What is a Router?
A router receives and sends data on computer networks. Routers are sometimes confused with network hubs, modems, or network switches. However, routers can combine the functions of these components, and connect with these devices, to improve Internet access or help create business networks.
Types of routers
Core routers are generally used by service providers (i.e. AT&T, Verizon, Vodafone) or cloud providers (i.e. Google, Amazon, Microsoft). They provide maximum bandwidth to connect additional routers or switches. Most small businesses will not need core routers. But very large enterprises that have many employees working in various buildings or locations may use core routers as part of their network architecture.
An edge router, also called a gateway router or just “gateway” for short, is a network’s outermost point of connection with external networks, including the Internet.
Edge routers are optimized for bandwidth and designed to connect to other routers to distribute data to end users. Edge routers don’t usually offer Wi-Fi or the ability to manage local networks fully. They typically have only Ethernet ports—an input to connect to the Internet and several outputs to connect additional routers.
Edge router and modem are somewhat interchangeable terms, though the latter term is no longer commonly used by manufacturers or IT professionals when referencing edge routers.
A distribution router, or interior router, receives data from the edge router (or gateway) via a wired connection and sends it on to end users, typically via Wi-Fi, though the router usually also includes physical (Ethernet) connections for connecting users or additional routers.
Wireless routers, or residential gateways, combine the functions of edge routers and distribution routers. These are commonplace routers for home networks and Internet access.
Most service providers provide full-featured wireless routers as standard equipment. But even if you have the option to use an ISP’s wireless router in your small business, you may want to use a business-level router to take advantage of better wireless performance, more connectivity controls, and security.
Virtual routers are pieces of software that allow some router functions to be virtualized in the cloud and delivered as a service. These routers are ideal for large businesses with complex network needs. They offer flexibility, easy scalability, and a lower entry cost. Another benefit of virtual routers is reduced management of local network hardware.
How does a router work?
Routers guide and direct network data, using packets that contain various kinds of data—such as files, communications, and simple transmissions like web interactions.
The data packets have several layers, or sections, one of which carries identifying information such as sender, data type, size, and most importantly, the destination IP (Internet protocol) address. The router reads this layer, prioritizes the data, and chooses the best route to use for each transmission.
If you are looking for a new Wi-Fi router for your office, there are some important features you should be aware of.
FEATURES OF A ROUTER
Look at any router and you will quickly see that there are a number of different networks available. The four most commonly found are 802.1b, 802.1g, 802.1n, and 802.11ac. These designations indicate how fast the router can transfer wireless data, with 802.11ac being the fastest of these four. Those who want to connect multiple devices via Wi-Fi or cable may do better with 802.11ac router.
This is closely associated with the router’s network type, and is usually one of the first things listed on router boxes and specifications. To spot the router’s throughput, look for Mbps. This indicates the speed at which the router is supposed to transmit data from your connection to users.
Keep in mind that if you have a 100Mbps internet connection, but a router that is only, say, 80 Mbps, then the total speed will be the lower figure. Therefore, it would be a good idea to get a router with a higher throughput to accommodate faster connections.
This is particularly important for users who will be connecting via Wi-Fi as they will likely not be sitting right beside the router. The farther you are from your router, the slower and weaker your connection will be. Typically, 802.11ac will offer the strongest connections and greatest range.
On every single router’s box, you will see numbers like 5Ghz and 2.4Ghz. These indicate the wireless radios on the router. A dual-band router will have both 5Ghz and 2.4Ghz radios which allow devices to connect to different bands so as not to overload a connection. Those who connect to a 5Ghz band will generally have better performance, but the broadcast range will be much shorter than the 2.4Ghz radio.
Quality of service (QoS)
QoS is a newer feature that allows the router administrator to limit certain types of traffic. For example, you can use the QoS feature of a router to completely block all torrent traffic, or limit it so that other users can have equal bandwidth. Not every router has this ability, but it is a highly beneficial feature for office routers.
Beamforming is a recent feature that’s becoming a standard in mid- to high-end routers. It is a form of signal technology that allows for better throughput in dead areas of a business. In other words, it can help improve the connection quality with devices behind solid walls or in rooms with high amounts of interference.
By utilizing this technology, routers can see where connection is weak and act to improve it. While this is available on routers with many network types, it is really only useful with routers running 802.11ac. Those who don’t mind paying a higher price point for an increase in network performance should consider this feature.
Multiple input, multiple output (MIMO)
MIMO is the use of multiple antennas to increase performance and overall throughput. MIMO-enabled routers ensure that more devices can connect to one router with less interference.
When it comes to real-world tests, there is often a slight improvement if antennas are configured and aimed properly. However, getting a high-end router with six or more antennae may be an unnecessary cost for small businesses.
There’s a lot to consider when it comes to picking a router, which is why we recommend you contact us. We can evaluate your networking needs and help you find the best set up for your business.
Most routers are multiprotocol routers and are capable of handling multiple network layer protocols. To make this possible, router must be equipped with appropriate software for each protocol to be supported. Unlike bridges, routers can intelligently determine most efficient path from source to any destination. To make this possible, various algorithms such as RIP, OSPF, BGP are used as routing protocols.
Benefits or advantages of Routers
Following are the benefits or advantages of Routers:
➨It provides connection between different network architectures such as ethernet & token ring etc.
➨It can choose best path across the internetwork using dynamic routing algorithms.
➨It can reduce network traffic by creating collision domains and also by creating broadcast domains.
➨It provides sophisticated routing, flow control and traffic isolation.
➨They are configurable which allows network manager to make policy based on routing decisions.
Drawbacks or disadvantages of Routers
Following are the drawbacks or disadvantages of Routers:
➨They operate based on routable network protocols.
➨They are expensive compare to other network devices.
➨Dynamic router communications can cause additional network overhead. This results into less bandwidth for user data.
➨They are slower as they need to analyze data from layer-1 through layer-3.
➨They require considerable amount of initial configurations.
➨They are protocol dependent devices which must understand the protocol they are forwarding
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