How to Enable Your Wireless Router's Built-In Firewall

You may already own a powerful firewall and not even know it

A firewall is a potent defense against hackers and cybercriminals. Surprisingly, many users have a robust firewall available and don't realize it. Most wireless internet routers contain a built-in, hardware-based firewall, and unless it's been activated, it's lying dormant.

There are plenty of reasons you should use one. Here's how to find, enable, and configure your wireless router's built-in firewall.

The information in this article applies to most newer wireless router models.

About Firewalls

A firewall is the digital equivalent of a traffic cop that polices your network boundaries. It can be used to prevent traffic from entering or leaving your network.

There are several different types of firewalls, both hardware and software-based. Operating systems often feature a software-based firewall, while the firewall in your router is hardware-based.

Firewalls help prevent internet-borne, port-based attacks. Firewalls can also stop an infected computer inside your network from attacking other computers by preventing malicious traffic from leaving your network.

Ethernet cables plugged into a router

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All routers offer basic firewall protection, but many have more sophisticated firewall functionality.

Windows has had a built-in software-based firewall since Windows XP, while Macs have a firewall that can be enabled in System Preferences > Security & Privacy.

Check Your Router for a Built-In Firewall

To find out if your router has a built-in firewall, open a browser window and log in to your router's administrative console by typing in the router's IP address. Your router is likely to have what is known as a non-routable internal IP address, such as or

Below are standard admin interface addresses used by some common wireless router manufacturers. Consult your specific router's manual for the correct address.

  • Linksys: or
  • DLink: or
  • ASUS:
  • Buffalo:
  • Netgear: or

After you log in to your router's administrative console, look for a configuration page labeled Security or Firewall. This indicates that your router has a built-in firewall as one of its features.

Enable and Configure Your Router's Built-In Firewall

Routers vary, but the general approach for enabling and configuring your built-in firewall is as follows:

  1. Access your router's configuration page.

  2. Locate an entry labeled Firewall, SPI Firewall, or something similar.

  3. Select Enable.

  4. Select Save and then Apply.

  5. After you select Apply, your router will likely state that it is going to reboot to apply the settings.

  6. Configure your firewall by adding firewall rules and access control lists that meet your connectivity and security needs.

    When you have completed setting up your firewall the way you want it, test your firewall to ensure that it does what you expect.

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