Sophos XG Firewall Home Edition is a free hardware-type firewall for Windows

Sophos has come up with a software version of its so-called “next generation firewall”. The hardware suite offers plenty of features. You can use these features to create an exceptionally good firewall, provided you know about configuring firewalls. You may also get professional help in configuring it. Though supposed to be software version, Sophos XG Firewall Home Edition will still require a dedicated computer – old or new. Let’s check out the main features to know if you should use it.

Free Hardware-type Firewall

Sophos XG Firewall Home Edition

Some operating systems have the firewall built into the kernel. There are hardware based firmware firewalls in your modems and routers. And then there are several third-party hardware and software firewall in the market.

While a hardware-based firewall is always better than a software-based one, they are costly. Even the Sophos Next Gen Firewall comes at a cost. That is the hardware version. The one we are talking about in this article is the software version for home users. Though a software, the firewall contains most features of the hardware firewall – according to the Sophos website. So if you are getting that many features at no cost, you would want to check it out. Home users might mean five to six computers in a network. Imagine covering the whole network with just one mighty firewall!

The Sophos XG Free Home Use firewall contains its own operating system and will overwrite all data on the computer during the installation process. Therefore, a separate, dedicated computer is needed, which will change into a fully functional security appliance.

So one thing you need to know is that you’ll need a dedicated Intel computer to set up the firewall. Then other computers and devices such as phone etc. would connect to it. That way, your network won’t be visible on the Internet. If you have an old PC or a computer that you are not using, you may give it a try. It will save on local resources such as RAM and CPU usage in individual computers and networked devices. At the same time, you’ll be experiencing the features available to a hardware firewall. This sounds better than using a software firewall or the default OS firewall.

There should be at least two Ethernet cards (two NIC cards in the spare computer) to be able to use it: one for incoming and one for outgoing.

Sophos XG Firewall Home Edition is free. But then, you’ll be able to use it only if you have a spare computer.

Read: Difference between Hardware Firewall & Software Firewall.

Sophos XG Firewall Home Edition features

The first thing about the Sophos XG Firewall Home Edition is that is it identical to the hardware firewall. That makes it better than most of the router firewalls and other software firewalls available in the market. That is my opinion and yours may differ if you have already found a good software firewall with plenty of features.

However, Sophos is more than just a firewall. It includes malware scanner and network security features too. You can use your own antivirus on individual machines also. It won’t interfere with the default one on Sophos XG Firewall machine.

Besides this, the other features are:

  1. Traffic optimization,
  2. Web traffic filtering,
  3. Rules you can create, modify for optimal performance
  4. Application blocking feature.

Its Web filtering feature allows you to create rules for family browsing. You can set up access to other members to different websites. You can set up time when people can use the Internet. This helps in traffic shaping… something like providing preference to application traffic over other system packets

You also get to configure the firewall for more than one ISP. So if one of the ISP is suffering an outage, Sophos XG can automatically switch to another one. That way, you will not waste time during ISP breakdown.

Sophos XG Firewall Home Edition also allows you to use the Home Network from anywhere. This is enabled using a VPN so that your data is secure.

The interface is good, but you may still find it complicated if you are new to firewalls. You will need some experience with firewalls to configure Sophos XG Firewall Home Edition You can request customized guides for setting up the firewall on the Sophos forums if you need.

Interested? Visit its homepage for more.

Looking for free tools from Sophos? Take a look at:

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Arun Kumar is a Microsoft MVP alumnus, obsessed with technology, especially the Internet. He deals with the multimedia content needs of training and corporate houses. Follow him on Twitter @PowercutIN