RWTH Secures Infrastructure and Data with McAfee Next Generation Firewall

RWTH Aachen is the technical university of the Rhineland-Westphalian city of Aachen in northwest Germany. Widely recognized as one of Europe’s most distinguished technological institutions, the university serves 40,000 students across nine faculties. Recently, RWTH Aachen was selected for a second time as a University of Excellence, retaining its status as one of Germany’s elite universities.

Trigger: Stringent Network Security Requirements
Like other research-oriented institutions, universities are an attractive target for cyberattacks, and, as a result, their criteria and demands for security are stringent. The Center for Computing and Communication of RWTH Aachen University had several important criteria for network security, including high performance and availability, heterogeneous infrastructure and system environments, seamless connections to several research networks, and the ability to support variable user roles, permissions, and access rights. The university needed a security solution that could manage a data load of more than 20 Gbps, while offering protection from an increasing number of targeted attacks at end-user devices.

Solution: Next-Generation Firewall Clusters of Malware Protection
At the end of 2013, the university chose to renew its next-generation firewall software licenses based on the solution’s return on investment and its ability to scale, which were superior to competing products.

“In our demanding environment, there are only few systems on the market that are capable of meeting our criteria,” says Andreas Schreiber, Chief Business Development Officer at the Center for Computing and Communication. “After a lengthy evaluation of available solutions, we were convinced that McAfee® Next Generation Firewall could provide both optimal protection and high availability—and with a price-performance ratio suitable for a public institution.”

"In our demanding environment, there are only a few systems on the market that are capable of meeting our criteria. McAfee Next Generation Firewall guarantees both optimal protection and high availability—and with a priceperformance ratio suitable for a public institution."

Andreas Schreiber
Chief Business Development Officer

McAfee Next Generation Firewall automatically distributes RWTH’s incoming and outgoing network traffic among seven interlinked firewall clusters to ensure top network performance and availability. Even under high traffic loads, every five hundredth data packet inspected by the firewall is screened out as malware. The clustering strategy has many other advantages, including the ability to keep firewall protection up and running even while IT personnel perform maintenance and optimization of the network infrastructure. For software updates and other maintenance, individual firewalls can be temporarily disconnected from the cluster while remaining systems take over control of data traffic. Thus, the university no longer needs to impose maintenance windows that limit access to services and data. In addition, major updates to the firewalls, which are due about once per quarter, can be carried out without the need for external support.

Results: Secured for the Future
“With McAfee Next Generation Firewall, RWTH is well equipped for the future,” says Schreiber. “The global security situation and our requirements will undoubtedly become even more complex in the future. Thus, a network security infrastructure that is capable of keeping up with these growing requirements is absolutely crucial for us.”

RWTH Aachen

Customer profile

Technical university with nine faculties throughout Aachen, northwest Germany.


Higher education

IT environment

7,500 employees and 40,000 students who rely on secure access to applications and data.

Business triggers

Protect network from malware attacks while ensuring high performance and availability.

McAfee solutions

  • McAfee Next Generation Firewall


  • Robust multitenancy for rapid troubleshooting and support.
  • Ability to perform maintenance and operation while system is running.
  • Efficient and user-friendly administration.