Routers are the devices that router the data packets between the computer networks. They are the devices that manage internet traffic. Their purpose is to route the data packets between two or more computer networks. On the internet, the data is transferred in the form of data packets. Each data packet has its own destination address. The router reads the data’s destination and forwards the data packet to the right destination.
The data packet reaches every node or every router that is in the place so that it can find the correct router to get used. Each router has a routing table to verify the address that is carried by each data packet and routes it to the perfect destination.
These routing tables are of two types. They are either manual or dynamic.
Manual routing table:
These routing tables are to be changed manually or simply known as they are manually configured. Not very common.
Dynamic routing table:
These routing tables are modified with each request and updated frequently by contacting other routers in the network and enable the fast transferring of the data packets from one network to the other.
Routers can be described as any physical device that can forward, analyze, send and receive the data packets between two or more computer networks. A router can be described as a device that looks over the headers of the data packet received to find out the IP address the data packet needs to be forwarded to. It will check the forwarding tables along with the destination IP address in order to transmit the data in the shortest way possible. Many brands develop good quality routers that are cheap and reliable. The fact is that a router is more costly than some other networking devices such as hubs and switches.
The main purpose of the routers is to transfer the data or the information between the networks either it may be a LAN network or a WAN network. It can also be used to transfer the data packets between the routers themselves. The data transfers between the routers will be done by a method that is bounded by the router protocols.
Routers are the devices that are almost inevitable in the network. They are used in all network models. As you all know there are seven layers of a network. They are the physical layer, Data link layer, Network layer, Transport layer, Session layer, Application Layer. In these 7 layers, the router devices operate at the third layer which is also known as the network layer. Routers communicate with their counterparts using the IMCP protocol. IMCP means Internet control message protocol. This IMCP protocol is defined in the RFC 792. Normally this communication takes between the server and the host. The host or server sends a request and it gets a reply from the other end.
Routers are generally referred to as intelligent devices since they have the capacity to decide which path is best for the data packet to travel. They have the algorithm that decides the best path immediately and starts processing it.
In some places when you can’t use a physical router you can also use a virtual router. For starters Routers are small devices that contain some set of instructions to perform the data packet routing task. Those sets of instructions can be formed into a virtual router that can enable one to perform the operation of the routers virtually. It can also handle many activities like firewall filters and load balancing tasks.
While the devices like hubs and switches nearly perform the same tasks as the routers still the routers are preferred. Let me explain to you why. The hubs and switches perform only the routing tasks as instructed by you but the routers will go an extra mile and calculate how they should do the things. It has algorithms that make it possible for the router to calculate the easiest way to send the data. Also, routers have the capacity to connect two or more networks into many networks. Also, it can act as a bridge between many network devices.
The working method of the router:
The main purpose of the router device is to transfer the data packets it receives. The router receives the data packets and breaks open the headers of the data packets and looks for the destination IP. If the destination IP is found then it simply forwards it to the respective destination. Also, there is a table with it is known as the routing table. It has a complete map to send the data packets. The router uses the port to send the data. The routing table contains the table details where the data needs to be sent. It analyses the routing table to get the details of the port and send the packet immediately.
When you are trying to understand the routers then don’t forget to learn about the routing tables. There are mostly two types of routing tables. They are automatic and manual ones. The LAN mostly uses the manual routing table which we need to update manually. Until the manual update, the router sends the data packets to the destination to the entered destination. The second one is the automatic routing table which gets updated frequently to calculate the best possible router. You can use either one of them. Not all the routing tables will have the best possible route. We need to configure it so that it can provide the best possible route to the routers.
Some important features of the router:
- It is the work of the router to provide us the high-speed internet that we get from the providers using the ports STM, gigabit port, and the fast ethernet port.
- You can create multiple paths based on your needs.
- Multiple networks ranging from LAN to WAN can be connected through this router.
- Most of the router follow the Master/Slave method. These methods are slowly replaced in modern times.
- You can easily configure the ports with the help of the routers.
