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Firewalla Blue - Cybersecurity Firewall Review

nodle

Cheesemonger
Administrator
I ran across this little device awhile ago. It is almost like a Pi-hole in some ways, but also does so much more. Just plug it into your network and then you have full control. Also no monthly fees. They do have a new 'blue' version due out in February.




https://firewalla.com/
 

nodle

Cheesemonger
Administrator
I spoke to support tonight (which have a very fast response, by the way) and I placed an order for a blue one. Currently the blue model is on Indiegogo for a decent price right now if you hurry. The blue model has a more power cpu and memory and can handle more packets to process. Plus it's just as easy to hook up as the original.



When I receive it I plan on doing a little more detailed review on it. I think a few of you guys might like it.



Support was super friendly and was able to get me one sent out a little faster than the standard shipping so that I could do a review for you guys. Can't wait to see what this little box can do. Keep watching for an update. :)
 

nodle

Cheesemonger
Administrator
So a small update. I received my blue Firewalla today. The shipping from the company was fast, and the email they sent on your shipment kept you updated. The box they send the product in is very iPhoneish (is that a word :unsure:)?



Upon opening it up you are greeted with a tiny device



The box comes with a small instruction sheet pointing you to online instructions. It also includes a cat5 cable, mini-usb power cable, and a AC wall adapter. One nice thing is that if you have a usb port that you are not using on your router or another usb port you do not need to use your AC adapter. I am running mine off my Pi-Hole usb port since the Firewalla device is sitting next to it. After plugging it in make sure to grab either the iPhone app or Android app. It will have you log in with an email, then it will start to scan your network. It will first try to use 'Simple' mode. I knew ahead of time that mine wouldn't use this based off my router compatibility. After it told me that it wouldn't work I disabled my DHCP in my router. This allows Firewalla to dish out the IPs and act as a DHCP server. After that you log into the main menu on the Firewalla app. It is clean and well laid out. It will start to connect new devices connected on the network and allow you to either add or block them. A nice feature is you can view the IPs and MAC address of the device and rename them to something more common if you can't understand the naming scheme that it automatically picks up for the device. Thankfully I just went though on my router last weekend and cleaned up the names as well, so it was very easy to know what MAC address belonged to what. If you every have noticed an unknown device on your internal network and tried to lookup a MAC address on Google you know how frustrating this can be. So after cleaning up my names everything is running smoothly. It even noticed my Steam connection on bootup and wanted to know if I wanted to allow 'gaming' on this device. This little box has some great parental control built into it. I will try to go into that some more later one. I plan on getting some screenshots of the app menus so you can see how it's controlled. Also one thing I was worried was going to be some slight pauses which a web page is requested while it checks it. Nope can't tell a difference at all. Ran a speed test and no slowdowns either. It's a good feeling knowing that you are protected behind this small yet powerful little device that gives you total control over your network. Since I only have been running it for about an hour, give me some more time to do a further review into it as I play with it though out the week. More to come, stay tuned...
 

nodle

Cheesemonger
Administrator
Small update from work. I see they use a built in DDNS service that even sends you alerts to your phone no matter where your at. Wife's connected her laptop at home for the first time and Firewalla sent me a message wanting to know if I would allow it on my network. It's nice to be able to have complete control over your network no matter where you at. :cool:
 

jmanz

I bought you the sims
Members
There isn't anyone in rural Montana that is going to F with your network now, brah!
 

nodle

Cheesemonger
Administrator
A small video showing you what the UI looks like and how to view what's going on with a particular device on your network.

 

nodle

Cheesemonger
Administrator
A small update. This device uses deep packet inspection. If your device tries to watch a video online, game, or go to a porn site, it will let you know. Once alerted, you have a few options available to you such as allow, block, block the domain and other options. You can also block entire wide for the particular device. These are some great features if you have a family and want to keep control of your children and what they do on your network.
 

nodle

Cheesemonger
Administrator
So it has been about a week now, still loving the little device. I can't wait to see what the future holds for the device with firmware updates etc. I thought I would post a picture of what my main UI looks like. Yes that is mine and yes I have 22 devices connected in my network.

 

nodle

Cheesemonger
Administrator
This little device is still going strong. I have been wanting to try out the ad-block feature on it. I think it could replace my Pi-hole really. It is just a nice piece of mind knowing when a device connects to your network. I know they are constantly working on new features, so I can't wait to see what features they are going to release next.

 

nodle

Cheesemonger
Administrator
It's been awhile, thought I would post more experience with the little device. Things have been running smoothly, they have pushed a few updates to clean up the UI and added some new features. They seem to have a lot more updates coming as well, which is great to see. I actually got to use the "Block video" function the other day when my Daughter wouldn't turn off the t.v. and give me the remote. Just tap on the icon and it blocks it for an hour. It worked flawless.
 

nodle

Cheesemonger
Administrator
So everything has been working flawless until about a day ago when my power went out. I have reset my router back to defaults about 4 times now. Reset my Firewalla about 10 times now as well, but for some reason I can't get it to act as a DHCP server. I don't know if the OS is corrupt or what. Spent my entire evening trying to fix it.
 

nodle

Cheesemonger
Administrator
So I have been fighting with this thing for about 4 days now. Tech support has been accommodating though. Pretty fast replies back and forth with emails even into the night. I finally pulled it out of the mix this morning though. I am so tired of dealing with it. Just went back to my router and Pi-hole for now.
 

nodle

Cheesemonger
Administrator
So I was able to finally get Firewalla back up and running. It was more of a DNS issue with the Firewalla's overaly network communicating with my router. But I got everything worked out and back up and running. Firewalla's support was great thought the whole process and I was impressed by them emailing back from morning to evening. Fast response time as well, almost instantly.
 

nodle

Cheesemonger
Administrator
So I wanted to update this. While my Firewalla Blue has been running great and all, I am a little disappointed with the company. They are getting ready to release a "Gold" version and I feel like the Blue hasn't even been out a year and they are moving on. I know they are still going to support the blue, but I feel l like they should had matured it some more software wise before moving onto newer hardware.
 
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