Router today is no longer a device that no one understands. It is a device that is used to connect multiple users to a network at the same time. Generally, that network is the internet, which keeps everyone connected to it be able to access the internet with absolutely no hassle at all. It is mostly used in businesses of all sizes, though lately, several houses with multiple PCs have also started making use of it.
Internally, a router is a really complicated device, and those who don’t understand how it works could really have a really hard time bringing it back up. Usually, original equipment manufacturer companies send out their executives to fix them for you, though you can also ask your service provider to help you out with the same. These executives are well trained in all aspects of routers and can get you a positive resolution in no time.
However, if you don’t have a warranty on your device, most of the times online support is your only way out, which is not sufficient for most of the people. If you too have been stuck in such a situation and have not been able to get the kind of support you need from anyone, call us. We at customer help number pride ourselves to be the best service providers of all kinds of routers in the UK.
Our team has got years of experience in fixing all kinds of router-related issues, which they put to use while helping you out. Whenever you call, you can expect the most appropriate resolution for you within a matter for a few minutes. You can also have our experts help you out with the same by logging into your PC by making use of the latest remote access technology.
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When multiple routers are used in interconnected networks, the routers exchange information about destination addresses using a dynamic routing protocol. Each router builds up a table listing the preferred routes between any two systems on the interconnected networks. A router has interfaces for different physical types of network connections, (such as copper cables, fiber optic, or wireless transmission). It also contains firmware for different networking Communications protocol standards. Each network interface uses this specialized computer software to enable data packets to be forwarded from one protocol transmission system to another.
Routers may also be used to connect two or more logical groups of computer devices known as subnets, each with a different sub-network address. The subnets addresses recorded in the router do not necessarily map directly to the physical interface connections. A router has two stages of operation called planes:
Control plane: A router records a routing table listing what route should be used to forward a data packet, and through which physical interface connection. It does this by using internal pre-configured addresses, called static routes.
A typical home or small office router showing the ADSL telephone line and Ethernet network cable connections
Forwarding plane: The router forwards data packets between incoming and outgoing interface connections. It routes it 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, and between internet service providers (ISPs) networks. The largest routers (such as the Cisco CRS-1 or Juniper T1600) 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.
Types of Routers
Routers are of many kinds depending on the need of the enterprises, individuals and official use. Largest routers such as Cisco CRS-1 and Juniper T-1600 are used to set up the network of large organizations and even of the ISPs. Routers can be divided into three broad categories depending upon the need of the network. First of their kind are internet connectivity routers, are large multipurpose routers. These routers are used to exchange and carry information through the Border Gateway Protocol. Internet connectivity routers are further divided into four subcategories. These four subcategories include edge router, subscriber edge router, inter-provider border router and core router.
When a router is placed at the boundary of an ISP and when they communicate with the large autonomous router and external router, it is called edge router. Working at the boundary of the subscriber’s network, this router helps to communicate between BGP speaker and ISPs AS. When two border gateway protocols speak to each other via ASes, it is called an inter-provider border router.
A router that provides sufficient support to the LAN, by becoming an integral part of the LAN is called core router. Second important kind of routers is SOHO routers. When a router is inserted to make a connection to a DSL or other networks for a small geographical area it is known as SOHO connectivity. Third of its types are enterprise routers. Enterprise routers have further three branches access, distribution and core routers.
Low-cost SOHO routers are placed at the branch offices for simple routing operations; they are termed as access routers. Distribution routers collect a flow of data from several routers and bring it to main location. Distribution routers increase the efficiency of large networks such as WAN. Core routers are used to connect the dispersed network routers in order to achieve high bandwidth.
How Routers Work
Routers are network devices which transfer the data packets along networks by determining the paths of the networks. Routers determine a path to many networks such as Electronic networks, Transportation networks, and telephone networks. Routers mainly operate in two ways using either control plane or forwarding plane. In control plane, the router acts in a more neat and smart way. It sends the precise data packets to their specific location. While following a forwarding plane, a router does not need to remember the sending or receiving information about the packets. The ultimate objective of the router is to deliver the data packets. The forwarding decision takes place at the data link layer of the OSI model.
Why do I need a Router?
