What is Router in Networking? and How router Works?

The Internet is a group of networks, means many smaller and bigger networks create the internet, and the router is the only device that can connect to these networks with each other. Router is connected to other routers also, and the data packets are forwarded from one routing device to another routing device until it reaches its destination node.

In this article, we will discuss What is router device? How router works and the difference between router and switch. So let’s discuss.

What is Router in Networking?

  • A router is a networking device that connects multiple networks together and directs traffic between them. 
  • It is an internetworking device, that receives IP packets from one computer network and forwards it to another computer network.
  • It is used to establish connections between two or more different computer networks.
  • In simple terms, a router is like a traffic cop for your network, determining the best path for data packets to travel from one network to another.
  • It can be a physical or virtual networking device, which is designed to receive the data packets from one network, analyze it, and forward it to another computer network.

Why is Router Important in Networking?

Routers are essential for modern networking because they allow multiple networks to communicate with each other. Without routers, devices on different networks would be unable to communicate with each other, and the internet as we know it would not exist.

how router works

How Router works?

When a computer sends a message, the message breaks into IP packets containing sender and receiver network information and the router has the capability to read this information, using this information, It calculates the best route for IP packets to travel on the network.

A router works by analyzing the destination IP address of incoming data packets and forwarding them to the appropriate network. When a packet of data is sent from one network to another, the router determines the most efficient path for the packet to travel, based on a set of rules called routing protocols.

Routing protocols are a set of rules that determine how data packets are sent and received across a network. There are many different types of routing protocols, each with its own set of rules and algorithms for determining the best path for data to travel.

It is an intelligent device because it maintains a routing table, decides the packet’s next route, and also helps to find the best route to transmit the IP packets from source to destination.

A router device can be used in LAN and WAN environments. For example, It can be used in homes and offices for connecting devices, and can also be used to create a connection between different networks.


Basic Features of Router in Networking

  • It allows connecting two or more LAN networks.
  • It allows us to connect to the internet because the internet is a group of networks.
  • It forwards packets to other routers on the network until the packet reaches its destination node.
  • It determines, which is the best route to forward packets from one network to another.
  • It stores destination IP addresses in its routing table.
  • It comes in 2, 4, or 8 ports.
  • It controls the traffic of the internet and also your private local network.
  • It works on the network layer (Layer-3) of the OSI model.
  • It is an intelligent device because it maintains a routing table, which helps to intelligently send the information on the best possible network route.


What is a routing table?

Routing table is an electronic document that stores network information in his table.

The routing table is stored in the router device. Router uses this table and determines the path on the network. When a packet comes to a router, it checks its routing table, which helps to find the other network’s router using the IP address and forward it to the other network routing device, and so on.

routing table

Basic internal components of a router?

  • CPU: The CPU is the brain of the router that controls its operations and processes data packets.

  • RAM: It is used to load the operating system, routing table, configuration files, caching, and buffering details.
  • ROM: It contains the bootstrap program and is used to start and maintain the routing device.
  • NVRAM: It is a small amount of non-volatile memory, that stores router startup configuration.
  • Flash Memory: Flash memory is used to store the router’s operating system and configuration files.

  • Interface Cards: Interface cards are used to connect the router to different types of networks, such as Ethernet, WAN, or wireless networks.

  • Power Supply: The power supply provides electricity to the router to power its components and ensure proper functioning.


How does a Router differ from a Switch?

Both switches and routers are used to connect multiple devices together but they operate in different ways. A switch device is designed to connect devices within a single network, allowing them to communicate with each other. A Router device is designed to connect multiple networks together and direct traffic between them.

Switches use MAC addresses to determine which device to send data to, whereas routers use IP addresses to determine which network to send data to.


Difference between Router and Switch | Router vs Switch

The main use of router is to connect different networks.The main use of switch is to create a network.
It use IP address for sending data.It use MAC address for sending data.
It reads packets for sending data.It reads frames for sending data.
Works on Network layer (layer-3).Works on Data-link layer (layer-2).
It is an intelligent device.It is also an intelligent device.
It maintain routing table, where all networks information is stored.It maintain switching table, where all device information is stored.
It stores IP addresses in its table.It store MAC addresses in its table.
It can use in LAN, MAN, and WAN.It is use only in LAN network.


Frequently Asked Questions about Router

What is the main use of Router?

The main use of the router is to connect two or more networks and forward the data packets between networks.

Is router an intelligent device?

Yes, it is an intelligent device because it has the ability to intelligently forward packets on the best possible network route.

Can router filter the packet?

Yes, it can

Can I use a router without an internet connection?

Yes, you can use a router without an internet connection. Routers are used to connect devices within a network, even if that network is not connected to the internet.

Router works in which layer of OSI model?

Router works on the network layer (Layer-3) because it works on the basis of IP addresses.

Can a router connect two or more local networks?

Yes, that’s the main purpose of using a router to connect two or more networks with each other.

How many devices can connect to a router?

The number of devices that can connect to a router depends on the router’s specifications, such as the number of Ethernet ports and wireless capabilities. Most consumer-grade routers have at least four Ethernet ports, allowing up to four devices to be directly connected. However, routers with wireless capabilities can typically support many more devices, with some models supporting over 50 simultaneous connections.


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