I'd like to take advantage of this to ask you few questions about firewalls. I understand what the aim of the firewall is but what is not clear to me is whether it affects the speed of the connection, specially on 56k modem Regards to everyone,
The short answer is yes it could, but hardly so that you would notice, even on a dial-up connection.
Network data (i.e. from the Web) travels in small packets of data. The simplest analogy is that the firewall acts as the doorman (or bouncer), and the packets are like the guests trying to get into your nightclub.
The doorman inspects each guest, and decides whether they should come in or not. This takes up a small amount of processing time, and can delay the queue of guests waiting to enter.
The reality is that with modern processor speeds and effective algorithms used by software firewalls, they can inspect each packet as fast as it arrives.
An older hardware firewall can introduce significant (or at least noticeable) delays to a broadband connection, as it is largely reliant on the processor and firmware within the firewall.