Do I really need a router?

Discussion in 'other firewalls' started by Generix, Jul 13, 2003.

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  1. Generix

    Generix Registered Member

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    After getting a taste of having a router and feeling secure from Earthlink (I had to disable the crippled router that they sent me in order to allow DCC sends), I would like get some expert advice on if a router is worth spending money on. I have a DSL connection with a dynamic IP, one almost outdated computer (I plan to add another within 6 months), no network of any kind, ZoneAlarm Pro 4, and windows 2000. How important is it that I get a router? I know from my reading that they perform better then software firewalls. Thanks in advance for any advice on this subject :)
     
  2. LowWaterMark

    LowWaterMark Administrator

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    Well, it all depends on what you need.

    When you add the second computer, a multi-port router is one of the best ways to provide shared network access to the two systems you'll have at that point. Your DSL account probably only provides a single public IP address, which is standard to most basic ISP accounts, so you'll need something in place to allow both PCs to connect to the Internet. A router is an easy and the most common way to accomplish this. The router will get the public IP address and you'll use private addresses on the two PCs.

    Even a basic NAT router protects the system or systems on your LAN from most unsolicited inbound network connections. The packets related to these unrequested connection attempts will never hit your LAN system(s) because your router will drop them. Even if you'll always have just one PC, a router will provide quite a bit of low cost protection.

    If it's just a matter of getting DCC sends working, I'm sure that can be resolved. Usually all connection problems are simply a matter of proper configuration. Now, you said they sent you a 'crippled router' - I assume you mean a pretty poor or weak router. In that case, you could always get a better router, which you'll need in order to make a good LAN for when you get your second PC.

    I don't use a router myself - I just never got around to it - but I have nothing against them. If I had a good router, I'd still use my ZAP 4.0, but I'd probably make some subtle configuration changes in it that would better support a LAN environment.
     
  3. Generix

    Generix Registered Member

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    This "crippled" router is indeed crippled by request of Earthlink. They sent me a DSL modem/router combo with absolutely NO router options available. I have already confirmed this with them. There is no work around to keep the router and still have DCC sending capability. In order to do that, I have to put the router into bridge mode and run PPPoE software.
     
  4. meneer

    meneer Registered Member

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    Please keep in mind that a router is not a firewall. The reason for better performance is that all that it does is routing communications from one point to another if you instruct it to.
    Routing is just one of of the security solutions you have to take.
    But the performance issue is no big deal on any home dsl connection. Software fw's outperform any dsl bandwidth. No need to worry.

    Most dsl routers come with some form of an embedded firewall. That will protect from inbound attacks.

    I'm quite pleased with my linux based router/firewall/webserver/mailserver in a box (I'm running e-smith (there's really no need to learn linux!) The dsl connects to this linux box and that connects to a switch, from wich all other machines connect to the net.

    And yes, the clients are protected by Outpost firewall.
     
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