Routers and routing

A short article about the way routers work, why they are so efficient, and why all the big networks should have one.

computing computer switching program: a computer switching program that transfers incoming messages to outgoing links via the most efficient route possible, for example, over the Internet
Microsoft® Encarta® Reference Library 2003. © 1993-2002 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Routers make the Internet possible.

As you can see at the definition above that Encarta Dictionary gave us, a router is a computer that finds the shortest route possible for delivering a message.

We all know the Internet is a big network (the biggest) made from several other networks linked together.

Routers are efficient in connecting networks because they know how to handle traffic. On a single network, a package is sent to all the computers in a network.

The computers checks the destination of the package. If the package isn’t meant for that computer, the computer rejects it.

When the network traffic becomes big, this procedure takes bandwidth, especially on big networks.

It’s best to divide the network in several smaller networks and link them with a router. Why, you ask? The router knows the addresses of the computers in the smaller networks. Therefore if the package isn’t meant for a computer in one of the network, it keeps the package in the network where the recipient is connected, and doesn’t bother the other networks.

Cisco is a major producer of routers. In the below image we have a Cisco 12400 Series Internet Router:

Image from: Quadrant Communications

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