Dell inspiron 531s
Windows XP Home SP3
AT&T internet service (their slowest DSL option)
Motorola modem (supplied with internet service - Model number needs to be researched if necessary for answers)
I am attempting to gather information for the purchase of an additional computer for home use. The time window is about six months; so I have ample time to make good decisions for both the system and peripherals. I am a relative newbie, with less than a year of serious computer usage experience. This limits my understanding of some of the information gained during research. I am in hopes that a somewhat dumbed down explanation can be provided for me, while including all the information I need for an intelligent buying decision.
Details of the new system are in the making right now and somewhat flexible. In a nut shell: it will be faster than the AMD LE1300 based processor on this machine, use Windows 7, and have multiple monitors. I will supply more information if requested, but don't believe it is necessary at this point in time. My desire is to connect the two machines via wireless router. Faster internet service will be included when the new system comes on-line. There is no gaming consideration here, but we do view streaming video of some television shows.
This may be the long way around, but I anticipated some probable questions. Some of my research suggests employing both a hardware and software firewalls. My questions are divided into two categories:
- simplified explanations
- How does a hardware firewall work?
- How important is it to provide security? (Some of my research sounds like it may be overkill.)
- Is a wireless router used instead of or in addition to a modem?
- From a functional standpoint, how does the combination of hardware firewall and wireless router work?
- minimum and best bang-for-the-buck specs
- If the modem is retained, is an upgrade necessary?
- What style or features/specs should I consider for a hardware firewall?
- What style or features/specs should I consider for a wireless router?
Any useful guidance will be appreciated.