Campus Firewall

The campus firewall is the University network's first line of defense against security threats coming from the Internet.

A firewall is a combination of hardware and software that separates an organization's local network from another, usually the Internet. Firewalls help an organization define what types of network traffic it will allow between its network and the Internet.

There are three main reasons Illinois Wesleyan has a firewall:

  1. Security: The firewall provides security by letting us exclude types of services that could put university resources at risk.

  2. Resource allocation: The firewall helps with resource allocation by reserving certain services for on-campus users only.

  3. Address translation: The firewall also provides IP address translation, which lets us more easily configure certain on-campus resources and provides additional flexibility for future network changes.

The firewall lets us block either inbound or outbound services (also known as "TCP ports"). If you are starting a network connection to a service off campus, you are using an outbound services. Almost all outbound services are open for your use. If someone from off-campus is trying to start a connection to a service on our campus network, that would be an inbound service. The firewall blocks most  inbound connections except for services such as e-mail and web access to designated Illinois Wesleyan servers. This means that you cannot set-up a web server on your computer and expect people from off-campus to get to your computer. Also, because we allow most outgoing connections, the firewall DOES allow students to connect to services such as Internet games.

Using a firewall to protect an organization's network is a common security measure. An EDUCAUSE study of information technology security at institutions of higher education found that 84% of colleges and universities are already using firewalls or in the process of putting one in place, and another 8% are planning a firewall for their campus network.

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