My recommendation for using a hardware firewall is to keep
Generally a hardware firewall only has a firewall and routing. Not
providing other services. There are people who use other services
on their firewalls. A firewall distribution usually has the developer
and compiling stuff removed. This reduces the chances that should
the firewall get rooted that no programs can be compiled.
After the first firewall then using a firewall on each system adds a
little more security. Depending on your situation could also add
I use one of three router setups depending on the hardware and
advances features I need.
A. Freesco is the lightest router. It runs one really old hardware and
loads using a floppy disk: http://www.freesco.org/
You could run this on a 486 with 12 megs RAM
B. Smoothwall is the next. It needs newer hardware usually a P2 or better
with about 64 megs of RAM will give you a decent router. The more you
expect the greater the hardware requirements. http://www.smoothwall.org/
C. The more powerful and the one I use most is pfsense.
It will work from anything from a p2 and above and the same notes
as above about advanced features. http://www.pfsense.org/
I find that the documentation is really good for all of the above and is pretty
easy to setup. Being that my uses vary alot there is no one way to setup the
services that the routers provide. Some of the routers I have setup use multiple
networks connected via one router.
Firewalls are a large subject and no single howto would do real justice to
explaining the ups and downs of them.