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What is MU-MIMO wireless technology?

Did you know that wireless technology dates back to the 19th century? Through the years, great inventors like Michael Faraday, Thomas Edison and Nicola Tesla helped mold the concepts and theories behind electromagnetic radio frequency (RF).

It wasn’t until 1997, however, that the first 802.11 technology was introduced, which is known as the 802.11 legacy standard today. Since then, each new standard either introduced new technology or significantly improved over an older one.

The same holds true for 802.11ac technology. 802.11ac Wave 1 offered a significant enhancement over its predecessor, 802.11n. 802.11ac Wave 1 provided higher channel bandwidth and a new modulation scheme, significantly increasing the max data rates.

The Wave 2 wireless standard

Technology is always replaced and improved upon. Here, 802.11ac Wave 1 technology was replaced by today’s 802.11ac Wave 2 technology. With technologies like the Multi-User Multiple Input Multiple Output (MU-MIMO), increased channel width and more spatial streams (SS) than ever before to make Wave 2 technology a game-changer. Even though the theoretical maximum data rate as per the Wave 2 standard is 6.9 Gbps (8SS AP), the theoretical maximum with a 4SS access point (AP) is 3.5 Gbps.

Specs802.11n802.11ac Wave 1802.11ac Wave 2
Frequency band2.4 GHz and 5 GHz5 GHz5 GHz
MIMO supportSU-MIMOSU-MIMOMU-MIMO
Max channel width40 MHz80 MHz160 MHz
Max Spatial streams448
Modulation64-QAM256-QAM256-QAM
Beamformingimplicit and explicitexplicitexplicit
Backward compatibility11a/b/g11a/b/g/n11a/b/g/n
Max data rates600 Mbps1.7 Gbps6.9 Gbps

Compare the evolution of wireless capabilities from 802.11n to today’s Wave 2 standard.

What is MU-MIMO and how is it different from SU-MIMO?

MU-MIMO is a Wave 2 technology. With Single User Multiple Input Multiple Output (SU-MIMO), the AP is able to talk to only one client at a time. However, with MU-MIMO technology the AP can now transmit up to four devices at a time in the downstream direction.

Talking to more devices in a single transmission decreases airtime, increases efficiency and delivers a better user experience. For MU-MIMO to work, both the AP and the client must support the technology. Since the 11ac Wave 2 technology is backwards-compatible, if the Wave 2 AP has to transmit to a Wave 1 device it will fall back to the Wave 1 technology and use SU-MIMO to transmit.

MU-MIMO improves wireless speed, performance

Faster data transmission with MU-MIMO improves efficiency and ensures more airtime for all clients.  802.11ac Wave 2 enhancements lead to faster data rates, providing higher throughputs, better performance and user experience.

With a 4SS AP, operating on 160MHz channel, sending data to a 3SS client device, the maximum data rate that can be achieved is 2.6 Gbps. However, this is the maximum theoretical data rate. For reference, the latest Apple MacBook Pro is a 3SS 802.11ac Wave 1 device. The MacBook Air is a 2SS 802.11ac Wave 1 device and the Galaxy S3 is a 1SS 802.11ac Wave 1 device.

Overall, MU-MIMO increases network capacity and throughput. This allows the wireless network to meet the rising demand for data-hungry applications. Since the wireless access point can talk to multiple devices at the same time, the number of devices in the queue decreases, resulting in reduced wait time and latency. Increase in the overall network capacity and reduced latency benefits not just the Wave 1 and Wave 2 devices, but also the legacy clients. More than one client is needed to take advantage of MU-MIMO.

Specs1SS2SS3SS4SS
4SS, 80MHz43386713001733
4SS, 160MHz867173326003466

Wave 2 access point data rates in Mbps with different client types.

What happens during MU-MIMO transmission?

A MU-MIMO-capable AP sends a sounding signal to the client devices in the network. Each of the clients sends back a Channel State Information (CSI) based on the information it receives from the sounding signal. The AP calculates the phase and signal strength based on the CSI it receives from each client and selects the MU-MIMO-capable devices that can be grouped in one transmission.

Does MU-MIMO rely on any external factors?

Yes, MU-MIMO relies heavily on multipath and beamforming. Multipath is the process of two or more signals reaching the client at the same time or within nanoseconds of each other. Multipath happens due to RF barriers like walls, metal surfaces and concrete that cause the signals to reflect, refract, etc. Beamforming, however, directs the signal in the direction of the client.

Is it the right time to buy 802.11ac Wave 2 or should I wait for 802.11ax?

