D-Link DI-701 Residential Gateway
- Hardware firewall
- Manages your
network for sharing of Cable/DSL connection
- Works with any
- Supports up to
We are experiencing an explosion in networking
components. Five years ago it would be the very unique individual who would
go through the expense of setting a LAN (Local Area Network) at home. Typically,
networks were designed with business and corporation users in mind. A couple
of years ago a new phenomenon entered into the minds of these designers: people
were not getting rid of their older computers but rather were simply adding
newer computers to their home. What was immediately apparent was that there
were the beginnings of a market for home based networking products. While
typically we think of hubs and NICs (Network Interface Card) when we think
of home networking products there is one indispensable product that every
home LAN user should consider owning: a hardware based firewall.
A firewall is a system that is designed to prevent
unauthorized access to private computers or networks. Not grasping the concept
yet? Imagine this. Every time you are online others are able to "see" you,
and therefore may attempt to probe your computer. This is especially true
for users of broadband connections like cable modems and DSL. The reason is
that broadband users have a fixed IP address, while dial-up users are assigned
an available IP whenever they log onto the internet. Another problem to consider
here is that these broadband users are always online - and therefore subject
to attack while not at home or away from their computer. In Windows based
networks the job of hacking into the network is considerably easy because
the LAN user must enable file and printer sharing on their computer for the
network to work, which opens the network to outside attack.
There are a proliferation of software based firewall
solutions. The obvious question here is why go to the expense of purchasing
a hardware based firewall when a user can easily use a software solution?
The short answer is that the user of a software firewall is still visible
on the internet, although probing of his/her ports may be harder due to the
software firewall. While a hardware firewall can block access to a user's
ports, it also completely hides the user's IP address, therefore making attack
of the user much harder. This is not to say that software firewalls don't
work, but at a fundamental level the hardware firewall offers more protection.
Consider this: do you have information on your computer that you would not
want others to access? What about the possibility of destroyed system files
from malicious attack? Would the downtime after an attack affect your productivity?
Would the theft of your data lead to lost revenue or distribution of highly
personal information? I'd highly recommend you consider a firewall that is
hardware based if any of these apply to you. A bonus of this setup is that
you can also run a software firewall to further protect yourself.