It keeps telling me it needs to verify. I connect and it says it verifies yet I still have no protection. The Security Center says the firewall is expired, but my online account says otherwise (the online info is correct).
I sent an email to the 24 hr help line but haven't heard a thing.
Might not have been a problem with the firewall itself. I was having other problems such as inability to log onto another forum, really sluggish email, problem with red balls on this site. My last reboot seemed to have resolved all of the foregoing problems.
Now everythings working like gangbusters including firewall. I'll check into a router. Thanks for your comments.
I forgot to add that one of the reasons I added the router/firewall is because I run a full development environment on my machine (web, mysql, & mail servers) and felt it was too easy for someone to hack through the software firewall to find my servers - evenn though I believe I've closed those ports to outside traffic. The addition of the hardware firewall adds the level of protection I wanted outside of my machine and allows me to use NAT as well as control all incoming and outgoing packets.