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Win2003 firewall (ISA) or LinkSys WRT54G??

Last response: in Networking
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September 9, 2004 11:19:20 PM

I read the THG article, "Your Own Server Part 2, Windows Server 2003 Installation" last night -which figures because I installed my first Win2003 server the night before. (By the way, does anyone know where part 1 is because I couldn't find it?)

Because I am an Action Pack subscriber I have a copy of Windows Small Business Server 2003 Premium Edition which includes the ISA firewall.

I am trying to wrap my head around whether I should plug my LinkSys WRT54G directly into my cable modem and then plug my new Win2003 server into it or the other way around.

The Microsoft Propaganda says it's absolutely safe to plug the server into the internet with one NIC and the other into the hub to service the network so the Win2003 ISA firewall protects the network.

If I plug the LinkSys into the cable modem I am bypassing the ISA firewall in the Win2003 server because all computers will be connected to the LinkSys, and am I going to have to fiddle with the LinkSys to get it to allow all the Microsoft built-in functionality like VPN and Terminal Services? If I plug the Win2003 server into the cable modem with one NIC and into the LinkSys with the other, and let it act as the firewall what advantages are gained?

Can anyone offer me any opinions or insight into implications of either configuration?

Thank you,

Bryan
September 10, 2004 3:55:03 AM

I would use the linksys as a router. Hardware firewall beats software any day. Also, I would NEVER plug a windows machine externally even if it was runnin a software firewall.
The only reason you would have to mess with the linksys is if you want to be able to access those services from outside your network, ie over the internet from somewhere else. The same goes if you used the windows firewall, you would have to open ports for the services.
If you made your server the gateway/firewall then your linksys would essentially just be a switch for your network. That would be a waste. Being a gateway/firewall/router is what the linksys was made to do. Server 2003 was made to be a server, gateway/firewall stuff is just a little gimmic that comes with it as an option.

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