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A router is a networking device that forwards data packets between computer networks. Routers perform the traffic directing functions on the Internet. A data packet is typically forwarded from one router to another router through the networks that constitute the internetwork until it reaches its destination node. A router is connected to two or more data lines from different networks. When a data packet comes in on one of the lines, the router reads the network address information in the packet to determine the ultimate destination. Then, using information in its routing table or routing policy, it directs the packet to the next network on its journey. This creates an overlay internetwork. The most familiar type of routers are home and small office routers that simply pass IP packets between the home computers and the Internet. An example of a router would be the owner's cable or DSL router, which connects to the Internet through an Internet service provider (ISP). More sophisticated routers, such as enterprise routers, connect large business or ISP networks up to the powerful core routers that forward data at high speed along the optical fiber lines of the Internet backbone. Routers may also be used to connect two or more logical groups of computer devices known as subnets, each with a different network prefix. The network prefixes recorded in the routing table do not necessarily map directly to the physical interface connections.


Broadband routers: Broadband routers can do different types of things. Broadband routers can be used to connect computers or to connect to the


Internet. If you connect to the internet through phone and using Voice over IP technology (VOIP) then you need broadband router. These are often a special type of modem (ADSL) that will have both Ethernet and phone jacks.

Wireless router: Wireless routers create a wireless signal in your home or office. So, any PC within range of Wireless routers can connect it and use your Internet. In order to secure your Wireless routers, you simply need to come secure it with password or get your IP address. Then, you'll log on into your router with the user ID and passwords will that come with your router.

Edge Router : This type of router are placed at the edge of the ISP network, the are normally configured to external protocol like BGP (Border gateway protocol) to another BGP of other ISP or large organization.

Subscriber Edge Router: This type of router belongs to an end user (enterprise) organization. It’s configured to broadcast external BGP to it’s provider’s AS(s)

Inter-provider Border Router: This type of router is for Interconnecting ISPs, this is a BGP speaking router that maintains BGP sessions with other BGP speaking routers in other providers' ASes.

Core Router: A router that resides within the middle or backbone of the LAN network rather than at its periphery. In some instances , a core router provides a stepdown backbone , interconnecting the distribution routers from multiple building of a campus ( LAN), or Large enterprise Location (WAN). They tend to be optimized for a high brand width.


Wired and Wireless Routers: Home and small office networking is becoming popular by day by the use of IP wired and wireless router. Wired and wireless router are able to maintain routing and configuration information in their routing table. They also provide the service of filtering traffic of incoming and outgoing packets based on IP addresses. Some wireless routers combines the functions of router with those of a network switch and that of a firewall in one.

A router has two stages of operation called planes

Control plane: A router maintains a routing table that lists which route should be used to forward a data packet, and through which physical interface connection. It does this using internal pre-configured directives, called static routes, or by learning routes using a dynamic routing protocol. Static and dynamic routes are stored in the Routing Information Base (RIB). The control-plane logic then strips non-essential directives from the RIB and builds a Forwarding Information Base (FIB) to be used by the forwarding-plane.

Forwarding plane: The router forwards data packets between incoming and outgoing interface connections. It routes them to the correct network type using information that the packet header contains. It uses data recorded in the routing table control plane.

Routers may provide connectivity within enterprises, between enterprises and the Internet, or between internet service providers' (ISPs) networks. The largest routers (such as the Cisco CRS-1 or Juniper PTX) interconnect the various ISPs, or may be used in large enterprise networks. Smaller routers usually


provide connectivity for typical home and office networks. Other networking solutions may be provided by a backbone Wireless Distribution System (WDS), which avoids the costs of introducing networking cables into buildings.

All sizes of routers may be found inside enterprises. The most powerful routers are usually found in ISPs, academic and research facilities. Large businesses may also need more powerful routers to cope with ever-increasing demands of intranet data traffic. A three-layer model is in common use, not all of which need be present in smaller networks.


