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Firewalls And My Internet Speed


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#1 Elendil

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Posted 27 May 2006 - 11:27 AM

As some of you know, I decided to start trying other firewalls besides Windows Firewall. First, I tried Sunbelt Kerio which was absolutely excellent on keeping track of everything and reporting it to me; however, after a rather ugly crash caused by it (I idioticly blocked something that I'm guessing I shouldn't have) I decided to mvoe on. Next on the list was Outpost Firewall, after toying around with it a little, I was displeased by its abilities and moved on. The final firewall was ZA Free. This was a firewall to mess with. I loved it equally as much as I liked Sunbelt, but in the end I switched back to Windows Firewall. The one thing I noticed in common with all the firewalls was that it slowed my internet connection dramatically. Outpost firewall cut my 2.5 MBPS down to ~400 KBPS which was unacceptable and Outpost wasn't that great to me. ZA and Sunbelt both lowered my speed to ~700KBPS which is also pretty terrible. Is there someway I can use one of those two firewalls without having over a 100-200KBPS loss?
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#2 Scarlett

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Posted 27 May 2006 - 12:06 PM

I have ZoneAlarm Free and my download speed just now is 5.02 Mb/s
and my upload speed is 535.73 Kb/s.

I have 8 tabs open in Firefox and IceChat running too.
But I also have Charter High-Speed Internet.

And it is in anyone's best interest to use a firewall other than one of an OS.
As they only alert to incoming activity. And stand alone firewalls alert to both
incoming and outgoing.
Better safe than sorry. :thumbsup:

Shrug....maybe there is something else you can do to speed up your connection
and still have a diff. firewall as well.
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#3 The Shadow

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Posted 27 May 2006 - 12:14 PM

Is there someway I can use one of those two firewalls without having over a 100-200KBPS loss?


Probably not.....
Most third party firewalls are just HUGE programs that suck up resources like crazy.
If you're not running a "Super Computer" then you're going to take an obvious performance HIT.

That's probably the one most endearing traits of the Windows Firewall.....it's already part of windows and it's totally NON-Invasive and goes real easy on system resources.

If you'll just do what we here in the forums have been telling you to do for years, and keep your computer CLEAN, you won't need one of them 'monster' Firewalls.

You only need to protect against some ET Phoning Home if you allow the ET's to take up residence on your PC in the first place.

Keep the ET's (Adware, Spyware, Trojans, Viruses, Worms, Dialers, etc.) off of your computer and the Windows Firewall is all the Firewall protection you'll ever need.
WE've listed all the needed software to keep a computer totally clean, more times than I can recount.
I even put my own list on my web site in case someone didn't know where to start.

The moment I had Service Pack 2 up and running on my own PC, ZoneAlarm went right into the ol' bit bucket. I said "Good Riddence" to it and never looked back.
Don't get me wrong....I never disliked ZA, but it did require more resources than I really wanted to give up.
I was very happy to retire it in favor of a much lighter weight Firewall, which the ports test on www.grc.com tells me that I'm totally in "Stealth" mode. (invisible to the internet hackers)

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#4 Mr Alpha

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Posted 28 May 2006 - 06:15 AM

Any time you add something that digs as deep into the OS as a firewall does, the results can be unpredictable.

Zonealarm had a horrible effect on my system performance. One of the reasons that I'm using Outpost is because it is lighter than even Windows Firewall. I'm getting a download speed of 1.27 MB/s which is a bit above my 10 Mb connection.
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#5 jgweed

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Posted 28 May 2006 - 07:49 AM

"That's probably the one most endearing traits of the Windows Firewall.....it's already part of windows and it's totally NON-Invasive and goes real easy on system resources."

It may come with Windows, but it is not a part of the operating system. It's modularity makes it more akin to Windows defrag utility than something actually a part of the operating system as such.To argue that because it comes with Windows that it is somehow superior is to ignore the example of IE, parts of which are indeed part of the operating system, but whose bloated structure makes it slower than some other browsers. It may be more non-invasive than some other firewalls, but then it does but half the job, and does not have much in the way of reporting compared to, say, Sygate.

The argument that checking outgoing packets is not needed when your computer is completely secure from incoming malware is valid only if it would be possible to achieve that goal. I would suggest that a completely secure computer would be theoretically possible, but not so in practice, if for no other reason than the lag between exploits and their inclusion in definitions updated by anti-virus providers. Additionally, MS is notoriously slow in patching known vulnerabilities, and there is often not a satisfactory work-around published in good time.

