Watchguard has overhauled its Firebox Core and Peak e-series UTM (unified threat management) appliances, amongst a number of improvements, doubling firewall throughput.

The performance upgrade is all thanks to boosted firmware, called Fireware, which now reaches version 9.0. The higher-end Firebox X Peak e-Series appliance family now handles 2 Gbit/s, up from 1 Gbit/s, while the Firebox X Core e-Series runs up to 300 Mbit/s, up from 150 Mbit/s.

Other enhancements are more to do with software features, and include VPN failover between different ISPs, drag-and-drop VPN tunnel creation, the inclusion of VLAN capability, and better load balancing.

Fireware 9.0 is the first firmware revision for two years, and comes after the company upgraded the underlying capabilities of its hardware platform last summer, so the performance has been there, if not switched on, for some time. Watchguard uses a single hardware platform across its products, with features being enabled in a modular way.

“With Fireware 9.0, WatchGuard has delivered a quality appliance that matches or exceeds competitive offerings. With Fireware 9.0, we now believe WatchGuard can now resume a position of competitive leadership for security appliances for the medium-sized enterprises,” said Firebox X Core and Peak marketing manager, Robert Ward.

For some time a public company, Watchguard was taken private last summer by Francisco Partners and Vector Capital in mildly contentious circumstances. The company and its management had fallen out of favour with its investors, and retreating to the shelter of private ownership as seen as the best way of getting a once highly-regarded company back on its feet.

The company has also announced a new channel programme, which it hopes will aid its attempts to get the company up the sales tables beyond its US homeland. This will see the partners given money to develop their own marketing programmes, rather than have them imposed by the company.