Home » Firewalla Purple Review: This Tiny, Pricey Box Takes Your Home Network to the Next Level

Firewalla Purple Review: This Tiny, Pricey Box Takes Your Home Network to the Next Level

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favorite

  • Excellent parental control
  • Gigabit speed support
  • Reliable support for third-party VPNs
  • Relatively easy to set up and start
  • No monthly fee or subscription required

Hate

  • Expensive initial cost
  • Intermediate and advanced features are intimidating
  • App insights aren’t always easy to follow

The Firewalla Purple firewall device, which is slightly larger than the deck of playing cards, packs so many things into a small package. At $ 319, it definitely won’t come cheap. However, connecting to a router or modem and setting up on your Android or iOS device by following the instructions in the Firewalla app unlocks a wealth of advanced features that give you full control over the devices on your network.

As a starting point, in addition to malware and virus protection, you can monitor your child’s gaming habits and suspend access to social media at the push of a button. You can also block ads, websites and adult content. Easy too. You can detect and enhance vulnerabilities between IoT devices, or route connections to your home whenever you’re traveling or using a public Wi-Fi network … all of this is really It’s just a small part of this. The device brings it to the table.

That said, if Firewalla Purple succeeds in functioning as a comprehensive internet toolkit for power users, it’s a little less than the average Janes and Joes. The vast number of options within the Firewalla app can be dazzlingly embraced. All basic features such as ad blocking and parental controls are all very easy to use, but quite a few features require a deeper level of home networking know-how. At the very least, the willingness to read about topics that can be painful to wrap around your brain.

Still, there’s a lot I like here, even if I just stick to the simple ones.It’s hard to recommend as a casual purchase due to its high price, but the attractive lack of monthly fees offsets it somewhat and sets Firewalla apart. Subscription-based competitors with lower prepaid costs.. If you’re looking for an additional layer of security in your home network and can see a clear use case for any of the features of Firewalla, Purple is worth a look. This is likely to allow for more use. More than you would expect.

Get started with Firewalla Purple

Child in the middle Firewalla product familyPurple promised to support network speeds up to 1 Gigabit, and when I set it up on my gigabit network at home, I didn’t notice any slowdowns. The setup process was pretty straightforward. It has a USB-C power jack and two Ethernet ports on the back (one WAN and one LAN), plug it in and wire it to your modem or router, then scan the QR. The code at the bottom of the device on your phone’s camera.

To set up Firewalla Purple, follow the app’s instructions to connect to your modem or router and scan the QR code at the bottom of your device with your phone’s camera.

Screenshots by Ry Crist / CNET

The specific wiring depends on whether you are using Purple as a mini-router or in combination with an existing router. Also, the setup method depends on whether you are using a regular router or a modem. Also router gateway devices or mesh routers.Whatever your situation, you will want to pay close attention Firewalla Installation GuideProvides clear steps for the most common setup.

When launched and run, the Firewalla app provides a detailed look at the devices on your network and the amount of data flowing between them, as well as a long list of features and controls on how those devices connect. By default, Purple scans everything for vulnerabilities and irregularities, notifies you of suspicious traffic flows, and blocks their continuation.

I find some of these insights not as practical as I would like. For example, if you look at the history of Firewalla’s blocked data flow, you’ll get a long list of domains with little context or classification. If you’re looking for a network device that tells you what you’re looking at in pure amateur language, you’re not always happy.

Also, what the different devices on the network are doing, especially if the device is visiting a gaming or gambling website, streaming video, or displaying adult content. Many notifications will be displayed. You need to mute the notifications you don’t care about to reduce these notifications, but the app allows you to switch between different notifications for each device, if needed.

Screenshots by Ry Crist / CNET

Abundant functions

The Firewalla app is full of features, but I think quite a few users will start with parental controls. first,[ファミリー]At the tap of a button, turn on basic comprehensive protection against violent pornographic content and the SafeSearch feature, which automatically enables adult filters on high-traffic search engines such as Google and YouTube. There’s also a handy feature called social hours that blocks your device from accessing social media for an hour with a single tap.

In addition to these baseline products, you can select any device on your network to create custom rules on how to grant access to the web. In addition to the ability to block game websites and social media altogether, you can block access to specific sites and services such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, Twitter, YouTube, and Discord to make it more detailed. I can do it. You can also set the time for these blocks to a specific time zone, a specific day of the week, or block traffic from a specific country to any device.

This is a leap ahead of the native networking controls offered by most routers today, as well as premium subscription services that charge a monthly fee.

Firewalla allows you to create highly customizable rules for any device on your network.

Ry Crist / CNET

Firewalla also acts as a secure gateway to your home network for authorized connections from a distance. This is useful if you are traveling or using public Wi-Fi. This is because Firewalla basically allows you to encrypt traffic and port it over your home network. If you’re a small business owner or remote worker, you can set up a second Firewalla in your office and pair it with the Firewalla you’re using at home to create a two-way site-to-site VPN for secure remote access. Can be established. And file transfer.

However, keep in mind that using Firewalla does not mask traffic from your ISP like you would with a real VPN.For that you still have to pay Another third party VPN service.. Firewalla Some of theminclude NordVPN, ExpressVPN, SurfShark, IPVanish others.Importing these VPN settings into your Firewalla app requires some intermediate know-how, but Firewalla offers great features. Clear and step-by-step steps for each compatible service.. You can also start and run it to extend VPN access to any device on your network without having to set up a VPN on the device itself. This is a very useful and privacy-focused convenience feature, especially for things like smart home gadgets that can’t run VPN software from scratch.

Other notable Firewalla features include a detailed data usage tracker. This is useful if your internet provider enforces it. Monthly data limitAnd smart queues that promise to reduce buffer bloat in congested networks. Zoom call It runs a little smoothly. It’s so small that I’m also intrigued by the idea of ​​bringing Firewalla Purple for secure short-distance Wi-Fi on vacation or business trips. I will report if I have the opportunity to test it.

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Ry Crist / CNET

verdict

The $ 319 Firewalla Purple is far from a disposable purchase, and if you’re just looking for a basic level of home network security or parental controls, it’s probably more than you need. Still, I’m sure many people (especially parents) will be amazed at the sheer number of useful features offered here. Some of them have never been thought of before. For those who travel a lot or want to take advantage of their home VPN service, Purple can also look good. It’s expensive, but impressive.

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