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Manual Chapter: FirePass® Controller version 5.5 Getting Started Guide: Getting Started with the FirePass Controller
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Getting Started with the FirePass Controller

Introducing the FirePass controller

F5 Networks' FirePass® controller is a network appliance that provides remote users with secure access to corporate networks, using most standard Web browsers. The FirePass controller can be set up quickly, and installation requires no modification to existing corporate applications. No configuration or setup is required at the user's remote location. If the user's Web browser can connect to Web sites on the Internet, then that browser can connect to the FirePass controller.

The FirePass controller provides a web-based alternative to traditional remote-access technologies such as modem pools, RAS servers, and IPsec-layer Virtual Private Networks (VPNs). By leveraging the browser as a client, the FirePass controller enables your corporation or organization to extend secure remote access easily and cost-effectively to anyone connected to the Internet with no special software or configuration on the remote device. You do not need to make any additions or changes to the back-end resources being accessed.

The FirePass controller provides full access to network and desktop resources, including:

  • File servers
  • Email
  • Web-based applications
  • Terminal services
  • Legacy mainframe, AS/400, and Telnet applications
  • Proprietary corporate applications
  • Client/server applications

FirePass controller models

The FirePass controller is available in the following models:

  • FirePass 1000 controller
    The FirePass 1000 is a 1U rack-mounted controller designed for small to medium organizations, supporting up to 100 concurrent users.
  • FirePass 4100 controller
    The FirePass 4100 is a 2U rack-mounted controller designed for large organizations, supporting up to 2000 concurrent users, with clustering expanding support to 20,000.

The FirePass 1000 and FirePass 4100 controllers support failover configuration for high availability. The FirePass 4100 controller also supports clustering, which provides increased numbers of connections and load sharing.

For more information on the FirePass controller, refer to other FirePass controller documentation and the online help.

About this guide

This guide describes how to initially set up, configure, and license the FirePass controller. Before you set up the FirePass controller for the first time, we recommend that you read this guide in its entirety to become familiar with its features. We also recommend that you record your network configuration settings in the areas provided on the worksheet that was shipped with the FirePass controller. You can then use this information to assist you as you go through the initial Quick Setup configuration process.

This guide is available as an Adobe Acrobat file (.pdf) on the F5 Networks Technical Support Web site,

Intended audience

This guide is intended for use by system and network administrators who install and configure IT equipment and software. This guide assumes that administrators have experience installing software and working with network configurations. You should be able to set up and manage a firewall and manage a Linux or Windows-based server.

Stylistic conventions used in this guide

To help you easily identify and understand certain types of information, this documentation uses the following stylistic conventions.

Identifying new terms

When we first define a new term, the term is shown in bold italic text. For example, HTTPS is HyperText Transport Protocol (Secure), or secure HTTP.

Identifying references to objects, names, and commands

We apply bold text to a variety of items to help you easily pick them out of a block of text. These items include web addresses, IP addresses, utility names, most controls in the Administrative Console, and portions of commands such as variables and keywords. For example, click the Browse button and navigate to the file that you want to restore.

Identifying references to other documents

We use italic text to denote a reference to a document title. In references where we provide the name of a book as well as to a specific chapter in a book, we show the book name in bold, italic and the chapter or section name in italic text to help quickly differentiate the two. For example, you can find information you need to set up the FirePass controller in Installation prerequisites in the FirePass Controller Getting Started Guide.

Identifying command syntax

We show actual, complete commands in bold Courier text. For example, to log on to the Maintenance Console, type the user name:


Table 1.1 explains additional special conventions used in command line syntax.

Table 1.1 Command line conventions used in this manual
Item in text
Continue to the next line without typing a line break.
< >
You enter text for the enclosed item. For example, if the command has <your name>, type your name.
Separates parts of a command.
[ ]
Syntax inside the brackets is optional.
Indicates that you can type a series of items.


Special Notations

We use special notations to draw your attention to a variety of issues. Each format has a particular intention.

A Tip suggests ways to make administration easier or faster.


An easy way to enter a user agent string is to copy and paste the string from the Logons report.

A Note contains supplemental information.


If your superuser password is lost, contact Technical Support.

An Important note contains essential information.


Restarting services could disrupt active sessions.

A Warning describes actions that can cause data loss or system problems.


Do not turn off the FirePass controller by using the Power switch.

Finding help and technical support resources

You can find additional technical documentation about the FirePass controller in the following locations:

  • Online help for the FirePass controller
    You can find help online for all screens on the Administrative Console for the FirePass controller. Click the Help button at the upper right of the screen.


    The help page for the FirePass controller Welcome screen also includes information about FirePass controller documentation, and links to many useful web sites and resources, including:

    • FirePass controller solutions
    • FirePass controller Deployment guides
    • The F5 Networks Technical Support web site
    • The F5 DevCentral web site

  • F5 Networks Technical Support web site
    The F5 Networks Technical Support web site,, provides the latest documentation for the product, including:
    • Release notes for the FirePass controller, current and past
    • Updates for guides (in PDF form)
    • Technical notes
    • Answers to frequently asked questions
    • The AskF5 natural language question and answer engine.
    • To access this site, you need to register at

      Through our AskF5 Web site at, you can view examples of FirePass controller solutions. We recommend that you browse this site.

F5 Solution Center

The F5 Solution Center contains proven interoperability and integration solutions that empower organizations to deliver predictable and secure applications in an unpredictable network environment. The F5 Solution Center offers detailed documentation that demonstrates how to increase the return on investment (ROI) of your application and network infrastructures through superior reliability, security, and performance. You can access this site at

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