A firewall is a dedicated appliance, or software running on a computer, which inspects network traffic passing through it, and denies or permits passage based on a set of rules.
It is normally placed between a protected network and an unprotected network and acts like a gate to protect assets to ensure that nothing private goes out and nothing malicious comes in.
A firewall's basic task is to regulate some of the flow of traffic between computer networks of different trust levels. Typical examples are the Internet which is a zone with no trust and an internal network which is a zone of higher trust. A zone with an intermediate trust level, situated between the Internet and a trusted internal network, is often referred to as a "perimeter network" or Demilitarized zone (DMZ).
A firewall's function within a network is similar to physical firewalls with fire doors in building construction. In the former case, it is used to prevent network intrusion to the private network. In the latter case, it is intended to contain and delay structural fire from spreading to adjacent structures