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Registered: 06-2006
Location: Castle Belgalor
Posts: 2201
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posticon What is a Router ?


A router allows connectivity to one or more computers, helping create a network. For home users, these are particularly useful for taking a single broadband internet account, and spreading it to at least two or more computers. Standard routers require the internet connection from a standalone modem, but modem-routers are increasing in popularity, which can be plugged into any broadband-enabled phone line, reducing cable clutter, and only taking up one power socket.


In the telecoms industry, the backbone of the internet is formed by industrial routers. They work rather like telephone exchanges, passing data between network segments to form a connection. Each router has a configuration table, or routing table, containing information on which connections lead to certain groups of addresses, which connections have priority for usage, and rules for handling different kinds of traffic. A typical home/office router has a very small routing table, but the big routers that handle the main internet traffic can have huge complicated routing tables. Each time a router receives a packer of data it will attempt to send it along the best possible route to its destination, based on its routing table. If that connection is not currently available it will send it along the next best route. In this way, the routers that form the internet can reconfigure the paths packages take to work around any problems with the network.


The rules for handling traffic are an important part of internet security. A home/office router may have rules limiting how computers outside the network can connect to computers inside the network, as well as preventing private network traffic from spilling into the outside world. Many home routers include additional security features - they scan and filter all traffic that passes through them, usually through an integrated firewall in the hardware. Some may carry out other useful roles such as acting as a print server.


Wireless routers have become more common. A wireless router does exactly the same job in the home as a regular wired (Ethernet) router, with the difference that a computer can be connected to it without needing to run Ethernet cable between the computer and the router. All you need is a wireless network adapter in each PC you want to connect, usually in the form of a card in your PCI slot (or a laptop's PCMCIA card slot) or an adapter for USB. Wireless routers generally have four ports to connect Ethernet cable as well, so computers can be connected by whatever means is most convenient - you might want to use a cable for your desktop PC which sits right next to the router, but use the wireless adapter in your laptop.
12/6/08, 19:52 Link to this Post Send a PM to this person Blog
 


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