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° 20 december 1937 - † 15 november 2015
I hope to have my revenge on them, or at least on the bloodhound lawyers they send to me, one day; but in the meantime I just want to avoid this very unfortunate episode from happening again.
Looking for a way to block torrents on my network, that includes myself, my visitors and most of my neighbours, I decided to install a real firewall.
Firewalls are expensive. We're not talking about a software application blocking traffic on specific ports on your computer, but about a dedicated hardware device capable of analyzing in real time all traffic going over it. Most of these devices cost upwards from ¤500 or even ¤10 000+, depending whether you need a SOHO product or a full-blown enterprise level firewall. And all of this needs an expensive yearly license on top of the hardware
So what options do "prosumers" have? Well, the Sophos UTM seems to fill that gap. Sophos sells its own hardware for the SOHO market, but made the software free to download plus gives you a full license for up to 50 users for free. That also includes their antivirus for up to 12 users.
Basically, you can build your own hardware, install their image and have a professional, highly customizable firewall with free antivirus on top of it for free. I'm skeptical about altruism from big companies, so I wonder what their long-term strategy is. Getting a bigger share of the market? Anyway, for the time being, this is an unbeatable deal. For protecting my own 5 devices plus server with ESET I paid ¤200 last year - the server license is 75% of that price. For half the price in hardware as a one-time investment, I've got a lot more bang for my bucks now.
A short overview of its advantages and disadvantages:
- Full network control
- Options galore, including your own VPN
- Very documented and community-supported (Astaro forums)
- You'll need to be knowledgeable about networking or at least ready to invest time in it
- Expect a performance hit, depending on hardware
- Wifi not directly manageable, except if you use Sophos Wifi (¤¤¤) - but you can just connect an AP of course
More on my hardware and a step by step guide for getting the Sophos UTM's basic functions working right away. Before continuing, however, be aware that this page contains about 50 (resized) screenshots and you might consider twice before opening it on your mobile phone.
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