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Router or Firewall

There is a big discussion going at work with people saying that a firewall and router are the same. What are the major differences besides the firewall tracking packets?

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Re: Router or Firewall

In this discussion it helps to be careful about the terminology. And the difference between firewall and router keeps getting smaller and smaller.

In traditional terms a router routed packets, ran routing protocols, and might have access lists to filter packets but could not look deep into packet contents and could do only stateless inspection of packets. In recent versions of IOS with things like the firewall feature set the router becomes more and more like a firewall.

In traditional terms a firewall did stateful packet inspection, did not run routing protocols, and had limited capability to forward packets. With recent developments the firewalls have more of the capabilities that we used to associate with routers.

So I would say that they are still not the same but are becoming more similar. I think that it is partly a matter of prioritization. In routers the primary responsibility is still running routing protocols and forwarding packets and inspecting packets and implenenting security is a secondary focus. Likewise I thing that in firewalls the primary focus is implementing security by inspecting packets and more sophisticated logic for forwading packets is secondary.



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