According to multiple analyst sources, the Wi-Fi market is not slowing down. For instance, IHS forecasts 11ac Wave 2 technology to increase 12 percent annually for the next three years. There are a number of Wave 2-capable devices in the market today and this will increase in the near future.

Should you wait for 802.11ax? The answer is simple: no. You are looking at a couple of years for the full-fledged adoption of 11ax products. The standard in itself is expected to be ratified in late 2019 after which it needs to pass interoperability testing by Wi-Fi Alliance.

Once manufacturers release 11ax-capable APs that are certified by the Wi-Fi Alliance, mainstream adoption will occur, which is expected to be around 2020. At the same time, 11ax-capable client devices are required to reap the full benefits of the 11ax network. For the next couple of years, 11ac Wave 2 technology will remain the next-gen wireless connectivity standard.

Where can I buy Wave 2 wireless access points?

SonicWall SonicWave Wave 2 access points (432i/432e/432o 802.11ac) provide all the benefits of Wave 2 technology. You can expect superior performance and reliability with these access points. MU-MIMO technology enables SonicWave 400 series access points to transmit up to four devices at the same time.

To implement best practices in wireless networking and wireless security, download our complimentary technical brief, “SonicWall Wireless Network Security.” Learn how SonicWall wireless network security solutions can alleviate performance and security concerns, enabling you to extend your business network without jeopardizing its integrity.

Wireless Security: Why You Need to Take It Seriously In 2018

When waves of cyber attacks hit last year, such as WannaCry and Not Petya ransomwares, businesses lost billions of dollars in high-profile breaches. In addition, more than half of the U.S. population’s Social Security information was compromised in the Equifax breach. It was a record-breaking year.

Perhaps the only good that came out of these fiascos is that users became more aware of the importance of cyber security. But it is no longer sufficient to only care about wired network security. Organizations and businesses also have to pay attention to other aspects of security, such as physical security and wireless security.

In line with multiple cyber security forecasts, such as our 8 Cyber Security Predictions for 2018, organizations need to watch out for more sophisticated attacks in 2018. According to the Wi-Fi Alliance, more than 9 billion wireless devices will be used in 2018. Gartner forecasts connected devices to rise from 11 billion in 2018 to over 20 billion by 2020. With the proliferation of wireless-enabled and IoT devices, wireless network security is vital.

However, not all wireless security solutions are equal. Last year, for example, many dealt with KRACK (Key Reinstallation Attack), which leveraged a WPA2 vulnerability that could lead to man-in-the-middle attacks. While many wireless vendors suffered this vulnerability, SonicWall wireless access points were not vulnerable.

How do I choose a wireless security solution?

It can be easy to get drawn in by sales pitches that show you pretty dashboards, features that you don’t need or seldom use, or super-expensive gear that you pay a premium for just because of the brand name.

Instead, take a step back and think of what you really should care about: a Wi-Fi connection that actually works with unfaltering security. Make sure you are committing yourself to a vendor that takes security, user experience and reliability very seriously.

How can I make my Wi-Fi secure?

Organizations, small- and medium-sized businesses (SMB) and individual users can implement cyber security best practices to drastically reduce Wi-Fi vulnerabilities.

  • First and foremost, make sure that you are not broadcasting an open SSID (how others see and connect to your wireless network)
  • Adjust the transmit power on your access points to serve just the area of coverage that is required
  • For corporate networks, separate guest users from internal users
  • Turn on rogue detection and ensure that firewall settings, such as DPI-SSL/TLS are enabled on your network
  • To further improve security, add a firewall to your network

Wireless is an overlay to your wired network. Adding a firewall with an integrated wireless controller capability to your network will further enhance the security of your entire network. The benefits of adding such a firewall include:

  • Complete management of wireless and wired infrastructure
  • Granular application identification, control and visualization
  • Discover and block advanced threats and vulnerabilities
  • Improved security posture and performance that scale to your business requirements

Though there are many wireless security features that can enhance your wireless security, some are more critical than others. Basic functionalities like Wireless Intrusion Detection System (WIDS) and Wireless Intrusion Prevention System (WIPS) must be supported across wired and wireless infrastructure.

Others cyber security capabilities, like application control, content filtering and deep-packet inspection (DPI) even over encrypted traffic, are all essential.

Adding multi-layered security protection to your overall network infrastructure will help minimize network breach success. In order to support the next-generation mobile workforce, BYOD and ability to implement wireless guest services is significant. Site tools can be used to survey wireless signals to optimize the required area of coverage.

These wireless security capabilities, coupled with single-pane-of-glass management, makes it effective and efficient for network admins to have visibility into the network and detect threats on a real-time basis.

Should I buy a SonicWall wireless access point?

