Firewalla Gold SE Review: Excellent Network Protection Without Subscription

A firewall designed for fast broadband.
Firewalla-Gold-SE-edit

Pros

  • No subscription required
  • Good application
  • Grows with you when you want to do more

Cons

  • Expensive, especially in the UK
  • Unable to choose to use a web portal instead of the app
  • App blocking may take some time to take effect

Our Verdict

The Firewalla Gold SE excels at protecting your network, giving you insight into what’s happening and allowing you to control what devices can and cannot do. It’s pricey, but considering you don’t need to pay ongoing subscription fees, it’s worth it.


Chances are, whether you’re a tech enthusiast or not, you’re largely unaware of what’s happening on your home network. Is someone trying to hack into your security cameras? Downloading movies or games illegally? Perhaps your kid sneaks in a tablet in their room and uses TikTok when they should be going to bed.

Your router almost certainly won’t tell you the answers to these questions, so you remain in the dark. I bet it doesn’t provide you with many (or any) easy ways to manage all the devices connected to its Wi-Fi or let you control when your kids can and cannot use the internet — let alone what apps they can use.

If you want that insight and control, you need Firewalla. The Gold SE is the latest device from the US company and it’s a more affordable option than the Gold (and Gold Plus) for users with high-speed broadband.

Features and Design

  • 2 2.5Gbps ports
  • 2 1Gbps ports
  • No Wi-Fi

As the name suggests, the Firewalla Gold SE is a firewall. Yes, your router already has a firewall, but it might not be that good. Not only does it not tell you what’s going on, but if you want to make any changes, you also have to deal with a clunky, browser-based interface.

Firewalla’s mission is to “make network security simple, affordable, and powerful for everyone,” and that’s precisely what the Gold SE does — and more. While it’s hardware, the accompanying app makes it so easy to use and access.

For a network suite, the hardware looks pretty cool, and unlike the Firewalla Purple I reviewed earlier this year, it has a metal casing, giving it a more premium feel. It’s a good job because it’s much more expensive.

There are four Ethernet ports on one side: a pair of 2.5Gbps LAN and WAN, and another pair of 1Gbps LAN ports. This can save you costs as not everyone needs three 2.5Gbps LAN ports. If you do, then go buy the Firewalla Gold Plus.

Even if you don’t have 2.5Gbps broadband now, judging by current trends, it’s not far off, and if you already have some kind of full-fiber (FTTP), then your purchase is very worthwhile to cater to future needs.

On the other side is a microSD slot, a USB port, an HDMI output, and another USB port, with a red secure encryption dog inserted into it for pairing and activation, should stay connected. The dust cover is inserted to protect unused ports.

The microSD slot is for docker containers, which I’ll explain later, along with the HDMI output.

What does a firewall do?

  • Blocks hackers and malware
  • Gives you a deep understanding of your network
  • Lets you block apps, websites, and the internet on specific devices
  • Allows you to isolate devices from each other

Before explaining the myriad features of the Gold SE, it must be pointed out that these features do not require a subscription. Once you buy a Firewalla, you can use it without any additional payment.

Its primary job is to act as a gateway to your home network and prevent anything untoward from accessing your devices.

Should I buy Firewalla Gold SE?

Yes, if you have gigabit broadband or faster and need devices that can keep up with that speed. If you need multiple LAN ports to isolate groups of devices, then it’s also the right choice.

If your broadband speed is slower and you don’t necessarily need these LAN ports, the Firewalla Purple and Purple SE are cheaper alternatives with essentially the same features, and like the Gold SE, they don’t require any kind of subscription.

Either way, both devices are easy to recommend to anyone who wants to see what’s happening on their home network and control it.

 

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