Applications of the router:
- Base station controller (BSC). This is one of the most important components in the mobile network which provides you connection with the BTS (Base transceiver station).
- Media Gateway (MGW). Media Gateway is used to used for the transformation and the interlinking between the media streams that use different physical connections and communication protocols.
- Intelligent Networks(IN). These networks are used to provide extra additional services by the telecom operators with the default services such as GSM services.
- Serving GPRS Support Node (SGSN) – This component is one of the important components of the GPRS (General Packet Radio Services). It is used to handle the switched data inside the network. It also handles mobility and the authentication of the users.
- Routers are faster than the other devices that serve the same purpose. So routers are mostly used in both wireless and the wired communications.
- Access control – Routers can be configured to restrict access to certain users and can be used to propose data transfer limits. It can restrict the way the data upload and download takes place.
- Routers are mostly used by the ISPs to transmit the data from one end to the other end network. The data may be anything from email, webpage, or any other files too. You only need the destination IP address. You have to make the destination IP address at the head of the data packet. The router will read the data packet and route it to the correct destination.
- Routers can also act as VPNs. VPN is abbreviated as a virtual private network. If you need to route all the internal traffic through a single channel then you can use the router to connect to the internet. This way you can keep track of all the traffic that goes out of the network. Also by using routers as VPN you can block certain websites from being accessed inside the office or a network.
Types of Routers:
While learning about the routers it is very important to know the different types of routers in the networking. Some of the common types of routers are discussed here.
Also, there are many types of routers that are deployed in many different types. They are as listed below.
- Core Router
- Edge Router
- Branch Router
- Logical Router
- Wireless Routers
- Broadband Routers
The above are the most commonly used router types and they are explained below.
Core routers are specifically designed routers to router the data packets only inside the network and not the outside network. When the intranet is large enough then you need a special router for handling the data packets inside the network which is specially dedicated for it. Core routers do that job. They are very fast and powerful data routers.
Edge routers are also called access routers. These routers act as the intermediator between the internal network and the external network. It can connect an internal network to the internet using the BGP. BGP stands for border gateway protocol. The edge routers can also be categorized into two types. The subscriber edge router and the label edge router.
Branch routers, as the name suggests they connect two different office locations of the same office to WAN. They act as an intermediate between two edge routers and connect them via branch routers.
Logical routers are the configured part of the hardware router. It copies the functionality of the hardware and enables you to replicate its functionalities. It helps you to mimic many router domains within the same router.
These are the highly commercialized routers that most have seen or used in our daily life. If you got high-speed internet then you are probably using a high-speed router. These broadband routers provide you with high-speed internet. They connect to the laptop or desktop through the ethernet port.
Most of the modern routers nowadays are wireless. Wired routers require more space and a complex setup. So big organizations that have big networks always love to use wireless routers. But wireless modems tend to work well in a small network. So the big network is dissolved into small networks and the networks are made to use the wireless routers.
Wireless routers provide a range in which the device can utilize the wireless connection to the internet. The wireless modems connect to the internet itself and provide wireless connectivity to all the devices connected to it. The range of the wireless routers depends on the capacity. It may range from few 100 feet to 1000 feet distance.
Benefits of a router:
- Reliable: Routers are highly reliable devices that can help you in many worst cases. If you have connected multiple networks through the router then it can save you from the network faults that sometimes occur unexpectedly. For example, if a network that is connected to other networks is down due to some issues and is connected to the router then it won’t affect the other networks. The other networks will stay connected and will continue to work and transfer data.
- Access control: With routers, you can easily control who can access and control the data. You can filter the data and monitor the data easily.
- Improved networking range: In-network any cable that connects two or more devices cannot exceed a maximum distance of about 1000 meters. But if you use routers in between then you can solve this problem by making the router regenerate the signals so that it can travel some longer distances.
Here we gonna look at the edge routers that we are using in our home and small office. We can log in to the home or office router using their default gateway IP address.
Some of the default IP address gateways are:
Using the above IP address you can easily log in to the router device. The IP address and their default router login details are given below.