In networking, a hardware firewall is a physical device that is used to enforce a network’s perimeter barrier.
In order to undertake inspection of both inbound and outgoing network traffic and enforce access restrictions and other security policies, it is necessary for all network lines crossing this border to transit through this firewall.
There are many various networking and security features that can be found in these firewalls, which incorporate both the hardware and software characteristics essential to enforce a network border.
These include URL filtering, an intrusion prevention system (IPS), and even Wi-Fi compatibility.
What is a Hardware Firewall and how does it work?
A Hardware Firewall is a physical device, similar to a server, that filters the traffic that is directed to a computer or other electronic device.
Instead of connecting the network cable to the server, it is linked to the firewall, which places the firewall between the uplink and the PC, preventing the network cable from being damaged.
These devices, like a standard computer with a processor, memory, and sophisticated software, also employ powerful networking components (both hardware and software), which force all traffic traversing that connection to be inspected by configurable rulesets, which grant or deny access based on the results of the inspection.
Everyone who has ever used a computer can most likely tell you a tale about being blocked by a firewall at some point in their computing career.
As responsible Internet users, we come with firewalls on a regular basis, most of the time in the form of software firewalls operating on our personal laptops or workstations.
Surprisingly, their usefulness is rather limited.
As traffic enters and exits the computer, they examine it for violations of certain simple rules and either allow or refuse the traffic based on the results of the inspection.
Here are a few popular examples of software firewalls that you may be acquainted with:
- windows firewall \sUFW
- IPTables \sFirewallD
- A Hardware Firewall is similar to a Software Firewall, except that it is located outside of the server.
Do you require assistance in protecting your whole infrastructure?
Download the Security Infrastructure Checklist for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises.
What Is the Process of Using Hardware Firewalls?
Depending on your present configuration, the hardware firewall is configured in a different way.
The firewall is located outside of your server’s perimeter and is directly connected to your uplink.
It is then necessary to connect the Firewall to your server if this is a fresh configuration.
If this is a fresh arrangement for a production server, a maintenance window would be planned to take care of the physical connection between the two computers.
Once a connection to the server has been established, all communication to and from the server is forced to travel via the firewall, resulting in the traffic being deemed valid.
This gives you the ability to exercise fine-grained control over the sort of traffic that you get, which is quite beneficial.
Firewalls: Software versus Hardware
Hardware firewalls aren’t the only type of firewall that can be installed.
An enterprise may also opt to implement a software-based firewall to protect its network.
The most important difference between a hardware firewall and a software firewall is that a hardware firewall runs on its own physical device, whereas a software firewall is installed on a different computer system.
Most operating systems, such as Windows and macOS, have a software firewall, which is an example of this type of security measure.
These operating system firewalls are included with the operating system and can be used on any device that is compatible with the operating system.
These operating system firewalls, on the other hand, are not the only alternatives available for software firewalls.
Software firewalls, like hardware firewalls, are also available as stand-alone solutions in the marketplace.
These firewalls can be purchased and installed by an organization in areas where a hardware firewall may not be a feasible choice, such as cloud computing settings, for example.
The Most Important Advantages of Hardware Firewalls
The following advantages of using hardware firewalls over software firewalls are provided by hardware firewalls installed as physical appliances:
A security that is consistent across machines: Software firewalls installed on multiple computers can all be set in a variety of ways.
Software firewalls may be deactivated or have variable levels of security if an organization is unable to create and enforce a uniform security configuration across the company.
When compared to software firewalls, a hardware firewall provides constant security for all devices covered by it.
Standalone protection is most usually provided by a software firewall that is installed on the protected machine.
Therefore, it consumes resources that could be allocated to other uses.
Because a hardware firewall runs on its own hardware, changes in traffic volume or security requirements have no influence on the performance of the computers protected by the hardware firewall.
The management of a software firewall is simplified since it does not require each computer to be separately set up, monitored, and updated in order to provide effective protection against cyber threats.
The other type of firewall is a hardware firewall, which is a single appliance that protects the whole network from intrusion.
The firewall may be configured to automatically apply any updates or configuration changes that are necessary to all devices covered by the firewall.
The use of hardware firewalls improves security since they run on their own dedicated hardware rather than relying on resources from the machine on which they are placed.
This can assist in protecting it from attacks that are designed to exploit the underlying operating system or the apps that are running alongside it.
Having centralized network visibility is important because running independent software firewalls on each device within an organization’s network means the security team either lacks complete network visibility or must expend additional effort to aggregate and assimilate information from all of the various devices.
Centralized visibility is important because it allows the security team to see what is happening across the entire network.
A hardware firewall consolidates all network monitoring and reporting into a single piece of software or hardware.
Hardware Firewalls Provide a Number of Important Advantages
1. Traffic Regulations
The power to choose whether traffic should and should not be routed via your server
2. Default Regulations
A collection of default rules that may be applied to any traffic that is completely customizable.
