A router and firewall are two different things, and the router is hardware to provide connections to various devices. As against, a firewall resides between the network and the system to filter the data going in and out of the system.
However, both can be used for filtering the traffic with an access control list. The router works on a hardware level, mostly. In contrast, the firewall is based on software. The router is a device used for establishing the networks. Inversely, a firewall is considered as a system which involves the software and hardware also.
Content: Router Vs Firewall
|Basis for comparison||Router||Firewall|
|Intent||Guides the traffic to the desired destination.||Controls and filters the data.|
|Operates at||Network, data link and physical layers in the OSI model.||Network layer of the OSI model.|
|Sharing of the network||Enables the sharing of the internet between the networks.||No network sharing is provided.|
|Encryption||No encryption is used.||Uses encryption before transmitting the data.|
Definition of Router
A router is a networking device which is used for checking the physical addresses comprising in the packet. It works on three layers of OSI – physical, data link and network layers. In the physical layer, the router reproduces the received signals. Similarly, in the data link layer router attempts to verify the physical addresses comprised in the packet. Further, in a network layer, the router examines the network layer addresses.
One of the characteristics of the router is that it restricts broadcast domains. The router is used for connecting the independent LANs together, and it is also capable of connecting the WANs (Wide Area Network).
- It has a physical and logical (IP) addresses assigned to its every interface and specifically to the network adapters.
- The routers work on the packets where physical destination address matches the address of the interface from where the packet is coming.
- At the time of packet forwarding, the router is intended to alter the physical address of the packet.
The basic components which a router has are RAM, ROM, CPU and motherboard. These are also very common in computers and switches.
Types of ports
- Console port – It is used for attaching the terminal and to manage, control and configure these network terminals.
- Network port – There are several numbers of network port exist in a router along with different LAN and WAN media ports.
- Path determination – It is a crucial role of a router in which the router determines the available paths exhibiting to a remote destination. Additionally, the other work of a router is to maintain the routing table and reflect the modification to the routers connected to the network. It makes use of routing protocols for doing this where the routing information is distributed from the routing table to the other routers.
- Packet forwarding – The routers uses the routing table to compute in which direction the packets needed to forward. There is a network interface for forwarding these packets in the righteous direction that is headed towards the destination.
Definition of Firewall
A firewall is system situated in the middle of the two networks where it imposes the access control policy among those networks. For example, a private LAN to which your system is being connected and the unsafe public network. It governs the data traffic going in and out of the system to and from the network.
In a layman’s term, a firewall can be seen as the security guard for your network or a single chock junction at which security and audits can be enforced. Along with filtering the data, it also determines the attempts made for a breach, monitors the source of the incoming and outgoing traffic and the amount of traffic also.
- To block the incoming data that is capable of containing the hacker attack.
- It masks all the network-related information by pretending that all the outgoing traffic is originating from the firewall instead of a network. This is named as Network Address Translation.
- It also shields the outgoing traffic to restrict the use of the internet and access to remote sites.
The firewall is able to screen both the incoming and outgoing traffic. However, there are basically three types of screening in a firewall.
- For blocking the incoming data – It checks whether the incoming traffic is requested data or not, and if it finds some unrequested data, it tends to reject it.
- By the address of the sender – In this type, the firewall checks the sender’s computer address in order to make sure that the site interacting with the client’s computer is a trusted site.
- Screening for the transmitted contents – It also checks for the contents involved in the communication.
Types of attacks
- Information theft – It includes the theft of an organization’s confidential information, like employee and customers details and organization’s intellectual property.
- Information sabotage – This type of attack involves the modification of the information with the intent of harming the reputation of an individual or the organization.
- Denial of service (DoS) – Breaking down the company’s network or servers to make the services inaccessible for the authorized users and to obstruct the normal company operations.
- Packet filter firewall – Each computer on a network has a logical address known as an IP address. It monitors the address of the incoming traffic and discards everything that does not match the list of the trusted addresses.
- Application-level proxy server – It inspects the application employed for each IP packet to confirm the authenticity.
- Stateful packet inspection – It is the most advanced and secure firewall technology which has been developed recently. It inspects all the parts of an IP packet in order to identify whether to accept or discard the requested communication.
- Virtual Private Networks – The VPN is used for enabling the sharing of public resources for data in a secure manner. With the help of encryption techniques, it makes a tunnel which can be viewed by the authorized users only.
Key Differences Between Router and Firewall
- The prior difference between the router and firewall is that the router is intended to send the packets at the destination. On the other hand, a firewall can limit the data coming from a public network to a private network or vice versa, based on the IP, domain name and sender information.
- Both router and firewall work on the network layer but router also includes the data link layer and physical layer.
- There is no provision of the sharing of the network in the firewall. In contrast, the router provides the sharing of the internet between the networks.
- The firewall employs encryption while the router does not make use of encryption.
- Firewall can exist inside a router, or it can also be a stand-alone device. But, a router can never exist within a firewall.
The router and firewall are different technologies and used for accomplishing different tasks. A router is used for driving the traffic to a particular destination. On the contrary, a firewall is a software used for limiting the amount of traffic from both the ends either from the client’s system to a network or a network to the client’s system.
Ronald Wilson says
I have found your article very informative and interesting. I appreciate your points of view and I agree with so many. You’ve done a great job with making this clear enough for anyone to understand.
Very helpful. Great content!👍
This article about routers and firewalls, I have read and benefited a lot, thank you.