Research Output

Analysis of Firewall Performance Variation to Identify the Limits of Automated Network Reconfigurations.

  Security in computer networks is typically passive, static, and reactive. This is typically due to most networking devices being rule-based, and when updates are necessary, they are normally done manually. Ultimately, the social and hierarchical structure of an organisation should be visible within the configuration of networks. Hence, it is desirable for a distributed system to be capable of reconfiguring itself in a timely-manner to reflect changes in policy, in practices, and in the social hierarchy, such as the promotion of a member of staff, or in the face of a security threat, such as in malware propagation.

This paper builds on the concept of an automated mitigation and reconfiguration system for networked devices, and evaluates key firewall system performance tests. These could be important in defining the criteria for the success of this type of security implementation. It thus defines a range of experiments, which evaluate firewall parameters, such as number of rules, and their position in relation to performance metrics, such as CPU utilisation, bandwidth consumption, and network latency. The paper also includes tests with up to 65,000 rules, and presents results on the positions of the rules, such as on the incoming and outgoing ports, and the effect of different network throughputs.

It concludes that networks can be made more resilient, under heavy network loads and large rule sets, if rule sets are applied on the outgoing ports. It also shows evidence that configuration interfaces are the performance bottleneck for multi-agent systems that may use these to reconfigure network equipments dynamically.

  • Date:

    01 June 2006

  • Publication Status:


  • Publisher

    Academic Conferences Limited

  • Library of Congress:

    QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    005.8 Data security


Saliou, L., Buchanan, W. J., Graves, J. & Munoz, J. (2006). Analysis of Firewall Performance Variation to Identify the Limits of Automated Network Reconfigurations. In Hutchinson, W. (Ed.). ISBN 1905305206 & 9781905305209



Computer networks; Firewall performance; Automated reconfiguration; Automated mitigation; Evaluation; Configuration interface bottleneck;

Available Documents