SonicWall is a pioneering leader in cyber security, providing seamless security and comprehensive breach detection across wired, wireless, cloud and mobile networks. Best-in-class security latest 802.11ac Wave 2 technology, and an attractive price point make SonicWave wireless access point solutions a sound choice for organizations of all sizes and industries.

[foogallery id=”5554″]  
SonicWave wireless access points come in three options:

  • SonicWave 432i (internal antenna version)
  • SonicWave 432e (external antenna version)
  • SonicWave 432o (outdoor access point)

The SonicWave 432 Series comes with a built-in third radio for dedicated security scanning. While many companies provide security and wireless products, SonicWall offers a true end-to-end secure wireless solution.

Need more information about wireless access security? Read our executive brief, “Why You Need Complete Wireless and Mobile Access Security.” Together, let’s make sure your network is ready to face these challenges, and create a fail-proof network for a secure, next-generation user experience.

Take Steps to Minimize the Impact Black Friday and Cyber Monday Online Shopping Poses to Your Network

Now that Halloween has passed and Thanksgiving is on the near-term horizon, the holiday shopping season is kicking in. Almost as soon as the trick-or-treating ended the Black Friday ads starting pouring into my email box. This season some of the major retailers are announcing their Black Friday deals early even though they won’t be available for purchase until Thanksgiving. Of course most of us can’t resist peeking to see what we can get for less. According to a survey by the National Retail Federation (NRF), over half of holiday shoppers start their research in October or earlier. More than one-third will make a purchase in November, most likely during the period between Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Shopping for gifts is typically a fun experience whether we do it in the stores or online. The latter continues to in grow popularity as we become more confident making our purchasing decisions on mobile devices. In a PwC survey 84 percent of respondents said they would spend at least some of their shopping time online. That’s a pretty high number. We can expect this trend to continue, which has implications for every organization.

Online shopping in the workplace poses potential risks for organizations, especially around the holidays. Cyber criminals know that we’ll be spending time shopping online so they’re more aggressive when it comes to launching spam and phishing attacks. Have you been receiving more emails lately about special offers such as a big sale or a new credit card? If you did make a purchase and you’re having the item delivered you’ll get an email on the delivery status. You may also be receiving holiday e-cards. Are you certain the email or e-card is legitimate? How about the website that you’re directed to? Open any of these, click on a link to go to a website where you’re asked to provide login credentials or financial information and you could be exposing your organization and yourself to potential threats such as ransomware. It doesn’t matter if your employees are connected over a wired, wireless or mobile network.

Securing your organization’s network and the data that travels across it from threats is a big concern. It’s not the only one, however. We know that during the holiday season employees will be spending work time researching and purchasing gifts online, which means their productivity will take a hit. In addition, these activities can consume large amounts of network bandwidth that would otherwise be used for business-critical applications. So do other holiday-related activities such as streaming promotional videos and holiday music. With the growing use of personal devices in the workplace the line between our professional and home lives has blurred. Employees often feel that if they’re using their own device, engaging in online shopping and other activities at the office isn’t an issue. The problem is, the device is often connected to the corporate network which introduces risk.

Look, no one wants to ruin the holiday spirit, so completely eliminating online shopping, watching videos and listening to music at work probably isn’t realistic. However there are steps can you take to minimize the impact these activities have on your organization. For example:

  • Warn employees to be wary of emails from sources they don’t recognize
  • If they do open an email, think twice about clicking on links
  • Establish a policy for strong passwords and consider 2-factor authentication
  • Utilize security technologies such as intrusion prevention and anti-malware to create multiple layers of protection
  • Make sure you have a next-generation firewall than can decrypt and inspect TLS/SSL-encrypted traffic

Why is this last point important? Increasingly cyber criminals are using encryption to hide their attacks and legacy firewalls aren’t able to decrypt HTTPS traffic and scan it for threats. In our 2017 Annual Threat Report we found that over 60% of web traffic is now encrypted. Firewalls that can’t inspect encrypted traffic leave organizations susceptible to ransomware attacks and other threats.

If you’re unsure whether your current firewall can detect threats hidden in encrypted traffic, SonicWall can help. Our next-generations firewalls provide protection from threats hidden in encrypted traffic. Visit our website to learn more about comprehensive threat prevention at multi-gigabit speeds.

Innovate More, Fear Less at CETPA 2017 with SonicWall for Your School Network

Recently, the personal information of Palo Alto High School students was published via a website that allowed students to see class rankings, grade-point averages and identification numbers. Is your school network at risk?

