Holiday Buyer's Guide 2005

AlphaShield Firewall Appliance

The AlphaShield hardware firewall appliance (NAAS-01) makes an effective countermeasure against the unruly and always dangerous Internet. Best of all, this appliance requires virtually no user interaction to configure or operate. It also needs neither maintenance nor upgrades; they're handled automatically, making for the simplest and safest out-of-box experience possible. Just unpack this small black and silver box - it's bigger than a pack of cigarettes but smaller than the average paperback. Then plug your cable or DSL modem into the Cable/DSL port, and your PC (or router/switch/hub) into the PC port, and you're ready to go.

The NAAS-01 is well-suited for gaming, remote access and administration, and normal SOHO standalone PCs or networks. It even provides VPN pass-through support, with an extra RJ-45 connection for an IP telephone (labeled AUX on the unit). The NAS-01 can service up to 30 PCs through local hubs or routers attached to its PC port. The unit also works in three easily settable operational modes: manual, automatic, and lock-out. Most users will find that the automatic mode offers the best combination of usable protection and minimal maintenance; manual mode must be entirely configured by hand, and lock-out offers "panic button" capability to disconnect all devices that link to the Internet through this appliance.

Savvy home, home office, or small office users will appreciate the NAAS-01 for its many forms of protection. The device physically disconnects idle computers from the Internet when they're not in use, preventing them from becoming the focus of attack while unattended. The IP Stealth technology gets perfect stealth ratings from external scanners like ShieldsUP! and the free audits available at Anybody with one or more PCs at home will find a lot to like about this compact unit, as will anyone with a small office not already protected by a security appliance. It's an especially effective way to help aged relatives or computer illiterates in your family out of trouble and reasonably secure, without requiring you to log onto their machines and clean them up on a regular basis.

All this costs only $69.99 (MSRP). If you want to make the AlphaShield yours, or give one to your granny, please order directly from the vendor Website.

Ed Tittel

Ed Tittel is a long-time IT writer, researcher and consultant, and occasional contributor to Tom’s Hardware. A Windows Insider MVP since 2018, he likes to cover OS-related driver, troubleshooting, and security topics.