Kerio Control Review

Provides users with the ability to log in to the portal page, keep track of their data usage and perform bandwidth management


What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case for this solution is to provide our customers with a reliable and secure internet service for which they can perform bandwidth management and other operations.

How has it helped my organization?

This is a service that we set up for the yacht owners. They all want to carry the control over the yacht.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is to provide users with the ability to log in to the portal page, keep track of their data usage and perform bandwidth management. It allows the captain to keep a log of everything that is happening and see who is using what bandwidth.

If somebody is using too much bandwidth then they have the option to throttle them back.

What needs improvement?

As of late, it seems that they can't release a version that doesn't have some type of bug. It crashes when it runs out of memory, and fixing this would be great.

I would like to be able to inspect https packets for the purpose of virus scanning.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

This solution has been pretty stable overall. That said, there is room for improvement.

For some clients, some of the options cause problems. Filtering, for example, is something that one client does not need at all. Turning this off seems to straighten things out.

I have been awoken at 3 am by emails telling me that things are down, and that has happened within the past couple of updates, but not as much. I keep my eyes on the Kerio forums and watch for other people who say that it is time to upgrade again.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

My impression is that it is pretty scalable and it can handle a lot of stuff.

I don't use it to the point where I'm linking multiple sites together, so I can't comment on that aspect.

We have the solution installed on approximately twenty boats now, and we're continuing to install them.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support used to be great. However, it's gone way downhill. I used to speak directly to the person writing the code, and he would walk you through when you need help. Now, I can barely get a hold of him.

Thankfully, now that I know the software inside and out, I don't really need them.

If you previously used a different solution, which one did you use and why did you switch?

I have used a couple of other solutions.

For me, they are straightforward. However, the reason we chose this solution is because it has to be something that the captain can understand. It has to be a straightforward user interface. 

If it were a situation where a client were going to be managing every aspect of it and the captain is not going to be involved, I would probably choose pfSense or something else.

How was the initial setup?

This initial setup is straightforward. It is a no brainer, and anybody can get in there and just do it. They deployment takes maybe half an hour, if that.

It all depends on what they are requesting. It's not just "one size fits all". Some boats have a LAN they need set up, while some boats don't. We set up the unit sources and assign different ports.

These days they have a dedicated internet port, and they've got four or five land ports. We'll take one or two of the land ports and assign them to the Internet port, so that way they'll have a ship-to-shore connection, as well as a VSAT (Very small aperture terminal) connection. We'll also have another device with a cell router coming into the third connection, so that way they can switch between the three Internet connections when they need to.

For example, if they are out at sea they're going to use the VSAT, but if they are in the port then they will either use the ship-to-shore Wi-Fi, or the cellular connection, to save money.

We have eight technicians on site, but it only takes one person to handle the deployment. The maintenance is quick; we can log in remotely and update it if we need to. I prefer to be on site for this in case something goes wrong, but nine times out of ten everything is just fine.

What about the implementation team?

We do the implementation ourselves.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

There is a yearly upkeep fee.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We have evaluated WatchGuard and pfSense as well. We basically need something that is easy for the client because they want to have control over everything, and that's what Kerio is going to give them.

What other advice do I have?

This solution is big in our industry because the captains have to have control over everything. If the captain wants to log in and see what his users, his crew members are doing, then Kerio provides that.

I suggest watching the Kerio forums for what the community is saying in terms of upgrades and support.

I would rate this solution eight out of ten.

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