Routers & Firewalls

  Clang 17:12 20 Jun 2003

I will probably be moving over to a router connected to a home network and a cable modem. Most routers seem to have firewall integrated into their systems. Once it is up and running can I then dispense with the Norton firewalls I currently run on each computer or should they still be used? Any advice would be gratefully received, as I am new to the implication of router firewalls.

  Bebee 17:32 20 Jun 2003

There a people who know more about it than me, but I don't think it is wise to dispense with the firewall. My understanding is that the integrated NATS protection has its limits and that a good software firewall offers more comprehensive security. I think it only blocks some incoming traffic, whereas Norton et al will also control what your computer sends out. This covers you for spyware etc. being picked up.

I run a similar setup and it's no problem to have Norton running. I have PCcillin on a laptop that does seem to slow the startup but runs well after that.

  jazzypop 19:03 20 Jun 2003

In a nutshell, a hardware firewall, such as those found in most routers, work at the IP address level ('does this packet of data have permission to pass through the firewall?' is determined by the sender's IP address, or whether it is in reply to a request for information from your PC).

Software firewalls such as Norton and others look to see whether a program has permission to access the other side of the firewall.

Therefore, keep both for the most complete protection.

The subject is (obviously) more complex than stated above, but as a working definition it should suffice.

Be aware that there are several different types of firewall protection offered by routers. They all offer simple NAT protection - if you can, get one that offers 'stateful packet inspection' for greater protection.

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