Difference Between Router and Firewall

The world of the Internet comes with various advantages as well as disadvantages. There are threats and dangers wrapped in every data, whether incoming or outgoing. Every network has two main components in data transmission and direction. These are – routers and firewalls. Both offer distinct features to the users in a network.

Router vs Firewall

The main difference between router and firewall is that router forwards data packets and directs the traffic in a network of computers while the firewall monitors the data in the network to control the accessibility of the system. The router does not have any predetermined rules while the firewall operates on predetermined and specific set of security rules.

Router and Firewall

Routers were installed for network security before firewalls were discovered. The transmission of data packets in the network of routers is usually termed internetwork. The final goal of the router is to reach the data packets to their destination node by directing them efficiently.

On the other hand, firewalls have formed the basic part of network security in any computer system. The firewall has various layers to maximize the strength of the system against harmful materials. It also aims to protect the resources of a private network from the other users who are on the other networks or even on the same network.

Comparison Table Between Router and Firewall

Parameters of Comparison RouterFirewall
TypeIt is a device It is a part of a computer system
PurposeIt can transport the data between a network of computers It can screen the data which is to be transferred across a network
SecurityRouter was an earlier form of network security Firewall is the latest form of network security
ConnectionIt is usually connected to two networks for data transmission It operates from the computer which is originally designated
FunctionTo segregate the data packets and forward them to the desired destinationTo control and monitor the traffic of the network and deter the requests

What is Router?

The router is a device that is used for networking and can efficiently send across data packets between a network of computers. The function that is performed by routers on the Internet is to direct the traffic. Every data which is sent on the Internet like that in an email or a webpage can be sent in the form of data packets. The network in which the data packet is forwarded by the router is also termed as an internetwork.

The data packet in the Internetwork moves from one router to another and finally reaches the destination node. The connection of the router is to two or more lines which could be from different networks of IP. During the transmission of the data packet in any line, the router determines the ultimate destination by reading the information about the network address which is available in the packet header.

The information about the data packet from the network address is used in the routing policy or routing table. The direction of the packet in the next network of its journey is determined by this information. The most common type of IP routers is installed in small office routers or home routers. Such routers can simply transfer the IP packets across the computer on the Internet.

The routers which are much more sophisticated like that of enterprise routers are efficient in connecting ISP networks or large businesses to a powerful core router that can further transfer the data at a very high speed. The operation in such sophisticated routers is mainly carried out along the optical fiber lines and forms the backbone of the Internet.

What is Firewall?

A firewall is a system in computing that provides network security to the system. the function of a firewall is to monitor and control the traffic network which is incoming as well as outgoing. The monitoring is done based on predetermined security rules. The origin of the term firewall has been derived from a wall that is intended to confine a fire.

A firewall aims to build a barrier between the two types of network, that is the trusted network and the untrusted network on the Internet. The application of the term firewall in network technology has been in the late 1980s. The Internet and its connectivity with global use were fairly new at that period. Before the introduction of the firewall, the network security had routers that could segregate the packets which were sent across the network.

Firewalls can be broadly categorized into two main types. They are network-based systems and host-based systems. The positioning of network-based firewalls can be anywhere which is within WAN and LAN. The host best firewalls can be installed on the host directly so that it can control the network traffic as well as other computing resources.

Packet filter is the first type of reported network firewall. This code inspects the packets which were being transferred between the computers. Every firewall has an access control list which is maintained for the dictation of what packet should be looked at and what would be the required action. The default action for the packets is usually set for silent discard.

Main Differences Between Router and Firewall

  1. Router doesn’t have any state table for flow state while firewall has state table maintenance for the information of flow state.
  2. The main aim of the router is to forward the data packets and manage traffic while the main aim of the firewall is to filter any unwanted intruders from the system.
  3. Routers are connected to WANs or LANs while firewalls are connected with proxy servers or routers.
  4. Router operates on the network layer, physical layer, and the data link layer while firewall operates on the network layer and the transport layer of the Open System Interconnection or the OSI models.
  5. Router can share Internet connection in the network while firewall does not share between the networks.

Conclusion

Router and firewall can catch the unsolicited traffic which could be incoming or outgoing. The application of both types is for protecting the network which is potentially vulnerable to the threats and dangers of the Internet. Both can block and restrict certain types of outgoing traffic.

The origin of both the components is during the different time frames. The functionality is are also distinctly different from each other. The users need to evaluate all the parameters before making a final choice of decision. An ideal network can have a conjunction of both, for maximum results.

References

  1. https://arxiv.org/abs/cs/0008006
  2. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=lang_en&id=s2GVAwAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PT36&dq=router+and+firewall&ots=5SUulXDR4_&sig=s42b01u8NvI5WM8ENwM7kQxuXf4
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