Next-Generation Firewall vs. Traditional Firewall?

The difference between next-generation and traditional firewalls primarily exists in terms of features and functionalities. The top features that help to understand Next-Generation Firewall vs. Traditional Firewall are:

Parameters Traditional Firewall Next Gen Firewall (NGFW)
Application Visibility and Application Control Partial Detailed
CAPEX and OPEX (considering all feature requirement) Higher since separately need to buy and maintain Considerable reduction since all services will be bundled into single box
IPS (Intrusion Prevention System) Not Supported Supported
NAT Supported Supported
Reputation and identity services Not Supported Supported
Traffic filtering (Port, IP Address and protocol based) Supported Supported
VPN Supported Supported
Application level awareness Not Supported Supported
Working Layer Layer 2 to Layer 4 Layer 2 upto Layer 7
Throughput and performance Lower than NGFW and drastically reduces when additional services introduced. Much higher than traditional Firewall and doesn’t change much on introduction of additional services.
Reporting Standard reports Customized reporting upto user level giving near real time detail with plenty of additional reporting options like download format etc.

Find out the features of the NGFW firewall to understand the details of the core aspects that help NGFW products advance the layers of security for businesses. Although companies have been using traditional firewalls, they are drastically shifting to the top brands like Juniper, Barracuda, Sophos, Fortinet, Palo Alto Networks, and Cisco, which are the leading names in the world of cybersecurity.

These brands are known for offering added layers of protection for increasing traffic visibility while offering flexible means for policy management. In addition, threat detection, filtration, and mitigation get easier due to the availability of the next-generation firewalls and services provided by these brands. If you want to know more about the top-ranking NGFW brands for businesses, do not forget to check out our latest blog.

However, before shortlisting the best brands for NGFW products, it is essential to understand how these firewalls are different from the traditional ones. One of the first questions that strike your mind about your business security is whether your selected line of defense is adequate enough to deter unauthorized access to your critical assets.

In this regard, one might consider that traditional firewalls and antivirus software systems are no longer functional or beneficial. But the truth is these are pretty much actively available in the market and favored by many corporate giants for securing their company's assets. Are these traditional firewalls effective enough in securing your enterprise networks from potential cyber threats? Unfortunately, no, and that is why NGFW products have dominated the market since its inception.

But are NGFW and traditional firewalls the same? NGFW and traditional firewalls might work on a similar principle, but both differ in their functionalities and features. For example, the former comes with added security layers to protect from sophisticated threats, while the latter is only limited to application-level control. Intrigued to know more about why next-generation firewalls are dominant over traditional firewalls? Let’s check out here:

Application Visibility and Application Control

The first point of difference between NGFWs and traditional firewalls is due to their application visibility and application control feature. Application visibility and control functionality are responsible for protecting critical high-speed networks from application-level threats. However, these threats can exist or emerge and are capable enough to proliferate to penetrate the networks.

In the case of traditional firewalls, the application visibility and application control functionality is partially available. At the same time, it is functional and delivers detailed threat reports and security access, thanks to the best NGFW products available in the market. That means when you select the top NGFW products; you get the best tool to create granular policies to limit, block or identify the usage of widgets and applications. Defining these policies helps in advancing the security guidelines while increasing productivity and resource utilization.

Stateful vs Stateless

NGFWs are stateful firewalls, while the traditional ones are stateless firewalls. That means the former can translate to more precise data filtering as they can see the entire context. These are considered to be the smart systems that can go beyond the packet's information against the prohibited list. These are also known for making dynamic filtering decisions that help filter potential threats.

On the other hand, stateless firewalls are concerned with individual packets and compare them with the preset rules to filter the traffic. Only after a thorough comparison of the incoming data packets against the preset data or banned IP addresses, protocols, ports, etc., can the firewall raise a flat successfully.

CapEx and OpEx

To run your business, companies often employ a lot of resources, mainly divided into operating expenses (OpEx) and capital expenditures (CapEx). CapEx is the primary and long-term expenses, including physical assets like machines, equipment, buildings, vehicles, etc. On the other hand, OpEx refers to the organization's daily expenses, including utilities, salaries, rent, and property taxes.

