What's the difference between Cisco pix & router

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by n8236, Mar 9, 2009.

  1. n8236 macrumors 65816

    Mar 1, 2006
    I can't seem to find any dedicated information on which one is good for small businesses. I know the pixes and routers has some overlapping responsibilities and features, but what are the main differences and why would I choose one over the other or have both?
  2. Sesshi macrumors G3


    Jun 3, 2006
    One Nation Under Gordon
    Depends on how small the small business is and whether it has IT support, etc but you may be looking too far up the range if you're trying to decide between a PIX/ASA or a router.

    I think the problem with buying Cisco for many small business without an IT-literate guy is that they can't figure out quite what to buy. e.g. buying a wireless access point 'because it's a Cisco' and finding out that it doesn't come with aerials, etc.

    To make a better choice, call a Cisco reseller and get them to recommend you a solution based on your needs.
  3. steve2112 macrumors 68040


    Feb 20, 2009
    East of Lyra, Northwest of Pegasus
    OK, here goes:

    1) The PIX is a dedicated firewall. That is its only purpose. (well, not technically, but still...) It isn't really a router. Also, the PIX is End of Life, and is no longer made by Cisco. It has been replaced by the ASA, Adaptive Security Appliance.

    2) Cisco routers can be a firewall, through the use of things such as Access Control Lists, route statements, and other config methods. It also, obviously, is a router.

    Best security practices generally call for having both. Having one device do everything is dangerous, since if it gets compromised, your network is wide open. Defense in depth is the key here.

    The problem is that, as Sesshi pointed out, if you don't have IT staff that know Cisco, dealing with Cisco can get tricky. I am Cisco certified, and deal with it on a regular basis, and the sheer number of configuration options still gets confusing to me. I often just call our Cisco reps and tell them what I want to accomplish, and have them work out part numbers, models, etc.

    I used to work at an IT consulting firm that specialized in small business. We sold and supported a lot of Cisco stuff, but we also sold a lot of Sonicwall firewalls. For small business, their lower price and complexity often tended to be a better fit. There are some other brands that offer similar capibilities for a lower price.

    Edit: I forgot about the newish line of Cisco products aimed at the SMB market. It's the "Smart Business Communication System". It's a range of products aimed at small businesses that have limited or no IT staff. They are easier to setup and cheaper than the big boy Cisco routers and ASA devices. Here's a link: http://www.cisco.com/cisco/web/solu...art_business_communications_system/index.html

    Another: http://www.cisco.com/en/US/products/ps7293/index.html

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