How to Size a Firewall for Your Network

Sizing a firewall for your needs

Firewalls come in all sorts of shapes and sizes (known in the industry as form factor) and shopping for the right model can be a challenge. For the novice, a table full of SSL & IPSec VPN capabilities

  • Ports & interfaces
  • Onboard memory storage
  • Firewalls are sized based on how many users they can secure on your network, how much they might limit your Internet speeds, and number of advanced features and services you need to stay secure.

    The SonicWall SOHO (Small Office/Home Office) model, for example, makes perfect sense for a small law office with only two or three employees on a limited number of connected devices. However, deploying a SOHO-level firewall at a busy office suite with a few hundred employees would slow your entire operation to a crawl in a flash.

    What is firewall throughput?

    Knowing how to size a firewall for your network entails knowing a few key security terms. Throughput describes the volume of data that can traverse through a firewall based on the processing speeds of the appliance, types of services operating on the device, and input from your ISP. User traffic on your network will only be able to move as fast as your firewall allows it to pass through inspection.

    Is your network running slow? These factors could be reducing your throughput performance:

    • Misconfigured firewalls can cause throughput loss by creating bottleneck on your network or wasting resources on unnecessary applications
    • Excessive applications, data-hungry service clients, & bloatware can be a real drag on network performance
    • Trying to secure more active users than your firewall can handle occurs when your firewall appliance lacks the processing power necessary for the number of users attempting to access it

    Working with a network security expert can help to diagnose slow throughput speeds. A variety of reasons can contribute to slow-downs, but with the right firewall fit and a custom configuration tailored to your precise needs, you can squeeze very last Mbps out of the Internet bandwidth that you pay an ISP to access.

    Don’t forget remote workers & mobile users

    Recent years have witnessed an explosion of remote work, with mobile users checking into the network from cafes, hotels, front porches, parking lots, public libraries, and more. Accounting for these roaming users is a crucial to knowing how to size a firewall to your network. No matter where your users are connecting from, you’ll want to ensure that your network is set up for users to succeed.

    VPN tunnels properly configured between HQ and end users helps keep sensitive data safe. SSL tunnels create stable, secure connections between mobile users and on-premise resources so that remote users can work as efficiently while away as they would at their desk.

    Finding the perfect fit, the first time

    A certified, knowledgeable sales representative from an authorized reseller is your best bet when it comes to finding the right size firewall for your needs. recommends that you buy a firewall that can accommodate a little more speed and security than you need, to accommodate for future growth. After all, we assume the point of your business is to succeed and get bigger! Ultimately, the best way to size a firewall for your network is: don't! Let an experienced firewall expert walk you through the process to narrow down the firewall model, services, and configuration you need to get secure and stay secure!

    Peace of Mind Network Security

    Still have questions about your firewall? Our team can help! The Security Operations Center, located in our hometown of Indianapolis, is stocked to the brim with manufacturer-certified security experts who can resolve any firewall issue you may be facing! Offering custom configurations, premium support, and subscription-based Managed Security Services, our engineers take both the guesswork and legwork out of securing your network. Just let our team tap in, harden your defenses, and then we'll keep you up to date with event reporting, change documentation, incident response, and more.

    Just give us a call at 317-225-4117 to learn how Managed Security Services can make security, compliance, and network performance an absolute breeze!

    Want to learn more about firewalls, endpoint protection, and network security?