If you have an antivirus firewall software program running on your computer, you most likely have a software firewall also installed. There is another kind of protective wall that you can use: a hardware firewall.

A firewall is used to refer to a system created to prevent illegal access with a personal computer or a network of computers. Its installation is advisable especially if you have your computer connected to the Internet. Since the Internet is a portal that opens connections to the World Wide Web, this firewall will help protect your computer from malicious and unwanted hacking and spying acts of other people. It is comparable to the firewalls used in houses. It filters everything from the Internet that go into your personal computer or network of computers. Firewalls can be put into operation in your hardware, software or in both.

Hardware firewalls can be bought individually, unlike the software firewall that goes with a computer or with the system. The firewall found in hardware is easier to arrange within a local area network or LAN since it can be contained by a router or broadband routers. Basically, hardware firewalls are used to protect several computers connected together (like in an office set-up), while a software firewall is used for protection for an individual unit (for a personal desktop computer, for example).

A hardware firewall filters all the information that goes inside and outside the network. It uses the packet filtering mechanism. In here, the source and destination of information is checked whether it has been validated or not by the user or administrator of the network. In contrast, a software firewall contains user-controlled protection features like file safety set-ups, printer sharing, application blocking, and the most common anti-virus scanning. It complements the functions of your antivirus firewall software.

There are several kinds and brands of hardware and software firewalls to choose from. It is a must to test the product first before purchasing it. And, to assure quality of the firewall, it is better to purchase from trusted and proven effective brands. Never compromise the price over the quality of the product, as it will dictate the functionality of your network or personal computer.

It is also possible to compound the benefits of the two by installing both hardware and software firewalls at the same time. This will strengthen the protection of your network or personal unit. Also, never forget to upgrade, update and maintain your antivirus firewalls software systems so that you can ensure maximum protection.