You might already be familiar with the concept of a software firewall, but maybe you have not considered the need for a hardware firewall.
If you are thinking about protecting your children at home, you will want to make sure that you are using the best firewall for home to get an adequate amount of protection.
While home networks are thinking of parental controls and malware, businesses need to think about different features for protection.
The best firewall for small businesses is not going to be the same one you use at home.
So what do you need to look for in a firewall? Here’s what you need to know.
You most likely have heard about a firewall before, but may not have realized that there are actually two types.
The primary type is the one most commonly referred to. It is a software firewall that comes along with your antivirus software. They are used for blocking malware or other illicit connections to your computer.
The other type is a hardware firewall. This is a separate unit that can be included with a router or added on separately.
The difference is that hardware firewalls block malware before it enters the network. It protects all of your devices connected to the network rather than one single device.
One of the most important features that you would be looking at with your best firewall for home is whether it has advanced web filtering.
This allows you to choose which type of content to block, including specific websites or types of websites. The best type of web filtering allows you to block types of files, certain keywords, and certain IP addresses.
Your firewall should also be able to control the type of traffic that is coming in and keeping downloads at a steady pace rather than overloading your system. This might already be built into your router, so you will want to double check.
Most firewalls come with VPN functionality. The two types of VPNs that you will get with a firewall are remote access and site-to-site VPNs.
Remote access VPNs will let you log into your network remotely. It encrypts the data when you access it as well, keeping your data completely secure.
Site-to-site VPNs are different than remote access VPNs. They will let you create an encrypted tunnel between two networks. When they are connected, the users can securely have access to each other’s network.
Businesses especially appreciate this feature, so it is not always needed for a home firewall.
You should also make sure that your firewall has a stateful packet inspection. This feature will analyze the packages of data that are being sent across the network.
A stateful packet inspection checks all of the data, so that no harmful data can trick the firewall to allow it in. Typically, a stateful packet inspection that comes with a firewall works better than one that might come with your router.
1. Ubiquiti Unifi
2. CUJO AI Smart
3. Bitdefender BOX 2
4. Zyxel Firewall
Best Firewall For Small Business
5. Firewall Micro
6. Fortinet FG-60E
7. WatchGuard T15
8. SonicWall SOHO
9. Cisco Meraki MX
10. Firewalla Red
Our choice for the best home firewall is the Ubiquiti Unifi Security Gateway. This firewall comes with a high level of protection and a lot of security features.
The design of the Unifi Security Gateway is sturdy and reliable. You do not get any more ports than you need, which keeps it looking simple from a visual standpoint. There are 3 Gigabit Ethernet ports that allow you to hardwire in anything that you need to.
Even though the firewall looks simple, it is far from it. It is not designed to be a beginner plug and play, where you only need to plug it in for it to work. Instead, it has a complicated set up with a lot of features that might overload the average home network.
The Unifi Security Gateway comes with remote monitoring and management. It uses a Graphical User Interface (GUI) that is called the Unifi Controller to achieve this. The CLI management feature is ideal for advanced users.
That said, you will still be able to easily change the firewall’s settings while creating VLANs and enabling Deep Pocket Inspection. It has the level of security that you need to really keep your network as safe as possible.
Looking at the firewalls performance, you will see that it has 1 million packets per second, for 64-byte packets.
There is a 3 Gbps total line rate for packets 512 bytes of larger as well, so it should be able to handle a lot of traffic and filter it smoothly without slowing down at all.
Our second choice for the best firewall for home is the Cujo AI. This is a different type of firewall than the Unifi was and it might be more appropriate for home networks that have children.
The design of the Cujo AI is far more adorable than any other firewall on the market. The firewall is small and white with two curved lines that make it look like it is happy to see you. It is effective and makes it friendly to look at. Children will certainly appreciate the design.
You will also get a 1 GB Ethernet port that you can use to plug in any device that you would like to have wired in directly. It does work with most routers and modems, but unfortunately the Cujo does not work with Luma or the Google Mesh system.
The Cujo AI firewall provides 24/7 internet security. As long as it is connected to your network, it will secure all of the devices connected to your WiFi router, regardless of the time of day.
