I heard about an interesting product about a year and a half ago. Initially I wanted to write about it but got distracted. I figure it is better late than never. The product is the NSA 420 by SonicWALL. It is in the category of security appliances. The goals of the app are to protect the network and manage your VPN. One example of the protection it provides is its network firewall.
The NSA420 does packet inspection. It has a database of signatures that are known viruses. The antivirus and antispyware can operate at the gateway level. It filters and inspects traffic like HTTP, SMTP, FTP, and SMTP.
This is a hardware based solution. The box has 256MB of RAM, as well as 32MB of flash memory. It is a multicore processor. I wonder whether this thing is just a beefed up version of a normal router like the Linksys WRT54g.
The specs for the product state that it can handle up to 25k simultaneous connections. Its throughput is 2k connections per second. The app is set to block many types of denial of service attacks, as well as scanning attacks. The VPN runs at 150Mbps for 3DES encryption. It supports many authentication encryption algorithms like DES, 3DES, AES, MD5, and SHA-1.
There are many competitors in the security appliance market. These include boxes designed by Fortinet, Juniper Networks, and Cisco. I would like to get my hands on one of these boxes and test it out. Hopefully the cost is not too high.