3. Obtaining Access to Ports
The ability to customize rules with choices such as permitting all traffic to your website or ensuring only you and your developer have access to SSH ports or RDP.
4. Managed is the same as having control on the fly
Access to a fully staffed networking team for on-the-fly configuration, troubleshooting, and control setting adjustments.
Additional Server Resources (Optional)
A way to gain access to additional server resources that would otherwise be unavailable.
The Hardware Firewall allows you to entirely stop the software firewalls on your server, allowing you to free up important memory and processor resources for the tasks and services that your company requires to be successful.
What Else do hardware firewalls can do?
Yes, without a doubt! Another significant advantage, in addition to the powerful inspection features we have previously described, is the ability to establish a virtual private network (VPN).
This link, which is also a fully managed service, adds a whole new level of protection, access, and encryption to your existing protected cluster, while also increasing its overall performance.
With a managed VPN connection, you may have the protection and control you need to give access to those who require secure access from any location where there is a reliable Internet connection, regardless of their location.
Are you a home-based employee?
It’s not an issue! Are you going on a trip? Easy! You can get online from any location that has access to the Internet.
It’s the adaptability you require to be flexible in a constantly changing environment.
Visit our Knowledge Base to learn more about what a VPN (or a VPN tunnel) is and how it works.
What if I have more than one server on which to host my website?
It’s not an issue. In addition, Liquid Web is a proud Cisco retailer, carrying numerous different models of its hardware firewall devices.
These devices are also capable of handling traffic from a large number of different servers.
Aside from that, should you outgrow one of our models at some time, we can work with you to arrange an update to the hardware, allowing you to expand your security to match the growth of your organization.
Aside from that, we have a full-time crew of dedicated networking specialists that are available 24/7/365 to monitor and maintain your fully managed networking infrastructure without any problems.
This service comprises the setup, configuration, and even upkeep in the case of potential exploits that are made public by the security community.
Having the knowledge that our teams are only an email or phone call away provides you with peace of mind and valuable time you can use to focus on the things that are really important to you.
Hardware Firewalls for Home and Small Business Networks: Our Top 3 Best Options (2021)
Firewalls are meant to monitor both incoming and outgoing traffic, therefore assisting in the security of your local network.
While most PCs are protected by software firewalls, some devices may not have their own security measures in place.
In a normal home network, video doorbells, baby monitors, and smart home gadgets are only as safe as the basic firewall included in the Wi-Fi router that is linked to the Internet service provider (ISP).
With a hardware firewall, you can add an additional layer of protection to your home or SOHO network, allowing you to better secure all of your devices.
A dedicated hardware firewall is often connected to your router, and your devices are connected to the firewall, decreasing the danger of hacking and harmful cyber assaults on your computer system.
Some hardware firewalls even provide you with the ability to monitor your child’s Internet activity and receive SMS warnings when possible cyber dangers are identified.
Consider installing one of the ten hardware firewalls listed below, which are suited for home and small business networks and will help to enhance the overall security of your network.
According to their feature set, how effective they are, the reliability of the manufacturer, and other factors, I have carefully picked the following devices.
1. Unifi Security Gateway from Ubiquiti Networks (USG)
With the Ubiquiti Unifi Security Gateway, you get a powerful hardware firewall and router that supports Gigabit Ethernet speeds and much more sophisticated features and functions. While the gadget is intended for use in companies, it is also inexpensive enough to be used at home as a backup device.
Located between the Internet and a local WiFi network, the device is responsible for routing all traffic before it even reaches the router.
All devices connected to the network are then monitored and secured by the comprehensive network management and security capabilities, which are included with the network.
A Graphical User Interface (GUI) called the Unifi Controller, which is similar to those used by other hardware firewalls to enable remote monitoring and management, is used to manage the Unifi.
Users may simply modify firewall settings, configure VLANs, allow Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) to determine which apps are accessing the Internet, activate Quality of Service (QoS) features, Intrusion Detection (IPS/IDS), and other security features, among other things.
The management functions are included in the Unifi Controller Software, which also allows for the control of other Ubiquity UniFi products such as WiFi access points, UniFi switches, and other similar devices.
USG firewall is a fantastic choice if you have other UniFi devices in your network or if you are going to purchase a UniFi WiFi Access Point (HINT: it is one of the best WiFi APs on the market!!) (for both home and small business networks).
- Preventing traffic from reaching a specific local network is a capability (using DPI).
- Remote administration using a web-based interface or a mobile application (using the UniFi Controller)
- The solution that is quite inexpensive
- One gigabit per second of bandwidth (or more) (Excellent for Gigabit Internet Service Provider speeds)
- Deep Packet Inspection and Quality of Service (QoS) Capabilities
- Performance and capabilities of a powerful firewall
- IDS/IPS (Intrusion Detection and Prevention System) is supported.
