Mailing List SIMS@mail.stalker.com Message #14847
From: Tod Fitch <Tod@FitchDesign.com>
Subject: Re: Wandering off-topic: Speedstream 5861 (was Re: Authentication Attempts)
Date: Wed, 1 Dec 2004 08:40:01 -0800
To: SIMS Discussions <SIMS@mail.stalker.com>
X-Mailer: Apple Mail (2.619)
On Dec 1, 2004, at 7:44 AM, Mike Hebel wrote:


Low Cost: Linksys Router with Firewall option.
<snip>
More Cost and Even Bigger Beef: A Cisco PIX firewall.  It's basically a
specialized PC but it has almost no moving parts - I think there's a fan
in the power supply but that's it - and it works damn well.

It all depends on the size of the network in question and what type of
incoming connection you're using.

I have just finished (I think/hope) configuring a Cisco PIX501 firewall to replace my older Linksys that did not have a firewall option.

I found that the web/Java based interface was unreliable/unusable with OS X IE, Mozilla and Safari (Safari seemed to be better than the others but still hung up). That meant configuration through the command line interface (CLI) and serial port. My Belkin USB/serial converter worked fine. (Once you get some configuration into the box you can ssh into it so you don't need the serial port for every change.)

However, setting up this beast using a CLI is not for the faint of heart. No where in the approximately 1000 pages of documentation on the supplied CD did I find a reasonable "theory of operations" manual. So it was a matter of doing a lot of trial and error, reading and re-reading the cryptic command reference manual and the configuration manual whose examples were prone to not working. And, of course, having the IT guy at work with Cisco training look over my settings too.

I hope my effort on this box has been worth it, but I would not recommend a Cisco firewall to the average SOHO type who is running a product like SIMS. The configuration and setup on a PIX is worse than the old version of sendmail that sent me off looking for an alternative like SIMS.

By the way, the PIX501 draws 5 watts of power and has no fan or other moving parts.

To further wander off topic, has anyone had experience with SurgeMail (http://www.surgemail.com/)? It looks like it is in my price range as a easy to administer replacement to SIMS but I have not seen much more that press releases on it.

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