Q. What does "E" stand for in the product name?
A. The "E" indicates that this is an enhanced version of the widely popular Cisco PIX® 506 or 515 Firewall platforms. Enhancements include more powerful processors, which result in up to a two and one-half times increase in firewall and virtual private network (VPN) performance, depending on packet size. In the case of the Cisco PIX 515E models (with Unrestricted or Failover licenses), this enhancement also provides integrated hardware-based VPN acceleration.
Q. Are the E platforms substantially different from the Cisco PIX 506 and 515 platforms that I am already familiar with?
A. Although the enhancements to firewall and VPN performance are significant, the Cisco PIX 506E and 515E platforms offer the same form factor, flexibility, interface support, and Cisco PIX OS support as the Cisco PIX 506 and 515 models.
Q. What changes were introduced with the E platforms?
A. Table 1 gives details on the differences between the Cisco PIX 515 and 515E and the Cisco PIX 506 and 506E platforms.
Table 1: Differences Between Cisco PIX 515 and 515E and Cisco PIX 506 and 506E Firewalls
Q. How is the embedded VPN feature provided within the Unrestricted and Failover models?
A. These models incorporate the Cisco PIX VPN Accelerator Card (VAC), a hardware-based VPN accelerator that is designed not only to improve IP Security (IPSec) encryption processing, but also to maintain high-end firewall performance. It is integrated into Cisco PIX 515E firewalls that have an Unrestricted or Failover license. For more information about the Cisco PIX VAC, go to
Q. What software versions are supported on the E platforms?
A. Cisco PIX Firewall software versions 5.2(7), 5.3(3), 6.0(2), and 6.1(2), as well as future versions, will provide support for the Cisco PIX 506E and 515E platforms.
Q. Can I configure a Cisco PIX 515E and 515 to work together in a redundant hot standby pair?
A. In order for Cisco PIX Failover functionality to work, you need to ensure that both units are the same model (one with a Unrestricted license and the other with an Failover license) and have the same software version, encryption licenses, Flash memory, and the same RAM. Failover between the Cisco PIX 515E and 515 is not supported.
Q. How long will the Cisco PIX 506 and 515 platforms be supported?
A. The support schedule for the Cisco PIX 506 and 515 platforms is as follows:
Q. How can I distinguish the new Cisco PIX 506E/515E platform from the 506/515 platforms?
A. The new Cisco PIX 506E/515E platforms are recognizable in multiple ways:
Q. What are the management options for the Cisco PIX 506E and 515E?
A. Customers have a choice of using the CiscoWorks VPN/Security Management Solution (VMS) or the Cisco PIX Device Manager (PDM).
CiscoWorks VMS is an enterprise management solution suite that provides a comprehensive solution for VPN and security management. Web based, CiscoWorks VMS is used for configuring, monitoring, and troubleshooting enterprise VPNs, firewalls, and the network- and host-based Cisco Secure Intrusion Detection System (IDS). CiscoWorks VMS is a scalable solution that addresses the needs of small- and large-scale VPN and security deployments.
The Web-based Cisco PDM configuration tool enables graphical configuration and monitoring of Cisco PIX firewalls without requiring extensive knowledge of the command-line interface (CLI). Cisco PDM is a tool for configuring, managing, and monitoring one Cisco PIX Firewall at a time.
CiscoWorks VMS and Cisco PDM are complementary management tools. Cisco PIX Device Manager is a tool for configuring, managing, and monitoring a single Cisco PIX Firewall. CiscoWorks VMS enables centralized management and uniform deployment of network policies. CiscoWorks VMS supports the configuration of multiple Cisco security products, such as site-to-site VPNs, Cisco Secure IDS, and Cisco PIX Firewalls.
For more information about the Cisco PIX 515E Firewall, go to
For more information about the Cisco PIX 506E Firewall, go to
For more information about the Cisco PIX VPN Accelerator Card (VAC), go to
For additional information on CiscoWorks VMS:
For additional information on Cisco PDM: