Greg Helledy on 11 Aug 2014 12:03:14 -0700

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[PLUG] Network gateway solution for small business?

We have an office with about 20 employees. We currently use a PC with a Windows-based application to handle connecting our LAN to the internet. The hardware and software/OS install are both aging and reliability is declining, which is proving to be a problem.

The solutions I see are:
1. buy a new PC and do a fresh install of the OS and application (both of which we already have licenses for)
2. buy a new PC and install an OSS alternative (pfSense?)
3. buy a dedicated gateway/router/firewall appliance

We are leaning towards 3. for a few reasons:

a. the router will be easier to maintain, take up less space, produce less noise and heat, and consume less electricity than a PC b. it looks like we can get a small business-class router for around (~$500) the price of a basic PC c. we can get an appliance that does out-of-the-box the things we care about, and don't need the additional flexibility that a PC would provide.

The things we need are:
*gateway with firewall that can be configured to do port forwarding of incoming connections *ability to handle 2 WANs simultaneously. We have service from two providers, for redundancy. We don't need any complex traffic shaping/load balancing, just need traffic to go to ISP B when ISP A is down.
*DHCP that can assign fixed IPs to networked machines by MAC
*antivirus scanning of traffic, to protect the Windows-based machines on the LAN *a built-in wireless access point would be nice, but is not necessary (we can just plug something in).

I have started doing some research but surprisingly, flaky firmware seems to be a frequent user complaint even in this class of device. I love my tomato router at home but we need to stick with factory firmware for this application. If anyone has a recommendation, please send it my way. Thanks in advance, and sorry for the interruption.

Greg Helledy
GRA, Incorporated
P:  +1 215-884-7500
F:  +1 215-884-1385

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