In the case of the traditional firewall, both these expenses are on the higher side, as the company needs to buy and maintain these separately. However, with the incorporation of the NGFW products, one can diminish these expenses since you get all the facilities and functionalities bundled within a single box.

Intrusion Prevention System

An Intrusion Prevention System or IPS refers to a network security tool that continually conducts network monitoring to identify any potential malicious activity and devise appropriate prevention strategies like blocking, reporting, dropping, etc.

It is one of the crucial features to consider for selecting the proper firewall for an organization. It is an active part of the NGFW solution and isn't supported by the traditional firewall. One of the primary features of a traditional firewall sets apart these two types of security devices. NGFWs are also available with features like reputation-based malware detection, deep-packet inspection, and SSL and SSH inspection.

Traffic Filtering

If you want to understand the underlying features of NGFW and traditional firewalls, you need to know more about traffic filtering. It is a procedure that can offer network security by identifying and filtering the traffic based on predetermined criteria. These are used as DDoS or distributed denial-of-service protection devices, which can provide rate limiting, ingress filtering, network traffic monitoring, reverse address lookup, and more.

Traditional firewalls are more inclined towards providing security based on specific protocols and ports. However, NGFWs are focused on allowing or blocking the data packets by analyzing them at layer 7, the app layer. Traditional firewalls lack this functionality as they can analyze the traffic at app layers 3 and 4.

Reputation and Identity Services

Reputation and identity services are responsible for aggregating malicious IP addresses and their activities. These are also helpful in offering the context for the data packet filtration. These are beneficial for identifying the potential risks within the network and making the entire data filtering process more efficient and effective. However, this is a functionality offered by the NGFW products and not the traditional firewalls.

Network Speed

Another feature that clearly distinguishes the NGFWs from the traditional ones is the network speed. With the typical firewalls, another additional security layer only helps get the entire system clogged. Even if you select the top brands offering traditional firewall facilities, you still compromise the overall network speed. Such a reduction in speed does not occur with the NGFW products. These ensure steady throughput, and one doesn't need to compromise the speed or quality of their connection to get proper security.

Policy Control

Traditional firewalls majorly function on simple deny/allow models. So, if anyone has access to a decent program, he will be able to use it as per the security guidelines. However, this model seems no longer valid; hence, next-generation firewalls are advancing their policy control strategies to filter out the network's potential cyber threats and risks. These are responsible for offering granular degrees of control which determine the authenticity of the user and block access in case the person lacks proper authorization.

Working Layer

The network layer enables smooth data transmission between hosts within different networks. It is responsible for data packet routing while determining the right and shortest route for transmitting the data packets from the available paths. The typical OSI model consists of seven layers, namely:

  • Physical Layer
  • Data Link Layer
  • Network Layer
  • Transport Layer
  • Session Layer
  • Presentation Layer
  • Application Layer

The working layers in the traditional firewalls are Layer 2 to Layer 4, while it extends to Layer 7 in the case of NGFWs.


You get standard reports in the case of traditional firewalls. However, the ones available with the NGFW products are customized ones highlighting the user-level data and real-time details with additional reporting options like download formats, etc.

Final Words

The above sections highlight the key features that define the dissimilarities between the NGFW products and traditional firewalls. Whether it is in terms of the next-generation firewall vs. traditional firewall layers or the functionalities, it is advisable to select the NGFW products to tighten your company's security policies. Remember that traditional firewalls have limited features which fail miserably to control the recent security threats.

If you have second thoughts about finding the best companies offering advanced cybersecurity services, get in touch with DC Gears. A reputed name in the industry, DC Gears partners with the top brands providing network security and firewall configuration facilities. With a global presence of around 40+ countries, it is known for its outstanding round-the-clock on-site professional assistance. So give DC Gears a call now to get fair deals and exclusive offers on NGFW products in 2023!