Firepower 1010 Review

KB ID 0001666

What Is It?

I’ve been trying to get my hands on one of these for a while. So thanks to my employer for sending me one to take a look at. The Firepower 1010 appliance is aimed at Small Office / Home Office, and possibly Small Remote Branch offices. But like its predecessors it will probably get put in EVERYWHERE because it’s ‘cheap’, (Note: for cheap, read possibly under-specced* and the wrong size!)

*Seriously, I’ve deployed a LOT of 5506-X (and 5508-X) firewalls, and then clients enabled every inspection, IDS/AMP/Web Filtering etc. Then complained that their internet connection was then terrible, ‘Why is my new firewall slower than the old one!’ So look at the throughput for these things, with inspection enabled before deciding to buy the cheapest one!

A Brief History

The Firepower 1010, will end up being the replacement for the ASA5506-X, which in turn was the replacements for the ASA5505

ASA5505 5506-X Firepower 1010

Left to Right: ASA 5505, ASA 5506-X, Firepower 1010

The 5505, was brilliant, I still see them everywhere, tucked in the bottom of comms cabinets, and balanced on top of other things in Data Centers. I know of 5505s that I installed new over 15 years ago that are still chugging away. It had built in PoE, a 7 port switch, (you need one port for the WAN.) The only thing that ever let the 5505 down, was, the earlier versions didn’t have enough RAM to update past version 8.3. It replaced the earlier PIX 501 and the PIX506E (I do have both of these models also tucked away somewhere, I was just too lazy to dig them out).

The 5506-X was, (to be honest), a massive let down,  it shipped with 8 Ports on it, but those ports were independent, so you needed to buy a switch as well, and it didn’t have PoE. Cisco tried to ‘Fix’ the switch problem by introducing the BVI interface with version 9.7. the problem with that was, it was ‘horrifically terrible in the extreme‘. If you wanted to do anything even vaguely ‘firewall-ish’ with your firewall, the config would extend in size with a ratio like it was getting multiplied by the Fibonacci numbers. 🙁 The final nail in its coffin was, if you updated it past version 9.10 the FirePOWER module was disabled, (Regardless of the fact you had bought licences for it or not).

So Now the Firepower 1010

Is it FirePOWER or Firepower? : Good question, the rule was, if it was in an ASA it was FirePOWER if it was a dedicated device it was Firepower. But as the Firepower 1010 can run ASA code, it breaks the rules! So I’ll stick with Firepower for the new ones.

It runs ASA Code? : Yes Cisco firewall techs of the world rejoice! The Firepower 1010 model comes in two flavours;

  • FPR1010-ASA-K9: Good old Cisco ASA code, with an ASDM!
  • FPR1010-NGFW-K9: Runs the FTD (Firepower Threat Management) code.

I’ve written briefly about FTD on the Cisco ASA, I wasn’t really a fan, but I know we live in a ‘point and click’ society now, so maybe this version will win out in the end, but I hope not.

Oh Bugger! I’ve Ordered the wrong one! No problem, you can swap between versions, but you will need to ‘re-image’ the device completely (losing all settings).

What Do You Get With the Firepower 1010?

Out of the box you get the unit itself, a ‘Power Brick’ (with an annoying ‘Clover Leaf’ / ‘Mickey Mouse Ears’ / ‘IEC C5’ connector.) So if like me you get one with a Euro (2 pin) plug in the box and you live in the UK unless you have one spare you will have a problem. Luckily I’ve got most things at home, but if you unbox this in a Data Centre at 11 o’clock at night, good luck finding one of those Power Cables! You also get a USB console cable. There’s a quick setup card, mine was in French and Spanish, but the picture was self explanatory. Theres a licence envelope in there as well, on inspection, it’s just instructions on how to setup a ‘Smart’ License account.

It’s Fan-less: Like the 5506-X it’s fan-less (that’s why its covered in holes). So IT”S NOT SUPPOSED TO GO IN A RACK! If you want a rack mountable firewall buy a Firepower 1120.

But You Can Get Rack Mounting Kits For It? : I know, but then the world is full of people who sell the wrong stuff. If you put this thing in a rack, and impede airflow though it, it’s more likely to break, (lecture over).

It’s a Proper Switch! Yep even better than the 5505, it’s got proper switchports with proper switch commands! By default all Ports from GigabitEthernet 1/2 to 1/8 are in VLAN 1. Gigabit Ethernet 1/1 is a routed (no switchport) port.

PoE:  The unit has PoE on ports GigabitEthernet 1/7 and GigabitEthernet 1/8 (only).

Throughput: Cisco state with NGFW inspection ‘or’ IDS turned on 650Mbps (notice they don’t say ‘and’!)

AnyConnect: Comes with 75 ‘Premium’ Licences, (without extra licensing!)

Licensing: Smart License model only, so no more ‘classic’ licences, and activation-keys any more.

  1. Power:  Much better than the 5506-x and the terrible 5505 power connector, you could probably swing on this and it wont come out. Just a pity about the IEC C5  connector on the power brick.
  2. 8 x Gigabit Ethernet ports: Normally GigabitEthernet 1/1 will be for the WAN, GigabitEthernet 1/2 though 1/8 will be for the LAN (with 1/7 and 1/8 being PoE).
  3. Management Port.
  4. Console Port (RJ45).
  5. Console Port (Mini USB).
  6. USB port (useful for upgrades, and backups).
  7. Kensington Lock: Seriously? I’ve not seen one of these since about 2005, does anyone still use them?
  8. Reset Button: Depress for 3 seconds reverts the firewall to its factory settings, (and preserves the config apparently).
  9. Status Lights, (another reason not to put things on top of it!) Though you will notice there’s some on the back also.

Firepower 1010 Initial Setup (ASA Version)

It takes ages to boot! Like its predecessors the WAN Port will be set to get an IP address via DHCP, and the internal ports have DHCP enabled (192.168.1.0/24). The  Management Port also has DHCP enabled 192.168.45.0/24) So be careful before connecting it to a live network. ASDM is enabled to the entire inside and management networks. 

The only thing I can see different from its predecessor, (apart form the fact its got a working switch setup that isn’t terrible,) is the DNS servers are set to Ciscos, I’m assuming this is so that licensing and updates will ‘just work’ though some people will want to change this.

Annoyingly ICMP inspection is still disabled by default, and ESMTP inspection is enabled by default (If you have an Exchange server turn that off!)

All traffic is set to translate to the outside interfaces IP address (This is actually PAT translation, that’s why I didn’t say NATTED to the outside interfaces IP address).

Next Step: Cisco Firepower 1010 Licensing

Related Articles, References, Credits, or External Links

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Author: PeteLong

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2 Comments

  1. So if you run FP1010 with ASA code (FPR1010-ASA-K9), is there still a place to run ‘with FirePOWER Services’ with it, like ASA5506 and other same generation boxes; there is the “sfr module” visible and you then have two different management planes for firewall and L7 filtering, or not?

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    • Great Question: No! If you try and execute a ‘show module’ or a ‘Session sfr’ it will simply error, in ASA mode they are ASA firewalls only, so no FirePower services.

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