- Design that is both durable and from a provider that is highly trusted
- Some of the functions may be overkill for the average home user.
2. Mikrotik hEX RB750Gr3 (hEX RB750Gr3)
In terms of appearance, this gadget appears to be a standard wired SOHO router with a few features and restricted capabilities.
This Mikrotik device is much more than a simple network device.
Although it is offered at a low price, the Mikrotik hEX RB750Gr3 is equipped with certain strong functions that are often found only in high-end devices.
Although it can easily be utilized in commercial contexts (hospitality, office, school, retail outlets, and so on), it is also ideal for use in a home network due to its inexpensive cost, small form, and versatility.
A stateful firewall, application identification and protection at the Layer-7 level, firewall filtering rules, and other features are supported by RouterOS, which runs on this router and allows for sophisticated routing setups (NAT, port forwarding, VPN, bridging, and so on).
It is equipped with 4xGigabit LAN connections and 1xGigabit Internet (WAN) port for high-speed data transmission.
Despite the fact that the ports are capable of Gigabit speeds, the entire device has a maximum speed of 470 Mbps. As a result, if you have an Internet connection with rates of up to 500 Mbps, it is excellent.
- For the price, it has robust firewall and routing capabilities that are comparable to those found in high-end devices.
- For basic home and office network use, it is simple to set up.
- RouterOS is used, which is a free and extremely powerful router/firewall operating system that can be downloaded from the internet.
- It is possible to set nearly every feature you can think of with this device if you are a more skilled user.
- Software upgrades are provided for free and on a regular basis.
- Firewall characteristics that are quite effective.
- Because of this, the gadget is not capable of supporting full Gigabit Internet connections (max 470 Mbps)
- If you wish to adjust complex options, the learning curve is rather high.
3. Bitdefender Box 2
It is a security appliance that protects your computer from viruses, spyware, and other malware.
In order to make securing your home network and Internet of Things (IoT) devices as simple as possible, Bitdefender has created the Bitdefender Box 2.
Following a successful connection to the router, the gadget immediately begins monitoring and improving your network to provide the highest level of security possible.
The device’s dual-core CPU operates at 1.2 GHz and can support data transfer rates of up to one gigabit per second.
It also works with the most recent smart home controllers, such as Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, among others.
This is also a WiFi router that has Dual-Band (2.4GHz and 5GHz) AC1900 speed wireless radio, which protects both wired and wireless devices in the home at the same time.
Typical monitoring and security capabilities, as well as software and cloud-based protection, are all included in the hardware firewall package.
By using the antivirus program Bitdefender Total Protection, you may make use of additional security features. You will receive a free one-year membership, with the option to renew for an additional year following the first (for protection of unlimited home devices).
The Box must be linked to your current router, which must be set either as an Access Point (AP Mode) or as a Bridge Mode, depending on your needs.
It is necessary to have “Bitdefender Total Security” installed on your computers and mobile devices in order to make use of the improved and comprehensive parental control capabilities offered by Bitdefender.
This is beneficial since you will receive excellent Antivirus protection as a result.
- Antivirus and anti-malware provider BitDefender has a long track record of providing excellent protection against malware.
- Has the capability of working with home automation devices
- Supports internet rates of one gigabit per second.
- Remote management is available using a mobile application.
- End-point devices are equipped with advanced parental and monitoring capabilities that are applied directly to them (smartphones etc).
- To make use of the enhanced security features, you must subscribe.
- The device does not function with mesh wireless networks or WiFi range extenders.
Our Final Thoughts
Firewalls are the first line of defense in the fight to keep your network safe and secure.
They keep an eye on all incoming and outgoing traffic in order to assist prevent assaults on your systems from taking place.
Despite the fact that software firewalls might be beneficial in some situations, they generally only protect the device on which they are installed.
Most small organizations will benefit from the deployment of a hardware firewall that can protect every device on the network, as opposed to software firewalls.
However, with so many alternatives available, it can be difficult to determine which is the best fit for your company.
Frequently Ask Questions
Is it possible to use a firewall without getting hacked?
Hardware firewalls have the following disadvantages:
Cost. Generally speaking, a dedicated hardware firewall will be more expensive than a software firewall.
Installing and upgrading the software is time-consuming.
It takes up physical space and necessitates the use of wire.
Steps to Configure a Firewall in 5 Simple Steps
Step 1: Make sure your firewall is secure.
Step 2: Create a firewall configuration using zones and IP addresses.
Step 3: Constructing access control lists is the third step.
Step 4: Configure your additional firewall services, as well as your logging configuration.
Step 5: Verify that your firewall setting is correct.
Management of the firewall.
Is it necessary to install a hardware firewall?
Absolutely. For the vast majority of small and medium-sized enterprises, it is an essential first line of protection against potentially hazardous network traffic.
When compared to a software firewall, it offers more comprehensive security, is simpler to deploy, and is available around the clock.