Hardware vs Software Firewalls

Discussion in 'other firewalls' started by DougRees, Apr 4, 2005.

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  1. DougRees

    DougRees Registered Member

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    I have recently been helping a friend with her computer. I installed ZoneAlarm on her system, and it seems to work fine.

    However, her ISP (SBC) keeps telling her that she should purchase a router from them (at an additional $150), because she needs the hardware firewall it contains to "really" protect her system. Since she has no additional need for the router, I told her that, in my opinion, a good software firewall (and I include ZoneAlarm as such) is more than sufficient.

    I would, however, like to hear from others. I am aware that hardware firewalls have certain advantages, but I am not quite sure that they are as essential as SBC keeps telling my friend.
     
  2. Diver

    Diver Registered Member

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    Tell her to hold on to her $150.
     
  3. For once I agree with Diver.....I.E... save her money
    It's just an old marketing ploy called the "UP BUMP"...I believe that they
    can be boughten for $50.00 or less....But many here believe in a hardware
    and software FW
     
  4. Detox

    Detox Retired Moderator

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    I like having both as well - although admittedly I wouldn't have tried out the router if I didn't have several machines to network. Anyway, I've got a $40 Linksys from Walmart myself... so even if the decision was made to buy a router I doubt such a costly one would be needed. I'm sure I could get more features, etc. for more money and I'm certainly no router expert, but this one hasn't failed me in any way yet.
     
  5. jimmytop

    jimmytop Registered Member

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    First of all, I will never go online without the protection of a good hardware firewall in the form of (for my purposes) a router between my PC and the internet. They're simple to install and configure, they don't crash like software does, and they allow for multiple computers to share internet access with no fuss and no muss (don't ask me what muss is). Need to shutdown your software firewall due to software incompatibility? Or to install something? No problem. You are protected by the router.

    In addition, in today's online world, your software firewall is constantly battling incoming probes and attacks. I remember when Code Red first appeared, I couldn't even defrag my drive because ZA was in overdrive, fighting it off, and writing the logs for it - defrag would no sooner start and then have to re-start because the drive changed. I didn't want to upgrade my computer just so my CPU could fight network attacks.

    That's when I got my first router. I watched the load on my CPU drop to nothing like it should have when it was idle, and zonealarm became simply outgoing protection (I use Sygate now BTW).

    Never again without a router. I have since installed a spare machine in the basement on wireless. Hence replacing that trusty first router with a wireless one - also easy to configure even with strong encryption.

    With that said, I would NEVER pay $150 for a router! :eek:
    Go to the store and get one on the cheap. A standard Linksys router includes 4 ethernet ports as well as wireless access (which can be disabled if not needed) and they are inexpensive.

    YMMV :rolleyes:
     
  6. I'm sorry....I didn't want to sound like Not get a Hardware firewall. But NOT to
    buy it from your ISP for that high price

    I did a quick search..I found them priced 17-43 dollars.
     
  7. Diver

    Diver Registered Member

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    Same here, $150 is way too much, but I don't see it as an emergency purchase at a lower price either.
     
  8. jimmytop

    jimmytop Registered Member

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    No, not an emergency, that's true. especially if the system is fully patched, etc.
     
  9. mercurie

    mercurie A Friendly Creature

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    I went for years just running Zone Alarm. Then I went to a network set up for two machines. Wow I love the Hardware Firewall. But like I said I went for years with a software one. Yes I agree, certainly no rush to get one especially for $150. :eek: There are better ways to spend that kind of $$$. :p
     
  10. INTOXSICKATED

    INTOXSICKATED Registered Member

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    exactly my thoughts. i have sbc yahoo! dsl and i like being logged in all the time with the router running.
     
  11. Kerodo

    Kerodo Registered Member

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    I too have run for years with just a software firewall, but I think one of these days I'm going to have to finally break down and get a router. :)
     
  12. Alec

    Alec Registered Member

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    As others have said, a hardware firewall/router isn't absolutely essential... especially for $150... but they are great to have for quite a few reasons:
    1. The protection is essentially always on. If you need to uninstall your software firewall for some reason, or if you need to re-install the OS itself, you would be unprotected for some period of time without a hardware firewall. I've heard of many people attempting to re-install their OS who get infected with malware within the few minutes prior to them being able to re-download and install a software firewall.

    2. Most current day routers automate functions like PPPoE, DHCP, NAT, etc. and therefore the DSL connection appears as "always on" and just part of a fixed-LAN from the perspective of your PC. This is far more convenient than having to worry about things like PPPoE drivers on your PC.

    3. A firewall/router lets you share your DSL connection in the event that you ever do need more than one PC connected to the internet or if you want to connect wirelessly, etc.

    4. There is a sort "belts-and-suspenders" reassurance and peace-of-mind to running both a hardware firewall and a host-based firewall. It's nice to see that the logs on your software firewall drop down to next to nothing when behind a hardware firewall/router. And it's nice to know when a program attempts an outbound connection and your software firewall alerts you to that fact.
     
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