The installation of the AlphaShield Firewall is an absolute breeze. Simply place the firewall on the network -- most likely between the modem and router -- through using the Cable/DSL and PC ports. All that is then left to do is connect any auxiliary device(s), power, and select the manual/auto/lock preference. If you wish to use the DCU (Dynamic Configuration Utility) Technology, after the unit is installed press down both the connect and disconnect buttons simultaneously. However, utilizing the DCU mode does require downloading the AlphaShield X2 Configuration Utility, which is Microsoft Windows specific. Unfortunately, this utility is not available for Mac OS or GNU/Linux users. It would have been ideal if AlphaShield would have offered it as a web-based interface.
With the unit installed, we had used it for quite some time in various setups. Short of physically breaking the AlphaShield X2, we were unable to penetrate its security from the outside. Even using GNU/Linux programs designed for network penetration testing the AlphaShield X2 had remained strong. AlphaShield also includes Panda Platinum 2006 for those Microsoft Windows users who need anti-virus and anti-spyware protection. As a whole, the device was great, and it should be more than adequate for personal consumer use.
While majorities of the routers already contain hardware-based firewalls, the AlphaShield X2 is able to add yet another layer of protection. With that, the AlphaShield is the perfectly sized device for transporting with your laptop, so instantly on the road you are able to have a hardware firewall; whether you are connecting to a wired public network at a hotel or coffee shop. While this level of protection may not be needed for the casual Internet user, for anyone heavily relying upon the Internet to keep track of their finances or other important dealings, the AlphaShield X2 Professional Edition can certainly be a great asset. The only possible downfalls with the unit is the lack of possible user adjustments, it is expensive at $99+ USD, and it is a firewall only -- no Internet connection sharing or other network abilities. In other news, the AlphaShield Router should begin to surface sometime this month.
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Phoronix Product Rating: 8 / 10