The algorithms that are in place will bring additional protection from illicit remote access, malware, and phishing, keeping your network locked down.
This firewall also comes with malware prevention, enforced time limits, and filtered web content. It is simple to set up and get running and is not meant to slow down your network in any way.
Instead, it will offer an extra layer of protection to keep your children safe from inappropriate content and even cyberbullies and predators if that is a concern of yours. It is a great parental tool for the modern world, which is not what you could say for every firewall out there.
If you are looking for the best hardware firewall for home that is also high performance, we recommend the Bitdefender Box 2. It will not work with a mesh network, so keep that in mind before you buy.
The Bitdefender Box 2 is designed to create a simple method of protection for your home network without losing out on the security.
The device will automatically begin to monitor your network right after it is plugged in, requiring no configurations to get started.
The Bitdefender has to be connected directly to your router. The router will then need to be configured in Bridge Mode or as an Access Point, so keep that in mind when you are setting it up.
While it does do automatic monitoring, you will want to be able to set it to filter through the content that you do not want entering your network.
The firewall comes with a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor and it supports speeds up to 1 Gbps. It works with both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa as well, so you will be able to use your smart home controllers without issue.
The features include the standard for firewall monitoring, including web filtering and malware protection. It also has software and cloud-based protection for the entire network.
You can get the Bitdefender Total Security antivirus service as well, but it has a yearly subscription fee, following your initial one-year trial of the services. It is annoying that you have to subscribe to get the more advanced features, but it is an option if you need it.
The best small business firewall is the Zyxel Next Generation. This firewall comes with all of the features that you will need to support the network security of your small business.
Starting with the firewall’s design, the appearance is a standard, sturdy box shape that you can expect from a regular firewall. Remember that this firewall is intended for smaller businesses. It is not designed to support more than 10 users.
It also has high performance Gigabit ports, including a WAN port, 4 x LAN ports, and a SFP WAN port for Gigabit Fiber. This means that the firewall works well for fiber networks if that is the type of ISP that you have.
The Next Generation firewall has up to 350 Mbps with its Stateful Packet Inspection. SPI is exactly what you will need for your small business, so do not ignore the importance of this feature. It also has 20,000 Max TCP concurrent sessions, which makes it perfect for smaller offices.
The firewall is categorized as an UTM firewall. UTM means Unified Threat Management, which is the application level of protection. That includes web content inspection, application controls, antivirus, and even intrusion prevention.
There is a yearly subscription required in order to use this feature, however. You might still want it for your small business’s protection.
If you opt to not get the subscription, the firewall is still incredibly reliable and offers a great amount of protection. UTM is nice, but not completely necessary to still have a secure network.
For a high performance firewall for your small business, we recommend the Micro Appliance. This is an unusual looking firewall, but it still will get the job done nicely.
The appearance of the Firewall Micro Appliance is a little more unconventional than the other firewalls that we have looked at here. It is black, but has an open top.
This is because the device is fanless and requires natural ventilation to stay cool. It does have an operating temperature from 14 to 122 degrees Fahrenheit, so it should be ok with temperature regulation, even without a fan.
It has an all-metal enclosure that supplies a higher amount of durability and heat dissipation, increasing the overall longevity of the firewall. It comes with an HDMI port, 4 x USB 3.0 ports, and an RJ-45 COM port as well. The unusual chassis includes pre-drilled holes for WiFi antennas.
The Micro Appliance comes with an Intel Celeron Dual-Core CPU with Intel hardware support. It has been tested with many of the most popular open source software firewall solutions, so you can use those in addition to the hardware.
The unit does not come with its own RAM, so you will need to handle that on your own, separately.
We do not recommend this if you are not entirely firewall savvy, but the customer service for the device is incredibly helpful and might be able to help walk you through the process. Generally speaking, this is not a good choice for beginners, however.
Another firewall that offers a high amount of protection is the Fortinet FortiGate-60E. This is an entry-level next-generation firewall that offers some of the best network security that you can get.
The design of the ForitGate-60E is small and easy to conceal. It has four LAN Gigabit Ethernet ports that will allow you to wire in your devices directly if you needed to.
