WatchGuard XTM 330 review

Delivers a host of sophisticated security measures at a very reasonable price

Dave Mitchell
11 Jun 2012
Price when reviewed 

WatchGuard already lays claim to a sizable chunk of the SMB network security market, but with its latest multifunction appliance it wants even more. In this exclusive review we look at the new XTM 330, which offers impressive performance and strong features for a surprisingly low price.

This 1U rack appliance claims a high firewall throughput of 850Mbits/sec, and complements that with a good range of security services. These cover gateway antivirus, anti-spam, application controls, IPS, web filtering and WatchGuard’s own reputation-enabled defences.

The appliance, plus a one-year subscription to its LiveSecurity support and all the above security services, costs £843 exc VAT. Go for a full three-year subscription and it’s yours for £1,325.

Installation has been streamlined, with a wizard stepping through the initial setup process, registering the appliance and activating your subscriptions. The web interface has been spruced up to make it more intuitive, and the homepage provides plenty of detail on appliance performance, subscription status and security service activity.

Firewall policies combine settings for each security service, where you select a proxy, apply it to any or all of the seven Gigabit interfaces, and define a proxy action. There’s a good choice of proxies: along with HTTP, FTP, SIP, H.323, POP3 and SMTP, it has HTTPS as standard.

WatchGuard XTM 330

The WebBlocker service provides 55 categories that can be blocked or allowed on a per-policy basis. The appliance needs to be pointed to a separate system that hosts the category database, but we found it worked happily on a Windows 7 system and delivered excellent results in our live filtering tests.

The Commtouch anti-spam service is configured via the POP3 and SMTP proxies, but if you choose not to use the separate quarantine server you can only tag suspect messages. For testing, we created a policy that tagged suspect messages, and created rules on our Outlook clients that moved them to separate folders. We left the appliance filtering live email for a month and saw an impressive spam detection rate of 98.9%. The Bulk mail detection is too enthusiastic, but you can turn this off and let these messages through if you wish.

If you have issues with social networking in the workplace, WatchGuard’s application awareness could be the answer. This can control apps such as Facebook so you can decide by AD user or group who can log in, chat, edit their profile, play games, access webmail, use video and transfer files.

WatchGuard’s latest Fireware 11.5.1 software provides improvements such as IPv6 routing and clientless SSO (single sign-on). WatchGuard has also enhanced its Log Viewer and Report Manager apps with a new web-based logging and reporting tool. Viewed from a separate web interface, this provides improved logging detail on security services, users, alerts and traffic. On-demand reports for specific time periods can be exported as PDFs, and the new boxes under management report shows the status of your VPNs.

The XTM 330 isn’t as easy to configure as Netgear’s ProSecure UTM 150 appliance for example – but it’s much smarter. It packs in plenty of security features and is more versatile than any other appliance we’ve seen at this price point.

Price when reviewed 
1,012(£843 exc VAT)



Warranty RTB years 1


Server format Rack
Server configuration 1U

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