While deploying security solutions in setups, administrators may be challenged with verdict on whether to consider ACL (Access Control List) or use Firewall to secure the LAN Network setup. From a Bird’s eye view, it may seem that ACL also filter the traffic (mostly LAN and WAN communication) like Firewalls do. However, there is more to it than meets the eye – Firewalls are much more than just traffic filtering.
Key Differences between ACL and Firewall
- To start with, Firewalls perform Stateful inspection while ACLs are limited to being Stateless only. Stateful is a per-flow packet inspection, whereas Stateless (ACL) is a per-packet packet inspection. In other words, ‘state’ of flow is tracked and remembered by traditional firewall.
- In fact firewalls can also understand the TCP SYN and SYN-ACK packets which can’t be performed by ACL on Routers or Layer 3 Switches. In addition to address/port matching and connection state management, many more advanced firewalls are able to use deep packet inspection to track application-layer behaviour.
Related – Stateful and Stateless Firewall
- Firewalls can be software or hardware based. Hardware based firewalls are preferred choice when it comes to large deployments requiring dedicated appliances to address security requirements.
- Unlike Firewalls, ACLs are features on Routers and Layer 3 devices.
- Further, ACLs (Standard or extended) can perform traffic control up to Layer 4 i.e. ports and protocols while Firewalls can reach up to Layer 7 (Application Layer) of OSI model.
Watch related video for Detailed Explanation:
(Or Continue reading…)
Comparison Table: ACL and Firewall
Below table illustrates difference between ACL and Firewall –