It is designed to support small to mid-sized businesses, but will not work for larger companies. It simply is not built to support that level.
It does use cloud management for easier administration, making it simpler to monitor while giving you a higher level of mental security. It is also a fanless desktop form factor, with a built-in cooling system.
The single-pane-of-glass network operations give you a 360-degree view of any potential threats or issues, resolving them before they have a chance to really do any damage.
The FortiGate-60E offers a lot of great features, including zero-touch deployment, cloud management, extended logging, and configuration options. This makes it easy to set up and even easier to operate, making this an excellent choice for users of all levels.
Unfortunately, like other UTM vendors, the FortiNet firewalls require a subscription in order to make use of the security features.
While the firewall still works without the subscription, you will lose out on some of the more refined types of advanced content filtering that you would get if you were willing to pay the annual fee.
It does provide industry-leading performance and protection for SSL encrypted traffic as well, so you will get all of the security that you really need.
Another hardware firewall that you should consider for your work network is the WatchGuard Firebox T15. This firewall works through a centralized console to give you all of the protection that you could ever need.
The casing on this firewall is a little more fun than other firewalls that we have looked at. Instead of silver or black, it is red, which makes it stand out a little.
You might not want that, but then again it is fun to be different sometimes. It does have three Ethernet ports and will support up to three connected computers at a time.
Another design features that makes the Firebox T15 stand out is that you can opt to have a wireless model or a wired model, depending on your office’s needs.
Because it can be wireless, this works well for mobile kiosks or simply work on the road, ensuring that you always have a high level of security available.
The performance of the Firebox T15 includes a firewall throughput of 400 Mbps, a VPN throughput of 150 Mbps, and 100,000 concurrent sessions. That means that you will not have to worry about any slowdowns when it comes to the T15.
You will also get wireless guest services to segment your internet connection for customers or guests who might need to log on. This will give you an enhanced layer of security, while still being gracious enough to let outsiders onto your bandwidth.
Like the other firewalls, you can pay for the extra UTM features, like the antivirus, intrusion detection, and ransomware protection.
The last firewall that we recommend is the SonicWall SOHO. This is a flexible security solution that works for small to mid-sizes businesses. It is not a good choice for home network usage.
The SonicWall SOHO system is different than other firewalls that we have looked at. It can support over 100 additional ports through the console, as long as it is deployed correctly.
This means that unlike some of the other firewalls that we have looked at, this one can be expanded to meet the growing needs of your business or network.
Another part of the design to think about is that it allows for VPN mobile access for Apple iOS, Google Android, Amazon Kindle, Windows, Max OS, and even Linux devices. The firewall is operational regardless of the operating system that you are working with.
The SonicWall SOHO firewall comes with a lot of great security features, including the deep packet inspection of all traffic, without restrictions on file size or protocol.
It allows for secure 802.11ac wireless connectivity using an integrated wireless controller. The firewall inspection throughput is 300 Mbps with a full DPI throughput of 50 Mbps.
Additionally, the SonicWall SOHO has SSL, TLS, and SSH decryption and inspection, all included with the firewall. You do not need to pay a subscription for extra protection.
The maximum number of connection that it can support is 10,000 for the SPI and DPI, and 100 connections for the DPI SSL. This is not the most user-friendly type of firewall, however, so make sure that you know what you are doing before you buy.
If you are looking for the best firewall for small businesses that is also high performance, you should look no further than the Cisco Meraki.
The Meraki is designed for small businesses. It can safely handle up to 50 clients at a time, but any more than that would slow it down and make it inefficient. The device is silver and is slim and horizontal. It is 12” long, however, so it will take up a bit of space wherever it is set. The design is still sleek with a low profile, however, so you might still get it to blend in.
The Cisco Meraki firewall is made for performance. The device comes equipped with 2x2 MU-MIMO Wave 2 as well as a 1.3 Gbps aggregate dual-band frame rate. With the 24/7 real time analytics, nothing should be able to get by this firewall.
Optimized for voice and video, the Meraki will not slow down your business at all. It is self-configuring as well, so you do not need to do much to keep it up and running. The application-aware traffic shaping means that this firewall will be able to know if something along the network is behaving differently than normal and take precautions accordingly.
