Internet Gateway and Firewall

An Internet gateway on your LAN allows multiple users in an office or home to connect to the Internet simultaneously via one broadband (high speed) or dial-up connection, saving time and lowering phone line expenses. Plus, a good gateway provides firewall security against hackers attempting to infiltrate your network! There are two basic solutions to choose from, a hardware solution or a software solution.


A hardware router connects your network to an outside line, typically a high speed DSL, T1, leased line, cable "modem," or ISDN line. We have found a router to be compatible with virtually all software. In addition, with an always-on service the response time to users is much faster.  Even better, with no per-minute usage charges a high speed connection usually saves a business money over sharing any type of dial-up connection. Many types of broadband include a router/firewall, or it can be added to a connection for a relatively small expense.

Note many ISPs will provide a broadband connection to a home or office without any type of firewall or router!


Software programs are available that will allow multiple users to share one dial-up connection. This type of gateway uses an existing modem and existing phone line, so it tends to be the more economical solution in terms of start-up cost. However, we have found the occasional program that has trouble using a software gateway. Software routers using a standard modem cannot support anywhere near as many users as a broadband solution, which has a faster connection to share. Plus, we have found that if you use a dial up or ISDN modem for more than two hours per day, you can actually save money by using a higher speed service such as DSL that has a fixed cost with no usage charges.

In addition to basic dial-up connection sharing software, more complicated "proxy" software is available. However we have again tended to find compatibility problems with the genre. However these more expensive solutions can provide performance enhancements and user-level security, as well as reporting and monitoring features.