Published November 5th, 2023 by Avigdor Book
As the digital landscape expands, so do the complexities and requirements of network security. Central to this is a concept that is often misunderstood: firewall throughput. Simply put, firewall throughput refers to the volume of traffic, measured in megabits per second (mbps) or gigabits per second (gbps), that a firewall can handle.
However, the reality is not quite as straightforward. Firewall throughput is influenced by various factors, including the type of traffic (TCP or IPSec, for instance) and the services running on the firewall, such as Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS), antivirus, or Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) inspection.
Understanding the specifics of firewall throughput can help you optimize your network security, prevent bottlenecks, and enhance overall performance.
Firewall Throughput vs. Bandwidth
One common point of confusion is the difference between firewall throughput and bandwidth. Bandwidth refers to the maximum data transfer rate of a network or Internet connection, while firewall throughput is the amount of traffic a firewall can process.
Although the two are related, they are not interchangeable. For instance, a 1Gbps firewall throughput doesn’t necessarily mean your network can handle 1Gbps of data transfer if the available bandwidth is less than that.
Calculating Firewall Throughput
Firewall throughput is generally calculated based on the number of bytes a firewall can process per unit of time. However, this calculation can become complex when considering real-world scenarios. Factors such as the presence of malware, the use of application control, and the number of concurrent sessions can greatly affect the throughput.
A firewall throughput calculator can be a useful tool to estimate your firewall’s capacity. However, it’s important to understand that these tools often provide estimates based on ideal conditions and may not reflect the actual performance in a live network environment.
The Impact of Services on Firewall Throughput
Firewall throughput can be impacted by the network security services running on the firewall. Services like IPS, SSL, or VPN add extra computational load to the firewall, which can reduce the overall throughput.
For example, if a firewall is actively scanning for malware or performing SSL inspection, the amount of traffic it can handle may be less than its maximum rated throughput. This is often referred to as the threat protection throughput or intrusion prevention throughput.
Next-Generation Firewalls (NGFWs) are a step up from traditional ones, offering additional functionality such as application control, automation, and intrusion prevention. However, these added features can impact the firewall’s throughput. This is often referred to as NGFW throughput, and it usually differs from the standard throughput.
Firewall Throughput and Tufin
Tufin offers comprehensive firewall management solutions that can help optimize your firewall’s performance. With features like firewall configuration analysis and firewall change automation , Tufin’s Orchestration Suite can help you maximize your firewall’s throughput while maintaining robust network security.
In conclusion, understanding and effectively managing your firewall’s throughput is essential for maintaining optimal network performance and security.
Q: How is firewall throughput calculated?
A: Firewall throughput is calculated based on the number of bytes a firewall can process per unit of time. This can be impacted by several factors, including the type of traffic and the services running on the firewall such as IPS, antivirus, and SSL inspection.
For further details, you might want to read our blog post on how to perform a firewall audit.
Q: What is max firewall throughput?
A: Max firewall throughput refers to the maximum amount of traffic that a firewall can handle. This is typically indicated in the firewall’s datasheet or specs and is measured with metrics in Mbps or Gbps.
Want to know more about firewall performance? Here are some firewall performance best practices.
Q: What is threat protection throughput?
A: Threat protection throughput refers to the amount of traffic a firewall can handle while running security services like IPS, antivirus, or SSL inspection. These services add computational load to the firewall, which can reduce its overall throughput.
For more on this topic, check out our vendor tips for optimizing firewall performance.
Q: What is next generation firewall throughput?
A: Next generation firewall (NGFW) throughput is the amount of traffic that a NGFW can handle. NGFWs offer additional functionality such as application control and intrusion prevention, which can impact the firewall’s throughput.
Our blog post on firewall rule base cleanup provides further insight into optimizing firewall performance.
When it comes to ensuring optimal network security and performance, understanding firewall throughput is fundamental. Click here for a demo, to see how Tufin can help optimize your network security posture.
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