The 4 Different Types of Firewalls: Their Advantages and Disadvantages

When you hear the word firewall, you may not believe that there is only one type, but it is not. There are different types of firewalls, and luckily for you, this is what we intend to describe in this article. You see, we will describe each type of firewall found in the Windows operating system, but not only that, but we will also explain their major differences.

Different types of Firewalls

What is a Firewall?

To be clear, a firewall is a network security tool designed to monitor incoming and outgoing network traffic. Additionally, a firewall can enable and disable data packets based on defined security rules.

Different types of firewalls

We have included the following types of fire extinguishers available for Windows operating system with advantages and disadvantages:

  • Stateful Inspection Firewall
  • Stateless Firewall or Packet-filtering Firewall
  • Application-Level Gateway Firewall
  • Next Generation Firewall

Stateful Inspection Firewall

Not everyone has heard of the official firewall, but it is a reality. It is a type of firewall that keeps track of and monitors the status of any active network connection. It can also analyze incoming traffic and assess potential data risks.

From what we have collected, this type of firewall is available in Layer 3 and Layer 4 of the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model.

Stateful Inspection Firewall

One of the functions that comes with a Stateful firewall is its ability to prevent malicious traffic from reaching or exiting a private network. In addition, it can monitor the entire network connection status and detect attempts to access an unauthorized network.

Advantages of Stateful Firewalls :

  • Ability to prevent attacks
  • Extensive logging capacity
  • It will not open the width of the holes to allow traffic Communication status.

Disadvantage of the Stateful Firewalls :

  • It can be difficult to stop
  • Cannot avoid application-level attacks
  • Some protocols do not have country information
  • Maintaining a provincial table requires additional overhead

Stateless Firewall or Packet-filtering Firewall

A Stateless firewall is also known as a Packet-filtering Firewall. What we have here is the oldest and most basic type of firewall currently available. Compared to others, this type of firewall works in line with the network cycle. It should be noted that firewalls like these are not router packs, but instead, will compare each received packet with a set of pre-defined rules.

Because it provides only basic protection, people can set it up to protect themselves from known threats, but it will not do good with unknown threats.

Advantages of Packet-filtering Firewall :

  • It does not cost much to maintain it
  • Processing of packages is done very quickly
  • Filtering the total network traffic can be done with one device

Disadvantages Packet-filtering Firewall :

  • In some cases, it may be difficult to repair and difficult to manage
  • Cutting power is limited here
  • When it comes to app crashes, it can’t be avoided
  • It does not support user verification
  • It cannot fully protect against all TCP / IP protocol attacks

Application-Level Gateway Firewall

An application-level firewall, or (ALG) for short, is a security proxy that provides network security. It is designed to filter the incoming node traffic to specific specifications, that is, the only data filtered here from the network transfer application.

For network applications that can work with ALG, some of which are File Transfer Protocol (FTP), Telnet, Real-Time Streaming Protocol (RTSP), and BitTorrent.

Application-Level Gateway Firewall

We must point out that ALG brings one of the highest levels of secure network communication. To illustrate this further, let us look at a simple example of how things work.

When a client moves and requests access to a network server through certain devices, the client will first connect to the hosting server, and from there, that proxy server will establish a connection with the main server.

Advantages of Application-Level Gateway Firewalls :

  • Traffic entry was made easier
  • Network performance is much better
  • It is difficult to enable direct communication from outside a large network
  • Supports temporary storage of content

Disadvantages of Application-Level Gateway Firewalls :

  • Impact output power
  • Influential apps

The Next Generation Firewall

The next generation firewall (NGFW). From what we have collected, this is a kind of deep-seated security package that can be expanded beyond port / protocol testing. Not only that, but it goes beyond blocking to submit an application level test, which comes to Layer 7.

As you can tell, this is a very advanced version of the standard fire protection system, but it offers the same benefits all around. However, unlike conventional security systems, NGFW uses both flexible and static packet filtering and VPN support in an effort to protect all incoming communication between network, internet, and security.

Advantages of next generation firewalls :

  • It is much safer than the others here
  • Login has more details
  • Supports user authentication
  • For app-level testing, this is supported up to Layer 7 of the OSI model

Disadvantages Next-Generation Firewalls :

  • It will use more system resources compared to others
  • The total cost is very expensive
  • To limit negatives and false positives, further analysis is required.

Do firewalls stop viruses?

The firewall is not capable of protecting your computer system from viruses and malware. As mentioned above, the firewall is built to limit outside access to your network, thus making it harder for attackers to bypass it to gain access. At the end of the day, you will still need an antivirus program to protect your system from viruses and malware.

FAQ About Types of Firewalls

What are the main types of firewalls?

There are several types of firewalls, including:
Packet Filtering Firewall: This type examines individual packets of data and filters them based on predefined rules, such as IP addresses and port numbers.
Stateful Inspection Firewall: Stateful firewalls keep track of the state of active connections and make decisions based on the context of the traffic, allowing or denying packets accordingly.
Proxy Firewall: Proxy servers act as intermediaries between clients and servers. They forward requests on behalf of clients and can provide additional security by hiding internal network details.
Application Layer Firewall (Proxy Firewall): This type operates at the application layer of the OSI model, allowing more granular control over specific applications and services.
Next-Generation Firewall (NGFW): NGFWs combine traditional firewall features with advanced security capabilities, such as intrusion detection and prevention, deep packet inspection, and application-level filtering.
Hardware Firewall: These are physical devices designed to protect an entire network. They are often found in routers or dedicated firewall appliances.
Software Firewall: Software firewalls are installed on individual devices, like computers or servers, and provide protection at the software level.

How do packet filtering firewalls work?

Packet filtering firewalls inspect individual packets of data and compare them to a set of predefined rules. These rules typically include source and destination IP addresses, port numbers, and protocols. If a packet matches an allowed rule, it is allowed to pass through the firewall; otherwise, it is blocked.

What is the advantage of stateful inspection firewalls over packet filtering firewalls?

Stateful inspection firewalls maintain a state table of active connections, allowing them to make more informed decisions about allowing or blocking traffic. This results in better security, as stateful firewalls can recognize legitimate responses to outgoing requests and permit them.

How do proxy firewalls enhance security?

Proxy firewalls act as intermediaries between clients and servers, making it challenging for attackers to directly access internal resources. They can also cache content, providing additional performance benefits and filtering capabilities at the application layer.

What is the role of next-generation firewalls (NGFWs)?

NGFWs offer advanced security features beyond traditional firewalls, such as intrusion detection and prevention, content filtering, and application-level control. They are designed to combat modern threats and provide more comprehensive network protection.

Are hardware or software firewalls better for personal use?

Both hardware and software firewalls have their advantages. For personal use, a software firewall installed on your computer or a router with built-in firewall capabilities can provide adequate protection. The choice depends on your specific needs and preferences.

How can I configure a firewall to suit my network’s security needs?

Firewall configuration depends on your network’s requirements. Consult the firewall’s documentation and consider working with a network security professional to create a customized rule set that aligns with your security goals.

Can firewalls protect against all types of cyber threats?

While firewalls are a crucial component of network security, they cannot protect against all types of cyber threats on their own. They should be part of a comprehensive security strategy that includes other measures like antivirus software, regular updates, and user education.

Are there open-source firewall solutions available?

Yes, there are open-source firewall solutions like pfSense, IPFire, and iptables (Linux-based). These can be cost-effective options for individuals and small businesses looking to enhance their network security.
Remember that firewall selection and configuration should be tailored to your specific network and security requirements. It’s essential to stay up-to-date with the latest security best practices to effectively protect your network from evolving threats.


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