Sunday, July 9, 2006

Cisco Expands its ASA 5500 Series Adaptive Security Appliance family

Cisco Systems announced two new models in its Cisco ASA 5500 Series Adaptive Security appliance family: the Cisco ASA 5505, a next-generation solution designed to defend small businesses, remote offices and enterprise teleworkers, and the Cisco ASA 5550, which extends gigabit-class threat protection and highly scalable IPsec and Secure Sockets Layer virtual private network (SSL VPN) services to large business sites.

The Cisco ASA 5505, which comes in a desktop form factor, delivers 150 megabits per second (Mbps) of firewall throughput and 100 Mbps of encrypted VPN throughput. The Cisco ASA 5505 can act as a hardware VPN client for simplified management. It offers hardware-accelerated SSL VPN services, an integrated 8-port 10/100 switch that supports the creation of multiple security "zones," and two built-in Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) ports. Among their many uses, these PoE ports can provide zero-touch deployment for Cisco IP phones and can power Cisco wireless access points for enhanced user mobility.

The Cisco ASA 5550 extends firewall and IPsec/SSL VPN services to support large-enterprise network environments. It can deliver more than 1.2 Gbps of firewall throughput and supports 200 virtual local-area networks (VLANs), so businesses can segment a network into numerous high-performance zones for improved security. It also offers highly scalable VPN services, supporting as many as 5,000 IPsec and SSL VPN clients per appliance. Using its integrated VPN clustering and load-balancing capabilities, businesses can cluster up to 10 Cisco ASA 5550 appliances, supporting a maximum of 50,000 concurrent IPsec and SSL VPN users.

Cisco also introduced numerous enhancements to the ASA family's underlying software, including more than 50 new security features that strengthen the application-layer firewall, remote access VPN, high availability, network integration and management capabilities. Of these enhancements, some of the more significant involve application-layer firewall services and the integration of Cisco Network Admission Control (NAC) services.

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