To firewall or not?

Trying to decide whether I should bother with a local firewall.

I’ve got a small ethernet network sitting behind a DSL modem/router/hub. The DSL box (from my telco) has a firewall in it. My network usually has 2-3 cabled systems sitting behind the hub. DSL wifi is turned off and seldom used. These systems are older and running Win XP SP3 (they’re too old to update to a newer OS). I’ve kept them up to date with SPs and such from MS.

I’ve tried several ‘personal’ firewalls on the XP boxes. They just slow the systems to a crawl. (I can’t replace XP for at least 1-2 more years because of some custom software.)

Should I even bother with a firewall on these systems? Or is the DSL fw good enough?


I’d say you only need software firewall only if you want to control outgoing traffic if you have firewall on your router. Also, I think XP has it’s own firewall starting from SP2, and you can try installing TinyWall, it’s basically frontend for windows firewall, so it shouldn’t slow the system down.

Thanks Maniak2000, I can control all access to the network and wifi isn’t enabled. So internal threats aren’t a problem. I’m mainly concerned with inbound DSL stuff. I had the XP fw running before and it’s actually pretty fast and doesn’t eat RAM. I tried some other fw’s and found they need to hand-tuned to get decent performance. I guess it’s back to the xp fw.