With the current demand of data consumption, it’s no surprise that the Internet has become more of a necessity than a luxury. Individuals rely on blazing fast connections such as DSL or T1 in order to complete daily activities such as sending and receiving emails. In fact, the need for Internet connection in most businesses and households usually extends to more than one individual. In order to alleviate the need of having to requisite a broadband connection from a service provider for each computer in the home or office, routers have been developed in order to share a single line of service to multiple desktops and laptops. Other than allowing access to the Internet, most people don’t really understand what a router is or how it works. To better understand the nature of routers, follow the steps below to get a better understanding of what routers can do and how it can affect you.
- What a router does. Simply put, a router is a device that shares a single Internet connection to multiple users. Residing on what is known as the OSI Layer 3, a router is a networking device that routes traffic from your network to the Internet, and vice versa. The router takes a request from multiple terminals in a local network and sends it to the wide area network, also known as the Internet, and retrieves the data or web page in order to be returned to the originating computer. The routing is done so quickly and efficiently that most people don’t realize they are sharing a single connection. Depending on the type of router you may have or the features included, a router can do much more for your network.
- Understanding the types of routers available. With the rate of progress in networking technology, routers have gone from being an added networking component to an all in one device. Routers generally fall under two types of categories based on use, the consumer class and the business class. Consumer class variants are often meant for handling the traffic for a few terminals, usually up to 32 devices. The business routers on the other hand, depending on the networking topology, can be in charge of providing Internet access for up to 256 computers, sometimes more.
- Various features found in routers. When you walk into an electronics store or browse an online website, you’ll be surprised at how many different routers are available for purchase. What separate the devices from each other are the features the router provides other than the connecting users to wide area networks. For example, you may find routers that provide wireless access with varying speeds including wireless A, B, G or N technologies. Or you may find routers that only include wired Ethernet connections with speeds of 10/100/1000MBps. Sometimes you can find routers that include both types of connections. Other feature sets include built-in firewalls, switches or traffic data monitoring services. Depending on what needs you may have for your network; the various feature sets found on routers today are plentiful.