Fortinet FortiNAC Review

By forcing guests/users to register their BYOD devices we know who they are and can then apply appropriate web filtering policies to them based on a number of factors.

Valuable Features

Out of 6500 wireless devices we see issues with less than 0.5% of clients. Though the product has many features we only utilize a fraction of them. We use the product for registration and management of our wireless network (NAC). The most valuable asset is visibility in to what a client is and who is using it. By forcing guests/users to register their BYOD devices we know who they are and can then apply appropriate web filtering policies to them based on a number of factors. We can then use that data to export reports etc on usage of our wireless network as a whole and troubleshoot as needed.

Improvements to My Organization

Prior to using the product we had a fully open wireless network. This means anyone could come in off the street and connect to our wifi. We would not have knowledge of who they are if the did something illegal or wrong. Our level of security has increase greatly as well as our knowledge of who is on our network.

Room for Improvement

We have had issues with certain Windows 10 devices not being able to register which requires manual intervention to fix. I think they are working on this issue. As Windows 10 devices grow this issue will become greater.

Another major pain point is management of existing and new wireless access points. You must import the Aps into Network Sentry every time you put them on the network. Its also advised to use DHCP reservations for each AP. The system does not delete APs if you remove them from production as well. This means you must remove the APs from Sentry each time its stake out of production or placed in a new building etc. The initial setup of an AP doubled as a result of using this product. There are steps that must be performed and if any are missed, the AP becomes a black hole resulting in zero connectivity for clients connecting to it.

Use of Solution

We’ve used this solution for two years.

Customer Service and Technical Support

Their technical support is a 8/10. They are responsive and have the ability (if you allow) to log into your equipment remotely and fix problems or perform upgrades. They are helpful in answering questions and configuration assistance is always available as this product is complex at first.

Initial Setup

The initial deployment took three days however we encountered many issues. The main factor was our network set-up was not fully understood by Bradford prior to purchase and deployment. This created many issues while we were in production with 10-15% of our users having connectivity problems every day. We were not fully operational until 3 months after deployment.

Initial set-up was done via a “Quick Start” where the bare bones are implemented by and on site tech. This is not meant to be a full implementation but to get the foundation in place. The on-site tech was knowledgeable but again, we had issues with understanding out network set-up and its complexity which were not discovered in the quick start.

Implementation Team

Vendor team on site, which we paid for. In house is available but would have been very time consuming to learn and implement. I would not recommend quick start but instead have a tech on site for a minimum of 5-7 business days to fully understand the product. Its not until you are in full production will you see issues and have questions. As questions, learn how the product works deep down.

Pricing, Setup Cost and Licensing

Pricing is expensive but cheaper than some other solutions out there. Licensing is based on number of concurrent devices and a number of other factors depending on implementation type. Yearly maintenance fees are very reasonable and highly recommended. ROI is immediate for us in terms of visibility.

Other Solutions Considered

We did not evaluate other solutions other than on a cost basis.

Other Advice

Explain you network set-up in full detail with diagrams. VLANs, SSIDs, switch vendors, wireless vendors, subnets. What methods do you use today for wireless authentication (802.1x/WPA2-PSK/Open). Show them everything and what it looks like to be a client on your network today and the process to get on-line. This product manages both wired and wireless network is you choose both options. This product can also do posturing of devices to ensure they meet criteria like current updates and Antivirus etc. We are not using that functionality yet however.

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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