP router/router, or can be used as a standalone firewall appliance. The device has 1 GB DDR3 memory and 4 GB internal storage.

Pricing: Bitdefender BOX starts at $149.99 for a one-year subscription and $99 for renewal.

2. Cisco Firepower

Cisco’s Firepower series, a next-generation threat-focused firewall (NGFW), protects enterprise networks from sophisticated cyberattacks. It is an upgrade to trusted ASA appliances. Available in various specifications, it supports data transfer speeds of between 890 Mbps to 190 Gbps.

Key Features

  • Integrating advanced malware protection and Next-Generation Intrusion Prevention System, (NGIPS), with minimal degrading throughput
  • More than 99% of threat-blocking effectiveness and URL filtering in 80+ categories
  • Cisco Talos provides security intelligence updates 24 hours a day
  • Security task automation on a single platform
  • Cloud-based or on-premise Cisco Defense Orchestrator
  • Supports more than 4000 applications, users, geolocations, and websites

USP: Cisco Firepower integrates seamlessly into digital environments that have significant on-premise dependencies. Security updates are available daily from Cisco Talos. This firewall hardware device is available in several versions, including one that can be mounted on racks and has enough computing power to support servers.

Pricing: Cisco Firepower is available in 24 versions, ranging from Firepower 1010 up to Firepower 9300 – 3 x SM56 – pricing varies depending on your reseller and current Cisco subscriptions.

3. CUJO AI Smart Security Firewall

An AI-powered firewall appliance that protects your home office against network-based threats. This solution is powered by CUJO’s proprietary AI/ML innovations and extensive experience in serving telecom operators.

Key Features

  • Comprehensive protection for your IoT devices
  • Ultra-portable powered by Lithium-ion battery
  • Malicious activity detection online traffic scanning and phishing prevention
  • Safety measures for children include limiting internet hours and limiting their access to the Internet.
  • For remote monitoring, plug-and-play installation using a mobile/desktop app
  • Uses most popular mesh routers to support up to 1GB of internet speeds

USP: CUJOAI Smart Internet Security Firewall is small and portable, so it won’t clutter up your hardware. It is small in size, but it packs a punch. This device provides protection against most internet-related threats.

Pricing: CUJO is available at Amazon starting at $90-$110

4. Fortinet FortiGate(r), 6000F Series

Fortinet’s FortiGate is a high-performance NGFW device that designed for large companies and service providers. It has built-in SDWAN capabilities, encrypted IPSEC Tunnels, and a variety of deployment options.

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Key Features

  • For maximum speed, Powered by a next-gen Synergistic Processing Unit (SPU).
  • Ultra-low latency (as low as 2 microseconds).
  • Intrusion prevention based on real-time anomaly checking
  • Superior network performance through traffic prioritization and queuing
  • Accelerated security inspections and encryption/decryption offloading
  • FortiOS is to consolidate the ecosystem and take control

USP: This firewall hardware device has the Fortinet security cloth as it covers vital protection mechanisms like AI-driven detection, zero-trust network access, and cloud security. It is also difficult to find Fortinet’s unique SPU-based solution in this market.

Pricing: FortiGate, a premium device that is well-suited for heavy enterprise use, will cost you more than the reseller.

Also read: Best 10 Identity and Access Management (IAM) Solutions

5. Netgear ProSAFE

Netgear is a business-class firewall VPN solution to secure network access between HQ, remote offices, branches, and WFH workers.

Key Features

  • Secure data transmission via public and private networks
  • A flexible implementation that co-exists with your active ISP modems or Gigabit ports
  • For tailored security, you can create custom firewall rules
  • URL keyword filtering, protection, and real-time security alerts
  • For enterprise productivity, accelerate network processing
  • Protect against remote access by authenticating

USP: Netgear PROSAFE is the ideal solution for anyone who needs a robust, cost-effective, and long-lasting solution.

Pricing: Netgear products range in price from $40 to $300 Prices vary depending on where you are located and how large your order is.

6. Palo Alto Networks PA-7000 Series

This enterprise-grade firewall device is similar to Fortinet FortiGate and integrates with Microsoft Azure Directory Citrix and other popular IT infrastructure components.

Key Features

  • An ML-powered NGFW which achieved a 100% lab score
  • Unmanaged IoT devices covered and native 5G security
  • Security policies and detection of devices through behavioral analysis
  • To analyze SaaS user traffic, create custom app usage reports
  • For time-bound security decision enforcement, dynamic user groups are used
  • WFH employees, virtualized machines, and their coverage

USP: The PA-7000 Series features two USPs. Enterprise-grade IoT compatibility, and malicious activity prevention even when traffic is encrypted. The device also features WildFire(r), a malware prevention system that uses ML and cloud-based analysis for real-time threat information.

