Book Image

Getting Started with FortiGate

Book Image

Getting Started with FortiGate

Overview of this book

FortiGate from Fortinet is a highly successful family of appliances enabled to manage routing and security on different layers, supporting dynamic protocols, IPSEC and VPN with SSL, application and user control, web contents and mail scanning, endpoint checks, and more, all in a single platform. The heart of the appliance is the FortiOS (FortiOS 5 is the latest release) which is able to unify a friendly web interface with a powerful command line to deliver high performance. FortiGate is able to give users the results they usually achieve at a fraction of the cost of what they would have to invest with other vendors.This practical, hands-on guide addresses all the tasks required to configure and manage a FortiGate unit in a logical order. The book starts with topics related to VLAN and routing (static and advanced) and then discusses in full the UTM features integrated in the appliance. The text explains SSL VPN and IPSEC VPN with all the required steps you need to deploy the aforementioned solutions. High availability and troubleshooting techniques are also explained in the last two chapters of the book.This concise, example-oriented book explores all the concepts you need to administer a FortiGate unit. You will begin by covering the basic tools required to administer a FortiGate unit, including NAT, routing, and VLANs. You will then be guided through the concepts of firewalling, UTM inside the appliance, tunnelling using SSL, and IPSEC and dial-up configurations. Next, you will get acquainted with important topics like high availability and Vdoms. Finally, you will end the book with an overview of troubleshooting tools and techniques.
Table of Contents (13 chapters)

Administering a FortiGate

We are able to manage one or all the aforementioned security features from one of the administrative tools of the device, a graphical interface (the web-based manager), and a command line (CLI). In the following screenshot, we can see the dashboard of the web-based manager and the CLI paired in the same screen:

Access to the web-based manager requires a browser and an Ethernet connection between the FortiGate unit and the administrator's workstation.

The CLI can be used inside the graphical dashboard or we can detach it to use the command line in a separate window. The CLI is also the only administrative access we have when we access a FortiGate from a Telnet (or SSH) connection.


A Telnet session uses clear text in all transmissions. Everything we type during a Telnet session, including passwords, is basically readable on the network. SSH encrypts information and makes it unreadable. If we have the option to select a connection type, SSH is to be preferred over Telnet.

We are able to open the CLI from the browser as a part of the web-based manager or using a terminal connection that requires an RJ-45 to DB-9 serial cable and a terminal emulation client like PuTTY.

While the graphical interface is easier to manage and does not require knowledge of specific commands, the command line has some advantages:

  • To troubleshoot problems with the operation of a FortiGate as we are able to use the diagnose debug command in the CLI console. This is something we will see in more detail in Chapter 5, Troubleshooting.

  • To script and automatize operations.

  • For accessing configuration items that are only available using the CLI. An example is the FortiGate Session Life Support Protocol (FGSP) explained in Chapter 4, High Availability.

  • To apply modifications and changes on multiple devices in a reliable and less error prone manner.


To allow SSH access to the CLI, we have to enable this kind of administrative access on at least one interface. The operation is performed as shown in the section, Selecting the operation mode and configuring the internal and external interfaces.