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All Categories » Router & Firewall Installation » Router
Added by Michael Cummins of Computer Assistant
Tuesday, April 6, 2010


A router is a device that forwards data packets along networks. A router is connected to at least two networks, commonly two LANs or WANs or a LAN and its ISP's network. Routers are located at gateways, the places where two or more networks connect, and are the critical device that keeps data flowing between networks and keeps the networks connected to the Internet. 

When data is sent between locations on one network or from one network to a second network the data is always seen and directed to the correct location by the router. The router accomplishes this by using headers and forwarding tables to determine the best path for forwarding the data packets, and they also use protocols such as ICMP to communicate with each other and configure the best route between any two hosts.

The Internet itself is a global network connecting millions of computers and smaller networks — so you can see how crucial the role of a router is to our way of communicating and computing.

Why Would I Need a Router?

For most home users, they may want to set-up a LAN (local Area Network) or WLAN (wireless LAN) and connect all computers to the Internet without having to pay a full broadband subscription service to their ISP for each computer on the network. In many instances, an ISP will allow you to use a router and connect multiple computers to a single Internet connection and pay a nominal fee for each additional computer sharing the connection. This is when home users will want to look at smaller routers, often called broadband routers that enable two or more computers to share an Internet connection. Within a business or organization,  you may need to connect multiple computers to the Internet, but also want to connect multiple private networks — and these are the types of functions a router is designed for.

Difference between the types of routers

Wireless A, first introduced in October of 1999, was the first wireless model available to the public. It had a maximum bit rate of 54 Mbit/s and could only go 100 feet before the signal was lost.

Also released in 1999 was Wireless B. This had a really slow bit rate at a maximum of 11 Mbit/s, but what you lost in speed you gained with distance and you could go about 150 feet.

After that came Wireless G. Like Wireless A, it had a maximum bit rate of 54 Mbit/s, but you could also get the distance of Wireless B’s 150 feet. Most modern (as of this writing) wireless households have Wireless G; it’s currently the most common type of wireless router throughout the world.

Wireless N is the relatively new kid on the block. This is next gen wireless and has a maximum bit rate of 74 Mbit/s and can go about 230 feet. It’s also said that Wireless N travels at a higher frequency and can go through solid objects faster. Instead of running on a 2.4 GHz network like Wireless A, B, and G, it travels on a 5 GHz network.


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