Network Security is one of key functional requirements when setting up branch/head office setup especially when DMZ, Outside and Inside Zones need to be deployed to provide services like Internet, Web portals, Proxy and Corporate LAN . One may wonder, since Cisco IOS Routers in today’s world come with firewall feature set (like Zone Based Firewall – ZBF) ,then Network Firewall may not be the best choice . While services like Zones, traffic inspection, IPS services, Stateful firewall are available on both Router IOS with Firewall and Network Firewall, let’s further decipher how Router IOS and Network Firewall differ from each other.
A key differentiator between both is that Router IOS with Firewall feature provides lesser throughput and lower performance when compared with Network Firewall. Further, if the need is to leverage more advanced features like DMVPN or GET VPN, IOS router is the only option. On the contrary, Firewall is the best buy when it comes to Multi-tenant environment and where transparent mode needs to be deployed. Notable is that Firewall IOS feature is preferred and recommended for small office environments while large and medium establishments always prefer provisioning dedicated Network Firewall to provide controlled traffic flow.
Below table enumerates the difference between Router IOS Firewall feature and Network Firewall –