How to Set Up a Router with a Firewall - dummies

By Dan Gookin

If you are a broadband Internet user, the best way to keep malware out of your computer is to set up a hardware firewall. A hardware firewall is an electronic gizmo installed between the broadband modem and your computer. It’s often included as part of the router. A hardware router monitors all incoming and outgoing Internet traffic.

Most wired and wireless routers sold today feature a firewall right out of the box. That’s good news. The better news is that the firewall is most likely configured perfectly for you; there’s really little left to do.

You access the router by using the PC’s web browser to see the router’s firewall configuration screen.


At its simplest level, the hardware firewall is an on-off type of affair. Some routers may feature an advanced firewall where you can add rules and such, but in most cases the rules are straightforward: Don’t allow in any Internet traffic that wasn’t specifically requested by a computer on the network. This rule pretty much blocks all the Bad Guys from getting through.

  • When you have a hardware firewall, you don’t need to use a second, software firewall.

  • You can test your computer’s firewall by visiting the Gibson Research website and using their ShieldsUP!! program.