I have run some, admittedly unscientific, download tests with my firewall (Sygate) on and then with it off; the loss of speed was but minimal.

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#6 Elendil

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Posted 28 May 2006 - 08:49 AM

With Outpost, my resources on my computer and in my home network were detrimentally depleted and its protection was in my opinion, more easy to blow past than ZA or Sunbelt Kerio.
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#7 Mr Alpha

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Posted 28 May 2006 - 04:12 PM

Are we talking about Outpost Pro or the old Outpost Free?
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#8 Harry83

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Posted 30 May 2006 - 06:36 PM

Elendil I noticed you didn't try out Sygate Personal Firewall. Even though it's not supported anymore it's still very effective. It also uses minimal system resources compared to ZA. I also have a P4 with 512MB RAM like you so it should run fine on your computer. I currently use ZA on a wireless network and have had no significant change in download speeds. I sometimes have about 15 browser tabs active with Spyware Doctor, AIM, ZA Firewall, Spyware Guard, and Symantec AV CE all running in the background...I generally have Napster running too and my computer still surfs the internet and downloads just fine! Maybe you have some other programs that are serious resource hogs?
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#9 Elendil

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Posted 30 May 2006 - 07:29 PM

I'll give Sygate a shot now that you've mentioned it, but the firewalls I've tried have definately been the cause to my internet slow down. First I test my speed with the non-windows firewall on; it's heart-breaking. Then I turn off the non-windows firewall, turn on the windows firewall, and then test my speed; it's just like it should be. Anyways, I'll give Sygate a shot.
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#10 acklan

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Posted 31 May 2006 - 08:13 AM

I have SyGate and after reading your remarks I ran the download test at http://www.performance.toast.net .
With Sygate on I ran the text test thru Yahoo! 10 times. My average download speed was 5.2Mbps. Slowest being 3.3Mbps the highest being 6.4Mbps.
I ran the picture test with the Yahoo! server and the speed dropped to 1.6Mbps, with a high of 2.2Mbps and a low of 821Kbps.
I ran a third test downloading both the picture and the text and the speed was 2.4Mbps, with the high being 3.1Mbps and the low being 1Mbps.

I started to run the tests with out SyGate turned on but come to the conclusion that any increase would not matter that much and was not worth my time.

If I may ask where would you be able to use 2.5Mbps on the internet? I know I download more than the average home user. I clean install and fully upgrade 3 to 8 computers a week at my home, along with all the antivirus and antispyware. I very seldom am allow over 300Kbps and it is more likely 200Kbps. I pay for 6Mbps\768Kbps with COX Cable.
From what I understand It is more the server providing the downloads rather than the ISP that restricts your speed. The programs\data servers pay for the bandwidth used, unlike the user who pays a flat fee for their bandwidth.
I may be wrong but I think you are trying to attain the unatainable.
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#11 buddy215

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Posted 31 May 2006 - 08:36 AM

Just wanted to put my 2 cents worth in this discussion. To get an accurate reading on download speed, you have to empty your caches between tests. Acklan is correct in download rates are more determined by the server and how busy the internet is.
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#12 Elendil

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Posted 31 May 2006 - 09:22 AM

Well, Bellsouth's downloading test shows 2.5 and my family is paying for 3.0 MBPS; when I actually download a file or program my rate is ~100-200 KBPS.
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#13 Scarlett

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Posted 31 May 2006 - 09:30 AM

From how I understand it is that the download speed quoted from an
ISP, is not neccessarily the speed a costumer will show.
It is expected to be in the nieghborhood of course, which yours seems to be.

Additionally certain "peak" internet periods, may show eiether faster or slower as the case may be.

Also as stated before, the server needs to be taken into account.
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#14 Elendil

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Posted 31 May 2006 - 09:57 AM

Can you say LOVING IT!!!!! :thumbsup: I just tested my speed with Sygate firewall and it is 2.5 MBPS!!!! I know which firewall I'm using from now on!

BTW, is the latest version of Sygate 5.6?
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#15 graveangel

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Posted 31 May 2006 - 12:53 PM

Hi Elendil, funny this, as you were offering your comments in one of my topics regarding Sygate,which i appreciated by the way :thumbsup:

But yes,SyGate 5.6 is the latest and last ever version of it. Although no longer technically supported by a team,it still remains a fantastic firewall and user friendly,its perhaps the best. Just keep checking on here every so often, if at some point its no longer advisable to use SyGate(which i cant see being for sometime yet),im sure BC will let us all know about it.
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