Know your best defense against new threats. Join SonicWall at Booth 904 at the 2017 CETPA Annual Conference on Nov. 14-17 in Pasadena, California. With over 3,000 K-12 schools and districts relying on SonicWall next-generation firewalls and real-time automated breach detection and prevention with SonicWall Advanced Threat Protection cloud sandboxing service, we’ll be onsite to share our expertise on the latest threats and best practices to stop cyber attacks.

Can’t-miss highlights include:

  • Solving Real-world Network Security Issues in Today’s K-12 Campus Environment
    • Speaker: Jenna Burrows, Director of Business Services, Calistoga Joint Unified School District.
    • Date & Time: 4 p.m., Nov. 14
    • Location: Room 204
    • Learn how this district, with the help of SonicWall Silver partner Napa Valley Networks, provides over 900 students and staff with secure, uninterrupted network access, protects students from harmful web content and stops hackers from stealing confidential records. We’ll also explore advantages of a managed SonicWall’s Security-as-a-Service (SECaaS) approach to network security.

“It’s really hard for districts, at any point, to have to lay out a large amount of money,” for projects of this type, says Burrows. “It’s just not reasonable. There’s really no value in us purchasing it outright, and then, say, it’s obsolete in a couple years anyway. It makes a lot more sense for us to do it monthly. It (SonicWall Security-As-A-Service) provides more flexibility but it’s also much more reasonable in terms of breaking out the costs, not having to pay a large upfront amount.” said Jenna Burrows, Director of Business Services, Calistoga Joint Unified School District.

  • Vendor Shootout: Capture Advanced Threat Protection Sandbox
    • Presenter: Tim Johnson, System Engineer, SonicWall
    • Date & Time: 8 a.m., Nov. 16
    • Examine and compare the effectiveness of SonicWall’s Capture ATP, a leading cloud sandboxing solutions in preventing zero-day and advanced threats. Following the shootout, discuss your specific needs with our experts at booth 904 in the exhibit hall from 9-4 p.m.
  • SonicWall Live Demos
    • Date & Time: 9-4 p.m.

Throughout the event, we’ll be showcasing the SonicWall Advanced Threat Protection sandbox service, the new SonicOS 6.5, NSA 2650 next-gen firewall, SonicWave Wireless Access Points,  Cloud Analytics and Secure Mobile Access 12.1 with ongoing demonstrations focused on:

  •  Advanced Threats: Watch our award-winning multi-engine sandbox, SonicWall Capture ATP, scan network traffic in the cloud, and block unknown files until our Capture Threat Network reaches a verdict in near real-time.
  • Encrypted Threats: Most web-based malware is hidden by SSL/TLS encryption. Watch our DPI-SSL uncover hidden malicious attacks, block C&C communications and stop data exfiltration.
  • Wireless & Mobile Threats: Wi-Fi and mobile devices present a major security risk for students, faculty and administrators. View our Wireless and Mobile Access solutions, including the new Secure Mobile Access (SMA) 12.1 and SonicWave 802.11ac Wave 2 wireless access points.
  • Email Threats: Email remains a primary vector for attacks, such as ransomware. Discover how our next-gen Email Security solution can block spoofed email attacks with hosted and on-premise configurations.
  • Restricted Web Content: Protect students and employees, and meet K-12 regulatory compliance. Watch our Content Filtering Client block inappropriate, unproductive, illegal and malicious web content on school-issued devices taken off campus.

SonicWall is dedicated to helping K-12 schools and districts innovate more and fear less. Realize the promise of technology-driven learning environments, on campus and over the web.

Join us at the 2017 CETPA Annual Conference, tune in via Twitter #CETPA2017 and follow @SonicWall.

Are there KRACKs in Your Wireless Network Security?

Information and recommendations on protecting your wireless deployment

On October 16, 2017, Belgian security researchers made public their findings that demonstrated fundamental design flaws in WPA2 that could lead to man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks on wireless networks.

Named KRACKs, or key reinstallation attacks, this technique can theoretically be used by attackers to steal sensitive information from unsuspecting wireless users leveraging these flaws in the WiFi standard. Based on their research, CERT issued a series of CVEs to address this flaw, and most vendors affected have issued patches as of this writing.

More details on these vulnerabilities are available on the researchers’ website at www.krackattacks.com.

Are SonicWall wireless solutions vulnerable?

SonicWall Capture Labs has evaluated these vulnerabilities and determined that our SonicPoint and SonicWave wireless access points, as well as our TZ and SOHO Wireless firewalls, are not vulnerable. No updates are needed for SonicWall wireless access points or firewalls with integrated wireless.

What can I do to protect my wireless network?

