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How to Enable Your Wireless Router's Built-in Firewall

You may already own a powerful firewall and not even know it.

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How to Enable Your Wireless Router's Built-in Firewall Photo: Chris Stein

Did you know that your home wireless internet router likely contains a powerful built-in firewall that you might not even have turned on?

A firewall can be a powerful defense against hackers and cybercriminals. Chances are, you already own one and didn't even realize it.

In this article, we're going to show you how to enable the hardware-based firewall that is probably lying dormant inside your current wireless router.

What is a Firewall and Why Would I Want to Turn it On?

A firewall is the digital equivalent of a traffic cop that polices your network boundaries. It can be used to prevent traffic from entering and/or leaving the areas of your network.

There are several different types of firewalls both hardware and software based. Your operating system may feature a software based firewall. The one inside your router is usually a hardware-based firewall.

Firewalls can be an excellent method for preventing Internet-borne port-based attacks. Firewalls can also prevent an infected computer inside your network from attacking other computers by preventing malicious traffic from leaving your network.

Now that you know a little bit about the benefits of firewalls, consider checking to see if your wireless router offers a built-in firewall. The chances are good that the router you already own has a built-in firewall, as 8 out of 10 of the 10 Best Wireless Routers, according to PC Magazine, had firewalls listed as a feature.

How to Check to See if Your Router Has a Built-in Firewall:

1. Open a browser window and log into your router's administrative console by typing in the routers IP address. Your router is likely to have what is known as a non-routable internal IP address such as 192.168.1.1 or 10.0.0.1 as it's address

Below are some of the standard admin interface addresses used by some of the more common wireless router manufacturers. You may have to consult your specific router's manual for the correct address. The following list is some of the default IP addresses based on my research and may not be accurate for your specific make or model:

Linksys - 192.168.1.1 or 192.168.0.1
DLink - 192.168.0.1 or 10.0.0.1
Apple - 10.0.1.1
ASUS - 192.168.1.1
Buffalo - 192.168.11.1
Netgear - 192.168.0.1 or 192.168.0.227

2. Look for a configuration page labeled "Security" or "Firewall". This indicates that your router has a built-in firewall as one of its features

How to Enable and Configure Your Wireless Router's Built-in Firewall

1. Once you've located the configuration page, look for an entry that says "SPI Firewall", "Firewall", or something similar. You should see an "enable" button next to the entry. Once you've enabled it, you'll have to click the "Save" button and then the "Apply" button to commit the change. Once you click apply, your router will likely state that it is going to reboot in order to apply the settings.

2. After you've enabled the firewall, you'll need to configure it and add firewall rules and access control lists to meet your connectivity and security needs. Check out our article: Best Practices for Managing Your Network Firewall for an in-depth look at how you might want to configure your firewall rules.

When you have completed setting up your firewall the way you want it, you should test your firewall to ensure that it is doing what you're expecting it to.

 

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