Pricing: Palo Alto Networks operates via its global network resellers. Prices vary between regions.

7. Appliances Netgate pfSense Security Gateway Appliances

This firewall hardware device solution is the result of a partnership between pfSense, an open-source firewall software company, and cybersecurity company Netgate.

Key Features

  • There are many options available, including remote workers and small offices as well as branch offices and large businesses.
  • Powered by industry-leading processors (ARM Cortex or Intel Atom or Intel Xeon).
  • RAM from 1GB up to 16GB, and 8GB to 150GB internal storage
  • Commercial support available for enterprise deployments
  • Security monitoring and reporting with real-time alarms
  • Cost optimization with open-source firewall software (pfSense).

USP: NetGate devices are robustly ruggedized and well-built for industrial use. This line of solutions has two main advantages: Intel processors and lots of memory/storage.

Pricing: The SG-1100 Secure Gateway is priced at $179

8. SonicWall Network Security Firewalls

A range of firewall hardware devices that are suitable for small and medium-sized businesses, large enterprises, and service providers, as well as data center operators and other service providers.

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Key Features

  • Small businesses will love the TZ Series NGFW with SD-WAN, SSL/TLS encryption, and up to 5Gbps throughput
  • The NSa Series NGFW is for mid-sized enterprises with Real-Time Deep Memory Inspection (RTDMI(tm), for blocking unknown malware
  • Large enterprises that have advanced threat prevention and unified security policies can use the NSsp NGFW Series
  • To derive threat intelligence insights, there are more than 1 million security sensors located in over 200 regions.
  • The management console can be hosted either on-premises or in the cloud

USP: SonicWall is known for its wide range of products. Each product family (TZ and NSa) has 3-10 options. This allows you to choose the right product mix for your network environment.

Pricing: SonicWall products can be purchased at regionally-specific prices through resellers.

Also read: Who is Better For Security: VPNs vs. Firewalls vs. Antivirus

9. Sophos XG Firewall

Sophos is a powerful firewall solution, that protects data exchange between HQW locations (similar to NetGear ProSAFE), and provides consolidated governance for private and public clouds.

Key Features

  • Unified Threat Management, including Security Reports and Secure Web App Tracking
  • SophosLabs deep-learning technology powers threat sandboxing
  • Spam filtering, Phish prevention, and Email Threat detection
  • Built-in VPN and SD-WAN for zero-touch deployment
  • Trend mapping using in-depth web usage analysis and activity analysis
  • Synchronized apps Control is used to detect shadow IT and high-risk programs

USP: This firewall hardware device is supported by Sophos Security, a security company known for creating industry-leading security solutions. The company’s Security Heartbeat(tm), a proprietary feature, monitors the health of your network and warns you if there is a threat. The device can also be used in conjunction with InterceptX, Sophos network security software, for an end-to-end protection system.

Pricing: Prices start at $992 Pricing will vary depending on whether you have additional licenses or software subscriptions.

10. WatchGuard Firebox T35 and T55

WatchGuard is a standalone firewall device that can be used for small offices or sites. It offers all the security features you’d expect from a unified threat management system.

Key Features

  • Its sleek, modern form factor is unmatched by any of its rivals
  • Available in regular, wireless, and ruggedized versions
  • Secure VPN Antivirus, Fast Scanning, and Complete Scanning
  • Limit of 200 users authenticated
  • Protection against DOS attacks, mixed threats, and dangerous data packets
  • Google for Business security and safe search

USP: WatchGuard is a sleek design and a variety of its devices. You also have options for remote workers, high-traffic industries like hotels, mid-sized offices, and rack-mounted devices for enterprise use.

Pricing: WatchGuard uses a transparent pricing model. The Firebox 8035 starts at $539 (software is additional).

Summary Up — Top Firewall Hardware Devices

The top ten firewall hardware devices for 2022 are Bitdefender BOX, Cisco ASA, CUJO AI, Fortinet FortiGate, NetGear ProSAFE, Palo Alto PA-7000, Netgate pfSense Appliances, SonicWall, Sophos XG, and WatchGuard. Firewall hardware can be a significant security enhancement for your organization, whether you’re an individual power user, a large company, or a digital service provider with its own infrastructure.

You can implement sophisticated, software-based security measures to protect your client systems. However, you must ensure that malicious traffic is blocked at the uplink stage. This will dramatically reduce the chance of an attack.