What is a Router Firewall?

Keith Koons

A router firewall is a physical device that controls the incoming and outgoing traffic through an Internet connection. Consumers purchasing such a device are usually seeking to limit the access other people would have to their default connection, whether it be through a landline or a wireless network. Another benefit of a router firewall is that it can effectively hide a computer network from outside sources, which gives a boost to Internet security while browsing the Internet. Router firewalls can also be set up so that account names and passwords are assigned to different users in order to track their daily usage.

Many routers contain firewalls.
Many routers contain firewalls.

The premise for installing a router firewall is simple; it is one of the easiest ways to monitor and limit users connecting to the Internet. A router firewall takes an incoming Internet connection and passes it through a type of checkpoint, somewhat like driving up to a border crossing with guards and a heavy gate. Once the connection passes through the router firewall, it effectively blocks anyone from gaining access without the proper credentials. It is up to an administrator at that point to decide who gains access to the Internet and who doesn't.

Router firewalls are an important security tool against hackers.
Router firewalls are an important security tool against hackers.

Over 90 percent of the world's online population connects through a router firewall daily, many of them without even realizing it. Even if they do not own the device personally, there's an excellent chance that they connect to the Internet at work, from a wireless fidelity (WiFi) hotspot, or through a telephone network that has a router firewall at the business end. Internet providers use this technology to ensure that their customers have unlimited access to the web while blocking out all other requests for usage, and the entire process happens in milliseconds.

Homeowners and businesses normally have to set up a router firewall one time and no further maintenance is necessary unless they wish to grant access to additional users. This additional security step is taken to ensure that only authorized users are permitted access to the network, and it also allows for any forced intrusions to be monitored in real time. Hackers are known for trying to find vulnerabilities within router firewalls, but if they are set up correctly, they are normally very secure. In fact, many router firewalls can completely mask a network from being visible in cyberspace, so criminals do not even know that the entity is there.

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