Router: what is it and what is it for?

The router allows communication between the local network and the Internet. Find out everything you need to know about it: definition, operation, different categories…

We (almost) all use the internet, but from many people don’t know how this technology works. Among the various elements necessary for the proper functioning of the Internet is the router.

The router is a device for communication between a home local area network and the Internet. The home LAN can be, for example, a personal computer or a connected object.

What is a router and what is it for?

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As mentioned before, a router allows firstly to communication between a home local area network and the Internet.

A router also makes it possible to protect the network from possible intrusion. Thus, by activating the highest level of security on the router, it is possible to protect the computer and the information it contains from cyber attacks.

Routers contain a software program called “firmware” . As a precaution, this software must be updated each time an update is deployed by the router manufacturer.

Router: how does it work?

The router connects a modem to other devicesto enable communication between these devices and the Internet. Most routers have multiple network ports to allow multiple devices to be connected to the Internet simultaneously.

Typically, a router physically connects to the modem via a network cable via an Internet or WAN port. It then also connects physically via a cable to a network interface card of the devices to be connected to the Internet.

The router analyzes the destination IP address of a data packetcalculates the best route to take to reach its destination, and sends the data packet.

Most routers connect to other network devices only through cables, and do not require drivers to run on Windows or other operating systems. However, this is not the case for routers that connect via USB or FireWire.

There are also wireless routers that can be connected using different wireless standards to devices compatible with the same standards. Wireless routers act as network switches allowing devices to communicate with each other and exchange information.

The IP address assigned to the WAN or Internet connection is a public IP address. In contrast, the IP address assigned to the Local Area Network (LAN) connection is a private IP address. The private IP addresses assigned to the router are usually the default gateway for the various devices in the network.

Router: what are the different types and the main manufacturers?

typical routers

Most routers are manufactured by market leaders : Linksys, 3Com, Belkin, D-Link, Motorola, TRENDnet, Cisco… but there are many other manufacturers.

There are also different types of routers. Core routers are the fastest and most powerful. They are used by internet service providers. Located at the center of the Internet, they transfer information via the main fiber optic backbone. Enterprise routers allow large corporate networks to be connected to these core routers.

A Edge router, also known as an access router. is a lower-capacity device. It is located at the edge of a local area network (LAN), and allows you to connect the network to a WAN, the Internet, or external LANs. Small desktop routers and home routers fall into this category.

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