The first router, the Interface Message Processor delivered to the UCLA ARPANET site August 30, 1969, and went online October 29, 1969. The very first device that had fundamentally the same functionality as a router does today was the Interface Message Processor (IMP); IMPs were the devices that made up the ARPANET, the first TCP/IP network. The idea for a router (called "gateways" at the time) initially came about through an international group of computer networking researchers called the International Network Working Group (INWG). Set up in 1972 as an informal group to consider the technical issues involved in connecting different networks, later that year it became a subcommittee of the International Federation for Information Processing. These devices were different from most previous packet switching schemes in two ways. First, they connected dissimilar kinds of networks, such as serial lines and local area networks. Second, they were connectionless devices, which had no role in assuring that traffic was delivered reliably, leaving that entirely to the


hosts. The idea was explored in more detail, with the intention to produce a prototype system as part of two contemporaneous programs. One was the initial DARPA-initiated program, which created the TCP/IP architecture in use today. The other was a program at Xerox PARC to explore new networking technologies, which produced the PARC Universal Packet system; due to corporate intellectual property concerns it received little attention outside Xerox for years. Sometime after early 1974, the first Xerox routers became operational. The first true IP router was developed by Virginia Strazisar at BBN, as part of that DARPA-initiated effort, during 1975-1976. By the end of 1976, three PDP-11-based routers were in service in the experimental

prototype Internet. The first multiprotocol routers were independently created by staff researchers at MIT and Stanford in 1981; the Stanford router was done by William Yeager, and the MIT one by Noel Chiappa; both were also based on PDP-11s. Virtually all networking now uses TCP/IP, but multiprotocol routers are still manufactured. They were important in the early stages of the growth of computer networking when protocols other than TCP/IP were in use. Modern Internet routers that handle both IPv4 and IPv6 are multiprotocol but are simpler devices than routers processing AppleTalk, DECnet, IP and Xerox

protocols. From the mid-1970s and in the 1980s, general-purpose mini- computers served as routers. Modern high-speed routers are highly specialized computers with extra hardware added to speed both common routing functions, such as packet forwarding, and specialized functions such as IPsec encryption. There is substantial use of Linux and Unix software based machines, running open source routing code, for research and other applications. The Cisco IOS


operating system was independently designed. Major router operating systems, such as Junos and NX-OS, are extensively modified versions of Unix software.


Routing is the process of forwarding IP packets from one network to another.

A router is a device that joins networks together and routes traffic between

them. A router will have at least two network cards (NICs), one physically connected to one network and the other physically connected to another network. A router can connect any number of networks together providing it has a dedicated NIC for each network.


The router is a fundamental building block of modern business networks, providing traffic with a gateway to both the Internet and other networks. Routers make flexible cross-network communication possible, and allow larger networks to remain operational even during redesigns or outages. They can also play important secondary roles on a network, with many combined with other devices such as firewalls, modems and switches to product versatile all-in-one networking solutions.



router often acts as the default gateway for the computers (something known


“hosts”) on a LAN. This means that when a host wants to contact another


host on a different network, it simply sends that traffic to the router. That router then uses a dynamically generated map of the surrounding network known as a routing table to work out where the data should be forwarded to. This process is repeated as many times as necessary until the data reaches its destination.

Broadcast Restriction

Routers can help to limit traffic by preventing hosts from being able to talk to each other at once. Most LANs allow hosts to communicate through broadcast, whereby a host sends traffic to every other host on its network. This is fine for small networks, but can create congestion as more hosts are added. Using routers as gateways to break networks up into smaller parts restricts the number of hosts a given host can broadcast to at any one time.


Many routers now feature the capabilities of a wireless access point, allowing them to broadcast a Wi-Fi signal to surrounding devices. Wireless routers work in the same way as their wired counterparts, but communicate over a wireless LAN rather than a wired one. This allows for a convenient networking setup in homes and small offices, as the same device is used to communicate with external networks (usually through a DSL or cable connection) and manage wireless traffic.


Other Functions

The router's place on the edge of a network makes it an ideal location for additional network services. Many routers offer firewall functions, checking traffic as it enters and leaves a network. A router may also act as a network switch, using Ethernet ports to direct intra-network traffic. Combined modem- routers are also common. These devices do not need an external modem to communicate over a DSL or cable line, meaning that the router may be the only piece of additional hardware needed to set up a small network.



Craig Partridge, S. Blumenthal, "Data networking at BBN"; IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, Volume 28, Issue 1; January–March 2006.

David D. Clark, "M.I.T. Campus Network Implementation", CCNG-2, Campus Computer Network Group, M.I.T., Cambridge, 1982; pp. 26.

Davies, Shanks, Heart, Barker, Despres, Detwiler and Riml, "Report of Subgroup 1 on Communication System", INWG Note No. 1.




2005. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)



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