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23 Ratings
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Score 8.5 out of 100
64 Ratings
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Score 8.9 out of 100

Highlights

MikroTik and pfSense both offer firewall solutions that leverage software to allow devices to function as network firewalls.  MikroTik primarily provides routers and switches, but their RouterOS software acts as a software based firewall solution.  pfSense is an open source firewall solution that businesses are able to access for free.  Most likely due to pricing, pfSense is most popular with small businesses.

Features

MikroTik and pfSense can both be used to protect business networks through firewalls, but they also have a few standout features that set them apart from each other.

MikroTik’s RouterOS software is very low demand and flexible enough to fit on most devices or virtual machines without taking up much space.  MikroTik RouterOS can also be installed on all sorts of drives, from USB to SATA.  This makes MikroTik a good choice for organizations looking for software that can function on low performance machines.

pfSense firewall is an open source tool, making it highly customizable for a skilled team that can take advantage of access to the source code. Additionally, pfSense includes advanced features such as SSL encryption and customizable content filtering.  pfSense is an ideal choice for businesses looking for a highly customizable, high performance firewall option. 

Limitations

MikroTik and pfSense both provide essential firewall features, such as customizable routing, but they also have a few limitations that are important to consider. 

MikroTik RouterOS is a proprietary firewall solution, so it isn’t as accessible, or as customizable as open source solutions like pfSense.  Additionally, MikroTik provides excellent routing features but is weaker when it comes to features like SSL encryption.  Businesses looking for more powerful security features may prefer a solution like pfSense.

pfSense offers significant flexibility and powerful features, but it is also a heavier piece of software compared to RouterOS.  Businesses looking for the lightest possible software that can run on very low power machines may prefer Mikrotik’s firewall solution.  Support for pfSense is also limited for businesses that use pfSense for free rather than purchasing hardware from pfSense.

Pricing

Pricing for bothe MikroTik firewall solutions and pfSense firewall solutions is highly dependent on how it is used.  MikroTik hardware including their firewall solutions start as low as $70.00

Businesses can access and utilize pfSense firewall for free, but it is also included in their hardware and cloud packages.  Cloud pricing starts as low as $0.08 per hour.  In contrast, hardware packages including firewalls start as low as $150.00.

Feature Set Ratings

    Firewall

    MikroTik Routers and Switches

    Feature Set Not Supported
    N/A
    8.5

    pfSense

    85%
    pfSense ranks higher in 11/11 features

    Identification Technologies

    N/A
    0 Ratings
    8.7
    87%
    8 Ratings

    Visualization Tools

    N/A
    0 Ratings
    7.9
    79%
    7 Ratings

    Content Inspection

    N/A
    0 Ratings
    7.4
    74%
    9 Ratings

    Policy-based Controls

    N/A
    0 Ratings
    8.5
    85%
    9 Ratings

    Active Directory and LDAP

    N/A
    0 Ratings
    7.9
    79%
    8 Ratings

    Firewall Management Console

    N/A
    0 Ratings
    9.7
    97%
    8 Ratings

    Reporting and Logging

    N/A
    0 Ratings
    8.6
    86%
    9 Ratings

    VPN

    N/A
    0 Ratings
    8.8
    88%
    9 Ratings

    High Availability

    N/A
    0 Ratings
    8.9
    89%
    9 Ratings

    Stateful Inspection

    N/A
    0 Ratings
    8.9
    89%
    9 Ratings

    Proxy Server

    N/A
    0 Ratings
    8.2
    82%
    9 Ratings

    Attribute Ratings

    • MikroTik Routers and Switches is rated higher in 1 area: Likelihood to Recommend

    Likelihood to Recommend

    9.2

    MikroTik Routers and Switches

    92%
    6 Ratings
    9.1

    pfSense

    91%
    22 Ratings

    Usability

    9.0

    MikroTik Routers and Switches

    90%
    1 Rating

    pfSense

    N/A
    0 Ratings

    Support Rating

    8.8

    MikroTik Routers and Switches

    88%
    3 Ratings

    pfSense

    N/A
    0 Ratings

    Likelihood to Recommend

    MikroTik Routers and Switches

    MikroTik is suited for large companies that require advanced distributions in terms of contracted bandwidth, and in the same way, allows a single device to specify filtering and firewall rules without acquiring an additional device. There is a range for small companies which is more economical and less robust, but in case it's not necessary, such a strict control over the data consumption of the company is not a feasible solution.
    Carlos Alberto Pedron Espinett | TrustRadius Reviewer

    pfSense

    For fast-growing or SME companies, pfSense is quite suitable because pfSense already had many advanced features such as VPN and multiple WAN / LAN. As a result, we just need to pay for expensive router frequently to upgrade our infrastructure.
    Allan Leung | TrustRadius Reviewer