Routers used in networks perform the following functions:
- Restrict broadcasts to the LAN
- Act as the default gateway.
- Move (route) data between networks
- Learn and advertise loop-free paths
- Restrict Broadcasts to the LAN
Networks (especially Ethernet networks) use broadcast communication at the physical, data link and network layer. Network layer broadcasts are transmissions sent to all hosts using the network layer protocol (usually Internet Protocol [IP] or IPX). Network broadcast communication is used to communicate certain kinds of information that makes the network function (ARP, RARP, DHCP, IPX-SAP broadcasts etc.). Since several devices could attempt to transmit simultaneously and cause collisions, it is preferable to separate large sets of hosts into different broadcast domains using a switch, or router.
As the number of hosts on the network increases, the number of broadcast traffic increases. If enough broadcast traffic is present on the network, then ordinary communication across the network becomes difficult.
To reduce broadcasts, a network administrator can break up a network with a large number of hosts into two smaller networks. Broadcasts are then restricted to each network, and the router performs as the ‘default gateway’ to reach the hosts on the other networks.
Act as the Default Gateway
Especially in today’s networks, people are connecting to the Internet. When your computer wants to talk to a computer on another network, it does so by sending your data to the default gateway (your local router). The router receives your data, looks for the remote address of that far-off computer makes a routing decision and forwards your data out a different interface that is closer to that remote computer. There could be several routers between you and the remote computer, so several routers will take part in handing off the packet, much like a fireman’s bucket brigade.
Move (route) Data between Networks
Routers have the capability to move data from one network to another. This allows two networks managed by different organizations to exchange data. They create a network between them and exchange data between the routers on that network. Because a router can accept traffic from any kind of network it is attached to, and forward it to any other network, it can also allow networks that could not normally communicate with each other to exchange data. In technical terms, a token ring network and an Ethernet network can communicate over a serial network. Routers make all this possible.
A router can take in an Ethernet frame, strip the Ethernet data off, and then drop the IP data into a frame of another type such as SDH/SONET, PDH/T1, ATM, and FDDI. In this way a router can also perform ‘protocol conversion’, provided it has the appropriate hardware and software to support such a function. The whole point, however, is to forward the data from the interface it receives data on, to another interface that retransmits the received data onto another interface serving another network.
Learn and Advertise Loop-Free Paths
Routers can only learn and advertise routes dynamically if they are using a routing protocol such as RIP, OSPF, EIGRP, IS-IS or BGP. Otherwise, a human has to configure the routes by hand, which is called static routing.
Routing moves data on a hop-by-hop basis, what is often called ‘hot potato’ routing. If a set of routers ends up passing the data around in a circle, without reaching the destination, it’s called a ‘routing loop’. Packets get tossed around the loop until they die of old age: their ‘Time to Live’ counter in the IP datagram is decremented as it passes through each router and eventually it reaches zero and is discarded.
Advantages of Routers
Routers deliver the packets of data in an organized way, thus lowering the data load. Routers enable a stead and reliable connection between network hosts. Routers make use of alternative parts in case the main parts fail to transfer data packets. Another advanced version of network routers is wireless routers. The wireless routers establish a communication link between devices and networks without the use of wires. Placing a wireless router in the center of your home will enable you to work anywhere you want to in your home including your lawn and swimming pool. If we compare the bridges with network routers, we would end up saying bridges are passive transfer devices which are not able to determine the network path. Hence routers can be used as an adaptable device.
Uses of Routers based on different factors
A broadband connection also requires a router to deliver information to your computer. It collects the data coming through a broadband signal and sends to the computer via the best possible route so that minimum time is required for data transfer. Now that you know the role routers play in connecting various networks in one loop, let’s have a look at the types of routers available for use.
Depending on User
Router for Consumer Use
This type is used for homes or small business setups and is easily available at any local electronic store. Routers for consumer use should serve as wireless access points in order to connect to the Internet and other computers in the local setup. A wireless access point with a network switch would provide faster speed of transfer and even distribution of bandwidth among all ports.
Router for Commercial Use
A commercial router is much faster and powerful than the consumer type and is used at commercial setups like hotels offering Wi-Fi Internet access, chain of supermarkets, hospitals, etc. It is generally a part of Wide Area Network (WAN) providing connectivity to computers at different locations. Due to their commercial utility, such devices are expensive than routers for consumer use.
