Next Generation Firewall
NGFW 2018 Comparative Report: Performance

NGFW 2018 Comparative Report: Performance

This report is available through the Next Generation Firewall (NGFW) Category Subscription. All of our subscription options can be viewed here.



Thomas Skybakmoen



The proliferation of enterprise applications, the mainstream adoption of bring your own device (BYOD) and the hybrid cloud environment all increase the attack surface in the enterprise environment. The next generation firewall (NGFW) is the first line of defense against today’s threats and is a critical component of any defense-in-depth strategy. The NGFW market is one of the largest and most mature in the cybersecurity industry.

NGFW technologies have evolved from packet filtering and circuit-level gateways to application layer (proxy-based) and dynamic packet filtering firewalls that use port and protocol combinations to create and enforce access control policy between trusted and untrusted networks.

Traditional firewalls relied on common application ports to determine which applications were running and which attacks to watch for, but the NGFW can identify and either allow, block, or limit applications regardless of the ports and protocols used. The NGFW must also be capable of performing deep packet inspection on all packets, on all ports, and over all protocols in order to determine which applications are running over which ports and thus secure the applications effectively. Also, the expanded use of SSL/TLS in much of the traffic traversing the modern network makes it necessary for the NGFW to inspect encrypted content.


Implementation of NGFW devices can be a complex process with multiple factors affecting the overall performance of the device. This Comparative Report provides data on factors affecting an NGFW’s ability to perform, including:

  • Throughput
  • Latency
  • Maximum capacity
  • HTTP capacity
  • Application average response time: HTTP
  • HTTP capacity with HTTP persistent connections
  • SSL/TLS performance
  • Real-world single application flows



The following products were evaluated:


To learn how vendors performed, download a copy of each Test Report. NSS clients can also download the NGFW Comparative Reports on Security, Security Value Map, and Total Cost of Ownership.

As with all NSS Labs group tests, there was no fee for participation. In addition, the test methodology applied is in the public domain to provide transparency and to help enterprises understand the results. 

As with all NSS Labs group tests, there was no fee for participation. All testing was conducted independently and was not paid for by any vendor.