Whether or not you are a SonicWall wireless network security user, we do recommend that you take immediate action to minimize the risk presented by these vulnerabilities.  We advise the following:

  • Patch all of your WiFi clients, whether Windows, Linux, Android, iOS or Mac OS based, with the latest KRACK updates from your client vendors. The attack is launched by compromising the wireless device, not the wireless router, so that is the most important area to focus on when you go about patching.
  • If you are not a SonicWall wireless customer, check with your vendor to determine if you need to patch your wireless access points and/or routers. Ideally, your WiFi solution would be centrally managed allowing you to provide updates and patches in a timely fashion without crippling IT resources. Again, if you are a SonicWall wireless customer no updates to the access points are needed.
  • Add an additional layer of security by using VPN technology to encrypt all network traffic between your wireless devices and your firewall. For SonicWall customers, we recommend the following:
  • Advise your users to transmit sensitive data only on TLS/SSL-encrypted web pages. Look for the green lock symbol in the address bar along with https in the URL.
  • The new SonicWall SonicWave series includes a dedicated third radio for scanning.  For SonicWave wireless users, we recommend that you turn on the wireless intrusion detection feature that allows you to block traffic from rogue access points (specifically in this case an evil twin).  This will ensure that the third radio is continually scanning for these types of attacks in real-time.
  • Be on the lookout for unusual activity inside or outside your facility. In order to launch an attack using these vulnerabilities, an attacker must be physically located within Wi-Fi range of both the access point and the wireless client that is attempting to connect to the network. That means the attacker must be in or near your building, which makes it a bit more difficult to leverage than other Internet-only attacks.
  • One other note: there is no need to change Wi-Fi passwords as the KRACKs do not require the Wi-Fi password to be successful.

SonicWall believes that IT must be able to provide secure, high-speed access for the organization across both the wired and the wireless network, especially as Wi-Fi becomes more of a necessity and less of a luxury. However, cyber criminals are racing to leverage wireless to initiate advanced attacks.

SonicWall can help you extend breach prevention to your wireless network. SonicWall’s wireless network security solution provides deep packet inspection for both unencrypted and TLS/SSL-encrypted traffic along with a cloud-based, multi-engine Capture sandbox and a complete lineup of centrally managed SonicWave 802.11ac Wave 2 wireless access points.

To learn more, visit SonicWall Wireless and Mobile Access solutions.

Wave 2 Wireless Standard Powers SonicWall’s New High-Performance SonicWave Access Points

Over the past few months, Verizon has launched a series of television ads in which the main character utters the line, “Right plan, wrong network.” The actor saying the line is talking to another character who is clearly having an unhappy experience with his/her cellular connection. If you own a mobile phone, it’s likely you’ve gone through something similar at one point.

While the focus is on cellular in this case, the same can be said for Wi-Fi. It’s all about the user experience. Slow wireless performance is a big turn-off. If you’re providing wireless connectivity to employees, customers, students or guests, odds are you’ve heard complaints about the performance of your wireless network at some point.

Of course, there are a number of factors that impact the quality of the wireless connection, such as physical objects, proximity to an access point and, if you’re outdoors, weather. None of this matters to Wi-Fi users, however. They just expect to have lightning-fast connectivity.

The Wave 2 Wireless Standard Is Here

Something else that affects performance is the technology behind the wireless signal. If you’re like me and still have an iPhone 5 that only supports the 802.11n wireless standard, you’re not expecting much. However, if you have a more modern phone you can take advantage of the faster 802.11ac standard, which has been around for the past five or so years.

This assumes the access point (AP) you’re connecting to also supports that standard. Times are changing once again and the new standard is 802.11ac Wave 2, which promises multi-gigabit wireless performance.

In fact, we’re right in the middle of the transition to Wave 2 technology, which means more client devices (e.g., phones, laptops, tablets, etc.) that support the new standard are coming to market along with Wave 2 wireless access points. To take advantage of the faster speeds, both the client and access point must support Wave 2.

Introducing SonicWave Wireless Access Points

Given the seemingly universal use of wireless in retail stores, schools, doctors’ offices and other locations, and the need for high-speed connectivity, SonicWall is extending its portfolio of wireless products with the introduction of a series of 802.11ac Wave 2 wireless access points.

The SonicWave series features two indoor access points, the 432e and 432i, and one outdoor access point, the 432o. All three models are built on the idea of delivering an exceptionally fast, secure and reliable wireless experience.

SonicWave access points support the 802.11ac wireless standard, so they’re able to take advantage of performance and reliability features such as Multi-User MIMO (MU-MIMO), which enables simultaneous transmission from the access point to multiple wireless clients instead of just one.

A built-in 2.5 GbE port eliminates the need for multiple 1 GbE ports to facilitate multi-gigabit throughput. For enhanced reliability, beamforming focuses the wireless signal on an individual client instead of spreading the data transmission equally in all directions.

