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To support multiple segments, the firewall needs a number of network interface cards. An advantage of using Unix-based firewalls is that they allow the most network cards (more than 32). NetWare has a practical limit of 16, and Windows is currently limited to 4.

As you learned in Chapter 3, Unix is a command-line based operating system and, thus, doesn’t lend itself to the most friendly firewall platform in the world. However, since the introduction of the X Window interface (and firewall software’s adoption of it), Unix-based firewalls have become easier to use.

Finally, because firewalls must examine hundreds, even thousands, of packets per second, speed is a major factor in all firewall platforms. Many companies make security products for both Unix and Windows NT/2000. Unix implementations tend to be significantly faster than Windows NT/2000 implementations. If you’re communicating over a T1 line, however, platform speed won’t create a bottleneck. This only becomes a problem when your corporation gets into the higher connection speeds that T3, OC3, and

other connections provide (and, therefore, your firewall must be examining more packets per second). In these cases, you should consider Unix-based firewall implementations.


NetWare, through the leverage of NDS, provides for easy network administration through NetWare Administrator, the graphical utility that runs on Windows 95/98 and Windows NT/2000. The primary firewall is Novell’s own product, BorderManager. BorderManager installs onto NetWare servers and has a NetWare Administrator snap-in. With this feature, you can continue to use familiar NetWare tools to manage the many aspects of your network, including the firewall.

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