    Pros

    MikroTik Routers and Switches

    • Affordable, it has more features compared to other brand at the same price.
    • Widely available, by today it's easy to obtained one, even online retailers sell it.
    • Highly customizable, you may write a powerful script to enhance the function.
    • Flexible, you can make different configuration approach based on you needs.
    Alex Anwar | TrustRadius Reviewer

    pfSense

    • pfSense is an excellent firewall - It logs all of your traffic. It has packages you can install to snort bad traffic.
    • pfSense has a tool called "p0f" which allows you to see what type of OS is trying to connect to you. You can filter these results and you can also block a specific OS from connecting to you.
    • pfSense is an excellent load-balancer: (Multi-WAN and Server Load Balancing) The fail-over/aggregation works very well. This is perfect if your business uses multiple ISP's to ensure your customers are always able to access their data. Also helps with bandwidth distribution as well.
    • VPN's - I am not entirely sure if this package was free with pfSense, but it does offer the ability to use OpenVPN which is what I am familiar with.
    • They also have IPsec in the settings as well, but I am not familiar with that enough to go into any detail with it.
    • As I mentioned I do use OpenVPN the only thing I don't care for with it is I can create OpenVPN configs for each user I want to be able to VPN into the network and I assumed each one would be "unique" but this does not seem to be the case. I could be doing it wrong, but if I create a config for a specific employee I would expect only that employee should be able to use that config, but I have been able to login to everyone that I made using my credentials.
    • I mentioned earlier that pfSense had a GUI.
    • I personally really think it is cool because it has a bunch of reporting graphs for monitoring your networks. I think when I become the full-time admin at the company I am going to try to talk them into getting me a TV I can mount on the wall and display all the graphs and real-time info pfSense shows so I can monitor what is going on with the network(s) at all times. Plus I think it would look rad.
    Charles R. Coggins III | TrustRadius Reviewer

    Cons

    MikroTik Routers and Switches

    • Some of the wiki articles have not been updated or are not accurate enough. We spent a couple of days trying to find an example of implementing a mobile IPSec client solution. But once this has been implemented, it has been solid (always worked). A bigger community would help, and I am finding it hard to find the time to contribute to these articles.
    Adrian Takacs | TrustRadius Reviewer

    pfSense

    • There is no API for making changes. This can be a hindrance in environments where auto-deploying something needs firewall rules or HAProxy configs updated. Since all settings are stored in an XML file and then configs are generated from that, even manually updating config files cannot be done.
    • Beware that some network cards can have issues. pfSense is based on FreeBSD, so it's best to look on their compatibility list before deploying.
    Aaron Smith | TrustRadius Reviewer

    Pricing Details

    MikroTik Routers and Switches

    General

    Free Trial
    Free/Freemium Version
    Premium Consulting/Integration Services
    Entry-level set up fee?
    No

    Starting Price

    MikroTik Routers and Switches Editions & Modules

    Additional Pricing Details

    pfSense

    General

    Free Trial
    Free/Freemium Version
    Premium Consulting/Integration Services
    Entry-level set up fee?
    No

    Starting Price

    $179 per appliance

    pfSense Editions & Modules

    Edition
    SG-1100$1791
    SG-2100$2291
    SG-3100$3991
    SG-5100$6991
    XG-7100-DT$8991
    XG-7100-1U$9991
    XG-1537$1,9491
    XG-1541$2,6491
    1. per appliance
    Additional Pricing Details

    Usability

    MikroTik Routers and Switches

    MikroTik Routers and Switches 9.0
    Based on 1 answer
    Almost perfect, despite some issue that need to be addressed by the manufacturer. If this issue has been addressed, a full 10 mark will be given.
    Alex Anwar | TrustRadius Reviewer

    pfSense

    No score
    No answers yet
    No answers on this topic

    Support Rating

    MikroTik Routers and Switches

    MikroTik Routers and Switches 8.8
    Based on 3 answers
    There is no SOC, NOC, where you can contact to try to resolve any difficulties. The problems that these devices have are solved largely through the community, with workaround alternatives, or if the support team responds to a request, the response times are too high for the current needs of technological communications.
    Tanner Moreno | TrustRadius Reviewer

    pfSense

    No score
    No answers yet
    No answers on this topic

    Alternatives Considered

    MikroTik Routers and Switches

    Cisco Routers are one of the best in the market, however they are also very expensive and not suitable for a small deployment or any deployment which requires just a couple of routers. MikroTik on the other hand are less expensive and provides many features that you require for a small scale deployment. they fit in with the budget and do what you need them to.
    Umair Ali Khan | TrustRadius Reviewer

    pfSense

    Before pfSense we were using consumer and small business rated network appliances from Linksys, Cisco, Buffalo and Netgear. We were replacing them on average of every 6-12 months because they'd fail or would offer poor wifi availability.Switching to pfSense allowed us to use professional grade switches and wifi access points, offloading all of the services that the consumer grade products took care of, onto pfSense (DHCP, DNS, routing, firewall, VPN, etc).
    Jim Rubenstein | TrustRadius Reviewer

    Return on Investment

    MikroTik Routers and Switches

    • First of all it's cheaper than Cisco routers.
    • It has more functionality than Cisco routers that cost 4 times more.
    • It has a GUI. But it has CLI too.
    Marcin Chabowski | TrustRadius Reviewer

    pfSense

    • Moving to a FWaaS solution installed on a decent computer the initial investment was moderate to cover 50 to 250 users, but still being cheaper that a Fortinet, Cisco ASA, or a Sophos UTM.
    • Paying only for support can be a double edge knife, cause you need to identify what's the goal of the request, or your drown into a an endless list of requirements.
    • To stay in the top with the half of a regular investment pFSense gives a wide variety of plugins that will give you a deep knowledge of your security flaws and strong points.
    Victor Arana | TrustRadius Reviewer

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