Wireless Security, Speed

From an organizational standpoint, providing high-speed wireless is essential. It enables the use of bandwidth-intensive apps and faster sharing of data. Securing that data as it travels across the wireless network is equally important.

SonicWall’s solution to the need for wireless security and speed is something we call Wireless Network Security, which combines SonicWave access points with our next-generation firewalls, such as the NSA series.

All inbound and outbound Wi-Fi traffic is scanned by the SonicWall firewall’s high-speed deep packet inspection (DPI) engine, including TLS/SSL encrypted connections, so threats such as ransomware and intrusions are removed. Unknown files are analyzed by our Capture Advanced Threat Protection service to eliminate zero-day threats.

Other security and control capabilities, such as content filtering, application control and intelligence, can be run on the wireless network to provide added layers of protection. The solution also integrates additional security-related features, including wireless intrusion detection and prevention, virtual access points and wireless guest services.

How else can SonicWall help you provide a fast, reliable and secure wireless experience?

  • Dedicated third security radio – Continually scan the wireless spectrum for rogue access points without impacting performance using the SonicWave access point’s third radio, something very few Wave 2 access points on the market provide.
  • MiFi Extender – Attach a 3G/4G/LTE modem to the SonicWave access point for use as either the primary wide area network (WAN) or as a secondary failover WAN link for business continuity.
  • Bluetooth Low Energy (aka Bluetooth Smart) radio – Use industrial, scientific and medical (ISM) applications for healthcare, fitness, retail beacons, security and home entertainment over a low-energy link.
  • AirTime Fairness – Distribute air time equally among connected clients, ensuring faster clients get more data in their time while slower clients receive less.
  • Band steering – Steer dual-band clients to connect automatically to the less-crowded 5 GHz frequency band, leaving the more-crowded 2.4 GHz frequency for legacy clients.

Wave 2 wireless technology is here and with it comes the promise of a faster and better user experience. To learn more about how the SonicWall SonicWave series can help you provide that experience, explore the new SonicWave series on our website.

Meet the New SonicWall NSA 2650 Next-Gen Firewall – Where Faster Meets More Secure

Today I am excited to share the new addition to SonicWall’s NSA product family of Next-Generation Firewalls, the NSA 2650.  Three key trends form the design drivers for the new NSA 2650

  1. Wireless Devices Explosion – The demand for increased bandwidth from wireless networks is constantly on the rise with the growing number of wireless devices used per person. The wireless industry is going through waves of transformation (pun-intended) to support the requirement for more bandwidth. With the latest 802.11ac Wave 2 wireless standards opening the door for multi-gig WiFi performance there is a strong need for switches and firewalls that connect to wireless access points to support these faster speeds without increasing the cost to the network infrastructure.
  2. Multi-gig Campus Requirements – Campus/branch networks require technology trend adoption without adding significant costs to the network infrastructure. For example, switches and firewalls supporting wireless access points must be able to do so with existing the Cat5e/Cat6 cabling infrastructure.
  3. Encrypted Traffic Surge – The trend towards Secure Sockets Layer/Transport Layer Security (SSL/TLS) encryption has been on the rise for several years. Articles on the use of SSL/TLS encryption typically indicate that a little over 50% of all web traffic is now encrypted and that percentage is expected to continue growing. At SonicWall, data gathered by our Capture Labs Threat Research team shows the percentage to be a little higher, around 62%. We found that as web traffic grew throughout 2016, so did SSL/TLS encryption, from 5.3 trillion web connections in 2015 to 7.3 trillion in 2016. As vendors such as Google, Facebook, Twitter and others continue to move to HTTPS, we expect the use of HTTPS to increase. So, organizations now require a secure platform to protect their network from the sophisticated encrypted threats that evade the traditional security mechanisms. 

The NSA 2650 firewall is aimed at campus and branch networks that must secure their environments against the growing number of threats looking for new ways to burrow into networks. The new NSA 2650 firewall is the first branch and campus firewall to deliver automated real-time breach detection and prevention, as well as TLS/SSL decryption and inspection, over multi-gigabit wired and 802.11ac Wave 2 wireless networks. The SonicWall NSA 2650 represents the continuing evolution of SonicWall’s vision for a deeper level of network security without a performance penalty. More than simply a replacement for its predecessor, the NSA 2600, the NSA 2650 addresses the growing trends in web encryption and mobility by delivering a solution that meets the need for high-speed threat prevention.

