Which of the Following Are Characteristics of a Circuit-Level Gateway?

September 17, 2019 Eric Dosal Eric Dosal

There are many different firewall types. This can be a bit of a challenge for new organizations that are looking to optimize their cybersecurity protections without compromising network performance. So, some questions are only natural.

One of the bigger questions is: “How do firewalls work?” The answer depends on the type of firewall being discussed. For example, a circuit-level gateway works differently than a packet-filtering or stateful inspection firewall. This, in turn, leads to questions about specific firewall types, such as: “Which of the following are characteristics of a circuit-level gateway” or “What is a circuit-level gateway?”

Here’s a quick explanation of circuit-level gateways and their features:

What is a Circuit-Level Gateway?

Here’s a fairly useful definition of circuit-level gateways from Techopedia:

“A circuit-level gateway is a firewall that provides User Datagram Protocol (UDP) and Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) connection security, and works between an Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) network model’s transport and application layers such as the session layer. Unlike application gateways, circuit-level gateways monitor TCP data packet handshaking and session fulfillment of firewall rules and policies.”

Basically, a circuit-level gateway verifies TCP handshakes to check incoming traffic without consuming a lot of time and resources. This makes circuit-level gateways one of the more efficient firewall types—minimizing the performance impact on your network.

However, because these firewalls do not check the information packet or its contents, a packet that has the right TCP handshake, but also contained malware, could conceivably get through a circuit-level gateway.

Which of the Following Are Characteristics of a Circuit-Level Gateway?

To help you visualize the difference between a circuit-level gateway and other firewalls, here’s a small chart of different firewall types:

Feature          

Packet-Filtering Firewalls

Circuit-Level Gateways

Stateful Inspection Firewalls

Application-Level Gateways (Proxy Firewall)

Destination/IP Address Check

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

TCP Handshake Check

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Deep-Layer Inspection

No

No

No

Yes

Virtualized Connection

No

No

No

Yes

Resource Impact

Minimal

Minimal

Small

Moderate


You may also have noticed that “next-generation firewalls” weren’t on the list either. This is because it’s hard to generalize about their capabilities since there isn’t a general consensus on what makes a firewall “next-gen.”

It’s important to note that these characteristics are based on broad generalizations of each firewall solution. For example, while circuit-level gateways don’t typically use virtualization to create an extra layer of separation between your system and incoming traffic, a specific product may use that feature or you may be able to route all traffic through a virtualized connection regardless of which type of firewall you use.

How Do I Know Which Type of Firewall Is Right for My Organization?

It can be difficult to choose between different firewall types. Adding to the difficulty is the fact that many organizations need to use multiple firewalls to create strong network segmentation for a “defense in depth” strategy. Using firewalls with conflicting rules can cause legitimate traffic to be dropped, resulting in poor network performance and inefficiency.

Here, using a managed firewall service from a managed security service provider can help. Not only can an MSSP help you choose the right firewall products to meet your needs, they can:

  • Help you create and manage firewall rules to maximize security while minimizing performance impact;
  • Provide alerts and updates about important events affecting your firewalls and network security;
  • Increase your speed of response to a breach of your firewall solution;
  • Reduce costs for implementing and managing firewalls; and
  • Eliminate obsolete firewall solutions and replace them as needed.

Need help setting up your firewall solution? Whether it’s a circuit-level gateway or any other kind of firewall, we’re here to help! So, contact Compuquip today to get started.

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