Suddenly people cannot get to the internet at my business

So you have been cruising along at your business for years and all has been great, but now, out of the blue, people on your network are having trouble viewing websites.

You found that if you reboot that firewall (pull the plug on the thing since there is no power supply) that YOU get back online right away, but then later that day, someone else on the network is now having trouble accessing websites so you reboot the firewall and all is well, for a while.

What could it be? It MUST be the firewall going bad since that fixes it.

Before jumping to that conclusion and just replacing the device, think back. Has your company grown? Maybe you have added a few new employees, or, maybe you have added tablets or other connected devices.

What could be happening here is that you have added one too many devices to your network and exceeded the number of seats that your firewall appliance supports. When you originally purchased that device, a technician counted the number of computers, servers and connected devices and said “You need a 25 user firewall and it will cost $xxx.xx”, to which you agreed and promptly forgot about.

Now, flash forward to today and your 12 users and a server have grown to 15 users, two servers and many people have iPads or Android tablets or phones, taking you past the 25 user limit.  The last person to connect once you go over the limit will generally be denied access to websites by the firewall, as a warning that you have exceeded the license terms, and it probably won’t “reset” just by turning that computer off, you will have to reboot the firewall to free unused seats up.

So what are you going to do about it? I guess you could tell the employees to stop connecting their personal phones to your network, or you could replace the firewall with a cheap router that has no limitations.

Both will work, but are bad ideas.

The real solution is to correct the licensing issue. Determine how many connected devices you have within your network, and estimate how many you will need for the next year, then talk to a vendor who can provide the proper licenses and apply those for you. Don’t forget to include VoIP and security systems, even copiers and connected printers, as they may require a seat too.

If you are experiencing rapid growth, consider upgrading to an unlimited license.

Just a note – If you have an old device, say 4-5 years old, now may be the time to consider upgrading the entire device to the latest technology at the same time you correct the user limitation!

Should you require help with this, Homeland Secure IT offers sales and support of most major brands of firewalls. We partner with Cisco, WatchGuard, SonicWALL, TrendNet, D-Link, NetGear and more! Call us for more information in the Greenville / Upstate SC area – 864.990.4748 or email

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