A router is a network device that sends and receives data between computer networks. It mainly transmits data packets from one router to another. Routers are often confused with other network devices—such as modems—but, they can do and improve the functions of these devices to create larger connections.
As its name implies, a router routes internet traffic between devices and the internet. It’s an integral part of an area’s wireless network. Most modern routers are capable of providing fast internet speeds, have wider coverage, and communicate through secure protocols to avoid cyberhacking incidents.
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How do Routers Work?
A router’s main function is to guide network data through packets—which contain bundles of data, such as files, web interactions, emails, and much more. These data packets contain vital information, like data size, file type, recipient, and destination IP. The information is read by the router and assigned to the best route for data transmission.
Difference Between Modems vs Routers
As mentioned earlier, modems and routers are often confused with each other. However, the main difference between a modem versus a router is that modems are more focused on providing the internet service from your ISP. A router, on the other hand, is used to connect to modems to create private networks which other users can connect with.
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Types of Routers
Also called a gateway router, an edge router is optimized for bandwidth and is used to connect to other routers for data distribution. Most edge routers don’t have Wi-Fi support and are not utilized for local networks. It only has an Ethernet port for internet connection and to connect to additional router networks.
Distribution routers or interior routers are network devices that receive data from edge routers via an Ethernet connection. Since this router supports Wi-Fi connections, it transmits data to its end users via a wireless connection.
Also called residential gateways, wireless routers have the combined functions of distribution routers and edge routers. It’s often used for internet access in workplaces and home networks. As a result, it’s given by ISPs or internet service providers as standard equipment.
However, you can also opt to upgrade your ISP’s router for a more capable router. For instance, if you’re owning a business, you can use a business-level router to facilitate larger networks, more features, and better connectivity.
Core routers are used to connect to a series of routers for maximum bandwidth. It’s utilized by most internet service providers or ISPs and cloud service providers. As its name suggests, companies and large enterprises use it as a core part of their network backbone.
Virtual routers are software that is designed to put up a few router functions in the cloud and are provided as a service. It’s used as an alternative for local network devices and can be scaled easily. This technology makes it possible for laptops and computers to function as a router that other internet devices can connect to.