Learning to configure firewalls

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Hello All,

I would like some feedback about the approach to take to learn how to
configure/troubleshoot firewalls.

I am debating between getting ahold of a pix firewall device (maybe a
PIX 505, etc.) or perhaps a 1700 series cisco router with Cisco IOS +
firewall feature set.

In light of the fact that Cisco will eventually make PIX more and more
like IOS, should I even bother learning PIX or should I just get the
1700 series router with firewall capabilities.

If you recommend the Cisco 1700 series firewall, what is the exact model
  that comes with firewall capabilities?

Thanks in Advance,


Re: Learning to configure firewalls

You may wish to investigate the Cisco Product Advisor:


As well as Cisco PIX Configuration Examples:



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Re: Learning to configure firewalls

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Hi Adil!

Do you know much about protocols (ip, tcp, udp etc)?
Sorry I have to ask as the foundations of these protocols will help
you understand the weaknesses and is essential to perform any sort of
good firewall practice.

What sort of budget are you on and will this be a home venture?

There are a lot of software based firewalls that can help you learn
the fundamentals like NAT.

In respect of Cisco routers the Cisco 800 Series has the IOS Firewall
Feature Set, I have a 1721 with IOS Firewall with 2 WIC slots so you
can have a DMZ setup and they getting quite cheap now as the 1800
Series is replacing it slowly.
PS. A newer version of IOS for 800 series creates a DMZ interface on
one of the ethernet ports.
On a higher budget the newer 1800 Series Integrated Services Router is
something new and promising.

The PIX is another great winner and a dedicated hardware based
firewall but might cost a bit more maybe someone esle can comment,
have a look here for some more info on the routers I mentioned.

Now there are other vendor firewalls none of which I have really used
so I can't comment but they might be considerably cheaper.
Better? I dont know...

Hope this helps



Re: Learning to configure firewalls

Rob wrote:
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Hi Rob,

Yes, I do know a great deal about protocols as I just completed 4
semesters of Cisco Networking Academy at local university nearly passed
my CCNA on my first try (I missed getting it by one question).

As far as a budget, I am looking to spend between $300 - $400 on a
hardware device - off course, I would want to pay less if possible.  I
am just not sure whether I should get a IOS based firewall or a PIX
version.  Which one is most beneficial for being qualified in this area
of firewalls.

How much can I get the 1721 router for?  And what important features
does the new IOS for the 800 series offer over the one that comes in the

There was a contractor that configured our company's network recommended
getting a little PIX device (I believe he said PIX 515 or maybe 505) for
  the home and playing with that.

Any further insight in this would be much appreciated.



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