is it safe to turn off the windows firewall if the router firewall is on
Thanks for the excellent response.
The reason why I ask is because I have been suffering from incredibly slow network transfer speeds across my network of 4 computers (3 vista and windows home server) my whole network including the switch is all gigabit capable but i never got more that 6 megabytes per second transfer speeds. my friend pascale visited me yesterday for a nice BBQ and I mentioned to him my vexing problem with my network. being a computer guru he had a look at my pc's and clicked around here and there, switched off a whole bunch of services etc on windows home server including the firewall and voila my transfer speeds jumped to 50 megabytes per second (still not fast enough but a helluva lot better) I asked him if he knew what was wrong and he said he wasnt sure but that he switched of all unnecessary stuff. I was a bit worried about the fact that he had switched of windows firewall (on windows home server) and I asked him if that would expose me to problems from the internet as the server runs constantly and is connected to the net. he said not to worry because my router had a built in firewall. Even though he knows WAY more than I do about networking it left me with a gnawing, nagging feeling in the back of my mind so I thought I would ask on this forum.
I use pretty much all the services you mentioned, msn, skype ftp uploads via dreamweaver etc. i think i may just turn on the windows firewall again. can firewalls slow down network speeds??
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can firewalls slow down network speeds?
A tiny bit, but not as severe as your description sounds. A firewall will normally introduce about 6-10 ms delay, but not affect the actual throughput. Only very sophisticated firewalls that do very deep packet inspection and use quarantine procedures (they intentionally delay packets for a few more miliseconds und use additional handshake operations to "ask" the next gateway/ network interface whether it wants to accept certain packets) will notably slow down things, but you would exclude your internal sub-net from such firewalls anyway and only have them as external access points. Performance-wise, the Windows Firewall takes almost no processing power. According to MS it consumes about 3% CPU time per clock cycle, but that is so low, you really don't notice it. Also, the default firewall is a passive one, meaning in itself it does not initiate additional network traffic, opens no ports or closes them. It merely watches and blocks, if something suspicious comes up. Anyway, it seems like your friend has managed to straighten things out. 50MB per second sounds about right, when you do the rough math --> 1000MBit/8 = 120MB minus precision tolerance, minus overhead, minus network protocol layers, minus signal fading, minus losses caused by network collisions etc.. I'd have to look it up, but at best you could arrive at something like 103 MB or so, but that is under ideal conditions with short cables. Also be aware, that your router may throttle down bandwidth based on some of the mentioned parameters and prioritize bandwidth allocation based on availability and stability of a connection. And lastly, of course, depending on what model you have, it may generally only offer full bandwidth on one of its ports, but always run the otehrs with reduced rates.
Once again thanks for all the info. I will take a bit of time to digest all of this ....