What Is A Router & How Does It Work?

A router is a piece of equipment that many people are confused about. You might want to learn
about a router because somebody told you that you needed one. Or maybe you have one but not
sure how to use it. A router is a crucial part of the internet setup. It is a typical home network device that allows communication between your local and home network and the internet.

The piece of network hardware used in small and home network is called a residential gateway, but it is often known commonly as a router. Let us learn more about a router and how it works.

What is a Router?

A router is essentially a small hardware device between your computer and the modem. It is
generally about the same shape and size as a modem. Routers are the nodes that make up a
computer network like the internet. For example, the router used at home is the central node of
your home network.

A router manages all the information between the internet and the devices connected to the
network. In short, a router directs the incoming traffic to the destination. It is capable of collecting
information from various networks and deliver them to several devices. This means one can sit in the office on the desktop and his kids can be on their computer in their room, and both can use the
internet simultaneously using the same internet connection. The router is also the first line of security in protecting the network from malicious attacks.

What Does a Router Do?

The router handles network traffic. While it is entirely optional to get a router, there are many
reasons one may want to consider buying one. The primary function of the router is being able to
use multiple devices in the house, at the same time, without having to purchase separate internet
connections for them.

If a household has more than one computer connecting to the internet, a router is necessary to
manage the incoming network signals. When you request for a website on your browser from the
computer, the data packages code from the server transit through different nodes on the internet
and reach the router to be received on the computer. Once on the device, the browser decodes the packages to display the content you requested.

A router ensures that the packages for a website you want to see on the computer don’t get
received on the phone. It takes care of this by making use of the device’s address. Each of the
devices on your network has a unique MAC address, and the router keeps track of what device
requested what information. It distributes the incoming data packages accordingly to the right
recipient.

A router is also the first line of security against intrusion into your network. You should enable the
right security level on the router to keep your system and data safe from online attacks. Routers
consist of firmware which should be updated as released by the manufacturer.

How Does a Router Work?

Most routers connect to the network devices through cables though those connecting through USB or Firewire require driver installation to work correctly. Routers connect the modem such as a cable, DSL or fiber modem to other devices in the network to facilitate communication between the devices and the internet. Most routers, including wireless, generally offer several network ports to allow connecting multiple devices to the internet at the same time.

A router typically connects using a network cable to the modem through the WAN port and again
through the network cable to the network interface card of the devices you have. A wireless router
connects through different wireless standards to devices that support the measure.

Wired, and wireless routers featuring multiple connections even act as network switches that allow communication between the connected devices. Some computers connected to the router can share files and printers among themselves.

How to Set Up a Router?

Routers are generally plugged and play devices that don’t need a lot of setups to start functioning.
However, as a router is also a security device, it is usually essential to manually #configure it. You
can make changes to the network function by accessing the software it uses.

You can change the default administrator settings of the router, change the login credentials, change the Wi-Fi password, encrypt the network, update the firmware, select a different network name, set up port forwarding rules and disable remote administration to add an extra layer of security to your network.

Buying a Router

Routers come in a great variety with different sizes and shapes. Most popular routers are
manufactured by brands such as Belkin, Linksys, D-Link, 3Com, Motorola, Cisco, and TRENDnet. With a wide variety of options available, it can be challenging to decide which router you should buy.

There are numerous factors you should consider before buying your router. The most important
considerations are the router’s power to make sure all the devices can receive access to the internet, its speed to be able to support your devices and their Internet speed, Gigabit and USB ports it offers and more.

The most popular routers are dual-band which gives you a choice to transfer information over two radio frequencies to offer increased Bandwidth. This reduces the lag you experience when multiple devices access the internet at the same time. If some people in your home like playing games and streaming videos, a dual-band router is an excellent choice for you.

Emil S.

Emil is a Data & Design Specialist with a degree in BS Information System, specializes in Admin Support & Creative Design. He also manages his own Art Portfolio on Instagram: @escreativesph

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