With integrated enterprise security and guest access, even your friends will be protected when they use your network.
One of the best firewalls for home users is the Firewalla Red. This is a firewall that offers cybersecurity through a wide array of protections.
The design of the Firewalla firewall is attractive and a little fun. To begin with, it is red, which is not standard for a computer device. This makes it visually pop out more and adds a splash of colour to your setup. The firewall is also very small and will be easy to find a spot for next to your modem.
The security features of the Firewalla are something to get excited about. This device uses deep insight and cloud-based behaviour analytics to work out abnormal behaviour on your network.
That way, if something is out of the ordinary, the firewall can actively detect and automatically block anything suspicious. You also get a VPN server for an extra layer of protection.
The device also has good parental controls, including a social hour, allowing you to block social networks for an hour, giving the family a break from social media. The activity-based control features allow you to stop gaming or cut off the internet with a simple click. You can also use their app to make it even easier on you.
While you might think that having a software firewall will keep you safe enough for your home network, but that is not entirely true.
Having a home firewall has a lot of benefits, including the ability to monitor the traffic that is coming into your network. A firewall can control the traffic by inspecting information coming in. It restricts what can come into the network before it is given a chance to touch any of the devices within your network.
All traffic is monitored when you have a hardware firewall, giving the entire network the same level of security.
Malware and Trojan viruses have just been the status quo since there has been an internet to cause trouble on. Unfortunately, the more that security seems to advance, the intelligence of malware has also advanced.
For that reason, Trojan viruses, or viruses that can sneak onto your computer unnoticed, have become an incredible nuisance. Having a home firewall that has the ability to inspect all packets can thoroughly look at the data that is being downloaded and identify the Trojans before they even enter the network.
Software firewalls strive to do the same, but do not come with the same level of abilities.
Finally, having a home firewall means having an extra layer of security. You get a reliable filter than can control and monitor the types of content that are coming into you network.
You can stop certain devices from receiving the wrong type of information, giving better protection for your entire network.
Most of all, you do not need to have a firewall installed on each computer, but instead can have one firewall, hooked up to your router, that ensures the security of the network as a whole. It will give you peace of mind and better protection.
Step 1: Plug your firewall into your modem or router through the LAN port on the modem or router and the outport of the firewall.
Step 2: Power on your firewall and your computer.
Step 3: While all firewalls are different, you should be able to access it through your network’s settings on your modem or router. Log into this using your admin login on your primary computer.
Step 4: Configure your firewalls settings through your admin screen. This is different for all firewalls, so follow the instructions that came with your firewall.
Step 5: You should be good to go. A firewall is active as long as your modem is up and running.
When it comes to buying a firewall, you might think that you already have one in your computer’s operating system or maybe even in your modem.
But, that is not good enough with the amount of malware that is floating around. First, you need to know what the difference between a software firewall and hardware firewall is.
A software firewall is an application that is downloaded onto your computer or your modem.
A hardware firewall is a separate device that connects to your modem. When trying to work out what that means in a more practical sense, think of it like the hardware firewall is keeping things out of your network and the software firewall is preventing you from getting malware from things already inside of your system.
When a hardware firewall is in placement, outsiders cannot access your system. When a software firewall is in place, a virus within an email attachment cannot do harm to your computer.
Since each firewall has its own use, it is ideal to have one of each running in your network. This will increase your overall security and cover any holes left by one firewall. You will need to be sure the setup is right to get the level of safety you are after, however.
The best firewall for home is the Ubiquiti Unifi Security Gateway. The firewall is reliable and has all of the security features that you would be able to expect for your home, including content filtering.
Meanwhile, the best firewall for small business is the Zyxel Next Generation. This firewall can protect up to 10 users within the network, supplying an extra layer of protection for all of your business’s dealings.
Regardless of the type of firewall that you go with, just makes sure that it has the deeper level of protection that you really need to keep your network safe, whether at home or at work.
Hey, it's Tomas here! I'm the founder and chief editor here at BlueGadgetTooth. After spending hours explaining my parents how to hook up their Internet, why it's being so slow etc. I decided to start this blog to help people with their gadgets and questions about technology.