The NSA 2650 is a 1U-device powered by four cores that provide the processing power necessary to support the compute-intensive deep packet inspection services such as:

  • Intrusion Prevention
  • Anti-Virus
  • Anti-Spyware
  • TLS/SSL inspection and decryption
  • Application Visualization
  • Application Control, Botnet detection
  • Geo-IP identification
  • Anti-Spam
  • User Identification and Advanced Threat Protection

Real-Time Inspection of SSL and TLS Attacks:

Unlike competing firewalls that perform well only with unencrypted connections, the NSA 2650 is built to support the need for more TLS/SSL inspection connections. The NSA 2650 features an unmatched number of encrypted web connections, up to 12,000 and performs deep packet inspection on each connection after first decrypting the traffic.

To protect against more advanced threats such as unknown and zero-day attacks that are concealed in encrypted web traffic, the NSA 2650 utilizes Capture, SonicWall’s cloud-based multi-engine sandboxing service that runs on the firewall. Suspicious files are sent to the award-winning SonicWall Capture service for analysis before rendering a verdict.

The NSA 2650 is a high-port density firewall that features 4×2.5-GbE SFP, 4×2.5-GbE, and 12×1-GbE interfaces with a dedicated management port. In addition to the multi-gigabit ports, high-speed processors and robust onboard memory, the NSA 2650 includes additional hardware enhancements that make it the ideal NGFW for mid-sized organization and distributed enterprises. An optional second power supply is available in case of failure for added redundancy. To help with scalability, the NSA 2650 includes two expansion slots. One is pre-populated with a 16 GB storage module to support features including logging, reporting, last signature update, backup and restores and more. The second slot provides flexibility to add future feature and physical capability expansion. Expandable in the future with additional modules, this versatile, high-port density firewall platform has the capacity to evolve through firmware updates to keep ahead of threats such as ransomware and intrusions.

With the NSA 2650, SonicWall yet again adds a ground-breaking security product to its portfolio. Combined with new 802.11ac Wave 2 SonicWave wireless access points, SonicWall creates a high-speed wireless network security solution that provides wireless users with an enhanced mobile experience.

Our latest firmware release, SonicOS 6.5, has more than 60 new features, and provides support for NSA 2650 hardware platform where faster meets more secure without any compromise on performance to all traffic including encrypted traffic.

Test drive the new NSA 2650 on SonicWall live demo: https://livedemo.sonicwall.com

SonicWall Delivers More Speed, Security Across Entire Portfolio

New SonicWall NSA 2650 Firewall, and SonicWave Access Points Take Security, Speed and Analytics to Elite Levels

Defending your business is job No. 1. But with so many vectors and end points, it’s an arduous challenge to identify and mitigate known and unknown threats across multiple locations, networks and endpoints — particularly as the need for wireless and mobile access scales to untold heights.

It’s this amalgamation of technology that makes SonicWall’s latest announcement so intriguing. It’s not another product. It’s not just a new service. It’s not only a refined dashboard and interface.

The innovation here is keenly focused on integrating each of these advanced “ingredients” into a powerful platform that helps businesses automate real-time breach detection and prevention while exceeding speed and performance expectations.

An ‘Absolutely Superb’ Firewall

If you missed the announcement, “SonicWall Turbocharges Innovation with Unprecedented Delivery of New Wireless, Mobile and Wired Network Security Products,” this platform approach is central to how SonicWall proactively defends its end customers.

In fact, we allowed customers to beta test the new products in real-world situations. The feedback was resounding, particularly for the new SonicWall NSA 2650 firewall and our range of new SonicWall SonicWave access points, which deliver elite speeds via the 802.11ac Wave 2 standard.

“The new NSA 2650 is an absolutely superb product,” said Dr. Michael Breen, Dean of Arts at Mary Immaculate College. “In my opinion, the speed and level of security is unparalleled in its class. It gives us the throughput to conduct deep packet inspection (DPI) of encrypted traffic without costing us any loss of performance.”

The NSA 2650 firewall enables threat prevention over 2.5 gigabit Ethernet wired and 802.11ac Wave 2 wireless networks, supports twice the number of DPI connections and offers 12,000 DPI SSL connections, an increase of 12X.

“Protecting sensitive information and preventing security breaches is paramount,” said Breen. “Our network contains highly private student information and we must conform to EU GDPR (European Union General Data Protection Regulation) protocols. We see over a thousand suspect probes at our gateway every week from eastern Europe. We need to lock down access to only authorized users. We’re also concerned with threats hidden in an increasingly high proportion of encrypted traffic.”

SonicOS Goes Modern

There’s nothing like a fresh UI. Our teams have worked tirelessly to re-envision everything about our popular operating system, SonicOS. Featuring more than 50 improvements and enhancements — not to mention a modern look and feel — SonicOS 6.5 is the biggest customer-driven release in company history.

