Bits'n'Bytes


Computer Dave's Repairs

Tip 15

What's the difference between a router and a firewall? Well, all routers are firewalls, but firewalls are not routers. There are two types of firewalls hardware and software. An example of a hardware firewall is a router. A router is given an Internet IP address from your provider. This is the public address that anyone on the internet can see. Your router then gives your computers separate, private IP addresses for use within your home or business. This way, your computers at home can talk to each other without having to go through the Internet. It also means that people scanning the Internet for open ports will encounter only your router. Since your router shouldn't contain any pictures or music or banking stuff , they aren't getting much information.

A software firewall, like the Windows Firewall, blocks traffic at the computer level, instead of at the network level. The benefit here is if one of your computers does become infected by a virus or worm, the software firewall makes it hard for the virus to propagate within your home or business network.

Both types of firewalls have pluses and minuses. Leaving your Windows firewall on, although not necessary if you have a router, isn't a bad idea, as it adds a layer of protection without slowing down your computer very much.

Thanks for reading!

Until next week, I'm Computer Dave

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