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Router/Firewall Question

by tonyny77 / May 24, 2006 5:58 AM PDT


I'm no networking genius. In fact, I only recently learned that there are routers with built-in firewalls. This makes me want to ask whether these hardware-based firewalls are generally as good as Zone Alarm Pro, let's say.

I've been using Zone Alarm on my PC, but I've been wondering a few things about it:
? Might it be slowing down my system?
? Would a router/firewall combo possibly be better?
? If I add additional systems to my home set-up, can they all benefit from the router-based firewall instead of running a firewall on each system?
? Generally speaking, is there anything substantially inadequate about router-based firewalls I should know about that might affect my interest in this possible solution?

In case it's relevant, I'm running the latest version of Zone Alarm Pro on a Dell 2.5 GHz desktop with 768 Mbytes of RAM running XP Pro w/SP2 and all patches.

By the way, my system runs fine, but I've wondered whether Zone Alarm is slowing me down and whether you folks feel the router-based firewalls are as good or better than Zone Alarm.

Thanks, folks, and have a good one.


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I run both. . .
by Coryphaeus / May 24, 2006 6:19 AM PDT

My D-link router with 4 PCs and ZA free on all PCs.

Pro can take up a lot of resources.

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I'll second the both...
by steve749 / May 24, 2006 7:32 AM PDT

ZoneAlarm will take some resources on your PC. Is this a noticeable effect? Probably not but that's, JMO.

A router/firewall combo can be better but it is important to remember to configure it properly.

Yes, additional systems would benefit from the router-based firewall. At the same time, it may still be worth having a firewall on each PC.

The only cavaet I would note with a router-based firewall is that if you set it up fairly tightly, you may be surprised at how many holes it'll have to allow for various programs to run, e.g. IMs and other software can use special ports that you'd have to open if your firewall configuration is really tight while others can have them be pretty loose.

Last but not least, a router-based firewall may not have all the logging features that a software firewall has in terms of logging intrusions so that you can see who was pinging you or whatever it was that hit your router.


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