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Last week we covered the topic on software firewalls, this week we will continue on with hardware firewalls.

Traditional routers used at home and in corporate environments have some level of security built in to them. For home users the basic firewall built into the router is usually plenty. However, third party firewall devices can be purchased, they will add complexity to the network, but they also add security.

The difference between a third party firewall and the firewall already in a router is the processing power. As data comes through the Internet, the firewall scans each transmission, looking for malicious items and to see if the data has been maliciously altered or forged.

The larger the amount of Internet activity to an organization, the harder it is for a firewall to scan through each transmission. For a company with 100 users, a traditional router with a built-in firewall would not be enough. There would be a noticeable bottleneck.

Most firewalls are very customizable and allow the network administrators to block and allow certain computers, websites, and even specific Internet traffic.

Hardware firewalls also add possibilities to allow VPN connectivity. A VPN is a virtual private network, which typically remote users use to access work data from a remote location. VPN’s are very popular amongst remote workers and are sometimes used for security purposes.

A hardware firewall can be quite expensive, easily a couple hundred of dollars and up. The difference in price are the features supplied by the firewall, the hardware specifications, as well as the amount of support the user would get, from the manufacturer.

Some firewall brands are Cisco, SonicWALL, WatchGuard and NetGear.


Should you want more information on hardware-based firewalls, feel free to contact Group 4 Networks.