reply to cmaenginsb1
Re: sonicwall tz190 is still the way to go Actually, if he is referring to Cisco PIX, it is not "linux" based. You may be confused with Cisco's consumer/SOHO grade products from Linksys or it is a recent development.
However, the general point you were trying to make regarding PFSense is valid--both PIX and Sonicwall are software-based.
The functionality is derived from a general purpose CPU and not specialized hardware that provides application-specific functionality which is provided by an ASIC, DSP, etc.
However, even supposedly "hardware" solutions require robust firmware ("software") to exploit their potential.