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Confused on DSL Router Firewall? - what to buy?

Posted on 2003-11-26
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Last Modified: 2010-04-17
I have a small network with several servers.  I have a single DSL connection with a Linksys DSL Router BEFSR41 which shares the DSL connection with everyone (20) on my network.  Not very expensive and works fine.  This DSL router 192.168.0.1. is the gateway for the network.

I am not real sure on this, I only know what works, but I understand that these Routers are not real firewalls.  The only feature I currently use on the router is port forwarding.  Example map port 7080 to port 7080 but to computer 192.168.0.7 my webserver.  I can only map ten ports to ports on other computers which I am using for SMTP, FTP, VNC, OWA etc.

Can you recommend an inexpensive firewall, (under $100?) that would let me have some more control.   Or should I abandon the DSL router and run everything through Windows 2000 server?

Kind of scary thought since the hardware gateway works pretty well... TIA-TOMG

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Question by:Tgilbert
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lrmoore earned 100 total points
ID: 9825670
What really scares me is that you would even THINK of using Windows server as your network protection/firewall. IMHO no firewall will ever be secure if it rides on top of buggy/patch ridden Windows.

If your budget is only $100, stay with what you have. Even your Linksys provides SPI (Stateful Packet Inspection), and can enforce AntiVirus if you want.

If you can possibly afford it, look closely at the Cisco PIX 501. It was designed ground-up to be a firewall for small offices and has all the features of it's big brother enterprise PIX's.
You can setup and use VPN to access internal servers very easily. This will reduce your dependence on port-forwarding.

Here are some good references for other products:

Hardware appliance firewalls:
Ciso PIX (Hands-down my favorite)
http://www.cisco.com/go/pix
Netscreen:
http://www.netscreen.com/products/firewall/index.jsp
Watchguard:
http://guide.gowatchguard.com/?keyword=firewallappliance
Sonicwall:
http://www.sonicwall.com/
Symantec:
http://enterprisesecurity.symantec.com/products/products.cfm?ProductID=63

Small office/home office - SOHO
http://www.linksys.com/products/product.asp?grid=23&prid=433
http://www.dlink.com.au/products/routers/dfl500/

You can always go with software host-based firewalls on top of your existing Linksys

Free/low cost software firewalls
Zone Alarm:
http://www.zonelabs.com
Kerio is good:
http://www.kerio.com/us/kpf_home.html
Panda Software has an Antivirus with built in firewall:
http://www.pandasoftware.com/
BlackIce Defender
http://blackice.iss.net/product_pc_protection.php
Tiny Personal Firewall:
http://www.tinysoftware.com/home/tiny2?la=EN


And, of course, your Linux firewalls:
http://www.chicagotribune.com/technology/chi-020124linux.story?coll=chi%2Dtechnology%2Dhed
FloppyFW -- http://www.zelow.no/floppyfw
Linux Router Project -- http://www.linuxrouter.org
FirePlug -- http://edge.fireplug.net
Coyote Linux -- http://www.coyotelinux.com


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Expert Comment

by:tbeasley123
ID: 9827497
I can recommend the Watchguard SOHO as a good option for you.  I wouldn't recommend going with a software based firewall.  Also, be careful with the BEF SR41.  I have worked with two of these both of which started having intermittent problems after about 2 years.  The Watchguard units also have some nice VPN options that you may be able to use.
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