F5 Networks, Inc. (NASDAQ: FFIV) today announced new solutions designed to simplify firewall security and management capabilities. The S/Gi firewall is offered with F5’s BIG-IP® Advanced Firewall Manager™ (AFM™), a full-proxy network firewall that can be deployed as a hardware- or software-based solution to deliver unparalleled scalability and performance for service providers. In addition, F5’s new BIG-IQ™ Security offering streamlines firewall policy management for multiple devices for enterprise and service provider deployments.
F5’s S/Gi firewall solution serves an important function within a mobile service provider’s network infrastructure. Sitting at the Gi interface of a 3G network and the SGi interface of a 4G network, F5’s new offering is situated on the perimeter between a service provider’s mobile network and the Internet. This placement is ideal to protect both subscribers and networks from targeted attacks—such as DDoS threats—from a variety of sources (Internet-to-mobile, Internet-to-infrastructure, mobile-to-mobile, etc.). Enhancing protection at the perimeter of 3G/4G networks helps safeguard a service provider’s infrastructure to preserve network availability and performance. In addition, F5’s S/Gi firewall is fully extensible and can respond to threats in real-time with F5’s programmable iRules® technology.
F5’s firewall performance capabilities offer unsurpassed density, coupled with the ability to easily consolidate services on a single platform. Therefore, service providers can reduce the footprint of their network equipment to save on capital and operational costs while preserving the headroom to grow for future needs. The S/Gi firewall solution provides performance and scalability beyond what other vendors can offer, including:
- Up to 20x more connections per second (8 million)
- Up to 10x more concurrent connections (576 million)
- 3x faster firewall throughput (640 Gbps)
Within F5’s intelligent services framework, the S/Gi firewall can be deployed seamlessly with other network and security capabilities, including solutions for policy enforcement, carrier-grade NAT, and IPv6. In addition, F5’s software-based virtual editions and programmable architecture components provide added flexibility to support scalable security, optimization, and orchestration services alongside network functions virtualization and SDN initiatives.
Technology advances in the mobile industry, the growing number of mobile subscribers, and changes in consumer behaviors pose a number of network-related challenges for service providers. The rise of always-connected smart devices and the proliferation of mobile applications have led to increased demands around performance and scale, which can also affect reliability. Moreover, since subscribers now interact with a number of different types of networks (3G, 4G LTE) and protocols, centralized management for visibility and control throughout a provider’s mobile broadband network has become all the more essential.
Many of the market’s current offerings lack the scalability and performance necessary to keep up with subscribers’ increased demands for applications and content. In addition, the industry’s migration from 3G to 4G puts additional strain on mobile networks as newer, feature-rich mobile devices require more connections and bandwidth per subscriber. As mobile service providers face increasing network complexity, mitigating security and management concerns is top-of-mind.
With today’s announcement, F5 is introducing the industry’s fastest, most scalable S/Gi firewall solution for service providers, and the BIG-IQ Security management and monitoring solution for multi-device firewall administration. By extending its portfolio of BIG-IQ solutions, F5 is making it even easier for customers to automate and optimize services across their BIG-IP application delivery systems. The new security-focused offering builds on the recent release of BIG-IQ Cloud, and further establishes the BIG-IQ platform as a comprehensive central management solution for customers.
F5’s new security solutions provide significant advantages over competitors’ offerings, including:
- Unmatched Security for Demanding Mobile Networks and Devices
The level of performance offered by F5 enables service providers to accommodate more subscribers and support growing data use without sacrificing device or network performance. Similar to F5’s previously announced firewall offering for enterprise and service provider customers, the S/Gi firewall solution takes an application-oriented approach to security. This model offers tailored protection for the specific applications and resources particular to each organization and the customers it serves.
- Extensible Services to Support Intelligent Network Architectures
Unlike its competitors, F5 consolidates network, application, and security services with traffic management and optimization features in an intelligent services framework. Integrating the capabilities of several BIG-IP® modules into a unified set of layer 3–7 security services enables organizations to cost-effectively and dynamically extend powerful security capabilities across their infrastructures. In addition, F5’s flexible solution platform enables organizations to easily integrate additional capabilities, enhance systems orchestration, and promote new service revenue opportunities.
- Centralized Management and Policy Controls for Ultimate Efficiency
BIG-IQ Security enables mid- to large-sized enterprise and service providers to streamline the deployment and administration of BIG-IP AFM firewall policies. This gives IT teams the ability to automate and customize their firewall deployments, reducing the time and money spent on manual policy configuration. With BIG-IQ, firewall policies are rolled out seamlessly across multiple devices, while increasing network integrity with system health checks and incident monitoring. Visibility of this level helps ensure that organizations’ systems stay protected and that applicable compliance or regulatory requirements are upheld. For service providers, BIG-IQ and S/Gi firewall capabilities can be elegantly combined to help mobile operators augment application and network security while reducing management complexity.
“As service and cloud providers update their infrastructures to better serve customers, advantages in flexibility and efficiency can have the unintended consequence of opening up new security vectors to emerging threats,” said Mark Vondemkamp, VP of Security Product Management and Marketing at F5. “Innovative solutions like the S/Gi firewall and BIG-IQ Security help organizations realize the most value from their investments while minimizing risks. With F5, service providers can take advantage of new solutions to better protect the monetized services they offer, irrespective of the specific underlying systems such as corporate data centers and cloud resources.”
“One of the biggest advantages in going with F5 is that companies can painlessly combine all types of application delivery and security functions in a unified system,” said Bruce Hampton, Chief Technical Architect at Milestone Systems. “With their span of security offerings, F5 provides customers with a flexible framework to address industry shifts—such as IPv4 to v6 migration and 3G to 4G LTE networks—and stay current on evolving compliance requirements while maintaining their overall security posture.”
All F5 solutions mentioned in this announcement are generally available now. Please contact a local F5 sales office for availability in specific countries.
- Security for Service Providers – F5 Overview
- High-Scale Mobile Infrastructure Protection – Solution Profile
- BIG-IP Advanced Firewall Manager – Datasheet
- BIG-IQ Security – Datasheet
- Enabling Policy in the New Mobile Architecture – White Paper
- F5’s S/Gi Firewall – Security Solutions Landscape Video
- BIG-IQ Interview – DevCentral Video
About F5 Networks
F5 Networks (NASDAQ: FFIV) makes the connected world run better. F5 helps organizations meet the demands and embrace the opportunities that come with the relentless growth of voice, data, and video traffic, mobile workers, and applications—in the data center, the network, and the cloud. The world’s largest businesses, service providers, government entities, and consumer brands rely on F5’s intelligent services framework to deliver and protect their applications and services while ensuring people stay connected. Learn more at www.f5.com.
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F5, BIG-IP, BIG-IQ, Advanced Firewall Manager, AFM, iRules, and DevCentral are trademarks or service marks of F5 Networks, Inc., in the U.S. and other countries. All other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.
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