“SonicWall products have always been very good, but the new SonicOS 6.5 is a giant step forward,” said Greg Thomas, owner of ComLogic, a SonicWall partner. “SonicWall is clearly visionary, not just in protection, but in analytics and usability as well. The new UI is fresh, relevant and easy to use.”

The most apparent change you’ll notice is the slimmed navigation, which now places emphasis on three of the most important functionalities: Monitor, Investigate and Manage.

“The biggest thing you’ll notice is that we’ve moved the navigation around,” said SonicWall senior UX and product design lead Tara Kelly. “We’ve done this to separate all the tasks that you need to do in three macro categories. This takes what used to be a giant menu on the left-hand side and breaks them down into smaller, bite-sized tasks.”

SonicOS offers all the standard features and capabilities you’d expect in easy, convenient locations. This includes everything from logs, reports and tools to upgrades, connectivity breakouts, systems setups and security configurations.

We will have more on SonicOS 6.5 in the future, including detailed overviews and walkthroughs.

Real-Time Analytics for Firewalls & Access Points

Each and every administrator, architect, analyst and cyber security pro wants to make better decisions faster. We want to be confident, smarter and decisive. Unfortunately, we don’t always have actionable data when we need it. In many cases, we have too much data that’s unorganized and unusable.

The new SonicWall Cloud Analytics application will help solve this everyday challenge. The intelligence-drive engine features real-time data presented in a structured, meaningful, actionable and easily consumable manner. You’ll be able to monitor, record, analyze and report security data for deep forensic analysis across multiple SonicWall firewalls and SonicWave wireless access points.

Our goal is to truly empower security teams, analysts, auditors, boards, C-suites and stakeholders to discover, interpret, prioritize and take appropriate defensive actions against both known and unknown cyberattacks or threats. Smarter decisions faster.

An extension of the recently introduced SonicWall Cloud Global Management System (GMS), SonicWall Cloud Analytics provides extensive drill-down investigative and forensic capabilities for deep security data analysis, including traffic, applications, threats, and user behavior and activities.

SonicWall SonicWave Is New Standard for Wireless Speed

As the number of applications and data-heavy services grow, so do speed demands. Based on the high-performance Wave 2 802.11ac standard, the new SonicWave access points couple speed, reliability, range, consistency and security into a single, cost-effective appliance.

Wave 2 represents the evolution from the Wave 1 802.11ac standard, which is fairly common in both enterprise and consumer environments. It operates on the 5 Ghz band and can deliver speeds up to 1.3 Gbps.

In contrast, Wave 2 supports multiple users, multiple inputs and multiple outputs (MU-MIMO) and is able to deliver speeds that exceed 3 Gbps. For this reason, the new SonicWave access points feature 4×4 MU-MIMO technology for best-in-class Wi-Fi performance, range and reliability.

“The new SonicWave access points blew me away,” says Spencomp Solutions security specialist Dominic Valois. “The new SonicWave line presents us with a great offering for our customers. With Wave 2 support and 2.5 GbE ports, we can provide larger business sites and campuses with better streaming and bandwidth for hundreds of wireless devices.”

The sentiment from Valois was echoed by Greg Thomas, the owner of ComLogic, a SonicWall partner based in Denver, Colo.

“The 2.5 GbE ports on both the NSA 2650 and SonicWave access points can handle the increasing congestion,” said Thomas. “You can easily position the SonicWave access points for best cellular reception, either for failover or percentage of use.”

Protecting the Mobile Workforce

When employees are on the road, they require secure access to the same systems and applications they trust when on Wi-Fi or wired networks in the office. Not only must access be available anywhere, anytime and on any device, speed and security cannot be compromised.

This truth was the precipitous behind the new SonicWall Secure Mobile Access (SMA) 12.1, which helps enable access to business-critical internal and external apps for employees and partners.

For remote users, vendors and third-party contractors, SMA 12.1 provides policy- enforced secure access to email, file servers and corporate applications using federated single sign-on (SSO) to both cloud and on-premise resources from authenticated devices.

In addition to SSL encryption of sensitive user sessions, SMA provides an additional layer of security by scanning all remote file uploads with the SonicWall Capture Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) service. This helps ensure remote users have the same level of protection from zero-day threats when they are on the road as they have in the office.

Go Faster, Go Safer

If you’d like to learn more about the new security products and services that deliver unprecedented speed and security, please explore the dedicated product pages and resources:

Ready to make the jump to one of the new products or services? SonicWall is ready to help. If you don’t have a SonicWall partner, or are unsure, please contact SonicWall directly. We always welcome new members to the SonicWall family.