Depending on Network
This type is used to build connectivity within a small geographic area. Such a router builds up a connection to DSL or other networks.
An enterprise router is further classified as distribution router, core router and access router. A distribution router assembles the data coming from several routers and sends it to the main location. Core routers are used for connecting routers dispersed at different locations so as to obtain a higher bandwidth. The third type of enterprise router is the access router which is used to serve routine branch operations.
Also known as Internet connectivity router, it is used to share information via Border Gateway Protocol.
Depending on Connectivity
A wired router is cheap as compared to the wireless type, but involves the use of cables for connectivity to various computers thereby restricting mobility. It has an advantage over the wireless router in terms of security. To combat this problem, wireless devices are now equipped with improved security settings.
A wireless router generally comes with an antenna to maintain connectivity within a particular range. As the name suggests, it is devoid of the complications associated with cabling. It ensures security via Wi-Fi Protected Access and wireless MAC address filtering. It is essential to gather all the information pertaining to security before going for a wireless setup.
A router, be it any type, is a very useful connecting device for computer networks. Its uses include delivery of information in a quick and organized way, reducing the data load, developing the steady connection between host computers, and ensuring data transfer by the help of alternative parts in case main parts of the router fail to perform.
Before investing in a router, it is best to analyze whether you need a wired or wireless one, the number of ports required, and the type of Internet connection you have. It is always good to have some extra ports in the router to connect additional computers to the network in the future. Hope this article has served its purpose and helped you in identifying the most suitable router for your use.
Difference between a Router and a Switch
Basically, a router is used to connect computers belonging to one network with those belonging to another or other networks. Thus, a router connects two or more different networks.
A switch, on the other hand, connects different computers within one network.
As per the OSI model, a router is a Network Layer device, i.e. it operates at Layer 3.
Unless it is a multi-layer switch, a network switch operates at Layer 2 (Data Link Layer).
Routers are much more sophisticated and intelligent network devices, as compared to switches.
In comparison with routers, switches are less sophisticated and less intelligent.
A router works on the principle of IP addresses.
A switch works on the basis of MAC addresses.
A router’s inbuilt hardware makes use of routing algorithms to compute the best possible path for routing data packets across different computer networks.
A switch does not perform any such activities.
Routers have their own inbuilt operating systems and they need to be configured before use.
Most switches do not require any prior configuration and are usually ‘ready-to-use’.
Best Long Range Routers
All the top players in the wireless networking sector including Cisco, D-link, and Netgear have launched brand new products in 2011 to meet the growing needs of consumers for fast and long-range wireless routers. Here are the contenders for the title of best long range wireless router in 2011.
Netgear N600 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Router (WNDR3700)
With a price tag of £50.00, the Netgear N600 is one of the best wireless routers to hit the market in recent times. Dual band transmission, 802.11n wireless networking standard based connectivity, high-speed Ethernet ports and powerful amplifiers that ensure long-range connectivity are some of the notable features of this router. This router is ideal for home use.
Cisco Linksys E4200
Another recently launched wireless router that can give the Netgear N600, a run for its money is the Cisco Linksys E4200. At a price of £245.03, this router offers you speed in excess of 450 Mbps, besides providing long range and dual-band transmission. USB port, four high-speed Ethernet ports, latest wireless networking security in the form of WPA2 connectivity are some of the features that make it one of the best routers in the market right now.
Apple AirPort Extreme Base Station
Launched by Apple computers, the Apple Airport Extreme with a £199.00 price tag is the best wireless router for Mac-based networks, which provides long range and high-speed connectivity. It offers all the state-of-the-art features but is a tad overpriced compared to other routers.
D-Link DIR-855 Xtreme N Duo Dual Band Draft 802.11n Media Router
If you are looking for a wireless networking router that can provide high-definition video sharing on a wireless network with a long-range, D-Link Dir-855 is what you are looking for. Specifically designed for a high bandwidth transmission purpose, this D-Link router offers high-speed Ethernet ports, WPA2 security and substantially longer range. This router has received some of the best reviews overall. Due to the extra functionality, it comes with a £188.17 price tag.
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