Router: Needs and How Does It Work?

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Router is hardware device designed to receive, analyze and move data from one network to another network and making them perform other actions relating to a network. The primary function of a router is to connect networks together and keep certain kinds of broadcast traffic under control. There are several companies that make routers, for example, Cisco, Hp.

Why do we need a router?
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  • Perform Protocol Translation (Wired Ethernet to Wireless/Wifi, or Ethernet to CATV).
  • Move (route) data between networks.
  • Calculate 'best paths' to reach network destinations.
How does router work?
  • A router has more capabilities than other network devices, such as a hub or a switch that are only able to perform basic network functions. For example, a hub is used to transfer data between computers or network devices but does not analyze with the data it is transferring.
  • On the contrast, routers can analyze the data being sent over a network, change how it is packaged, and send it to another network or over a different network. For example, routers are commonly used in home networks to share a single Internet connection between multiple computers.
  • When the router receives a web page request from your computer, it checks the destination IP address.
  • The bits forming the destination IP address in the IP packet are used as a key point to the correct route, which in turn points to the correct network interface that the packet should be forward.
  • The router transmits the packet to the correct interface to the next route, these process repeats until the packet reaches the destination.
  • Routers contain a processor (CPU), several kinds of digital memory and input-output (I/O) interfaces. They function as special-purpose computers, which do not require a keyboard or display.
  • The router's memory stores an embedded operating system (O/S). Router operating systems limit what kind of applications can be run on them and also need much smaller amounts of storage space compared to general-purpose OS products like Microsoft Windows or Apple Mac OS.
  • These operating systems are manufactured into a binary firmware image and are commonly called router firmware.
  • By maintaining configuration information in a part of memory called the routing table, routers also can filter both incoming and outgoing traffic based on the addresses of senders and receivers
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