Router Definition & Meaning

 

By Vangie Beal

A router is a piece of hardware (or software) that receives, filters, and sends data packets across networks. A router is connected to at least two networks, commonly two LANs or WANs or a LAN and its ISP’s network. Routers are located at gateways, the place where two or more networks connect. Depending on the router’s bandwidth, it can transmit a certain amount of data across the network. The bandwidth that different computing processes require will also affect what the router will permit at one time.

It’s worth nothing that a modem and router are not quite the same. A modem is hardware located in the home that connects a user’s home network with the public Internet. A modem usually depends on the user’s Internet service provider. A router connects the devices on the network between each other and allows other devices to transmit data across the network as well.

Types of routers

Types of routers include:

  • Wired and wireless routers: both transfer data packets to and from computers, but a wireless one does not connect directly to the computer through a cable. It uses a radio signal instead. These two are most often found in homes.
  • Core network router: transmits data entirely throughout one network but does not transfer packets between networks
  • Edge router: transmits data between networks and from the edges of networks
  • Virtual router: runs on software rather than directly on a piece of hardware; virtual routers allow for more flexibility in transmitting data within the network

Routers at the edge

As previously mentioned, edge routers exist at the edge of a network, often in a smaller data center. Because edge computing handles packets closer to the location from which they were sent, it has lower latency and optimizes bandwidth. Edge routers also require extra security measures because they intake and transmit so much data from so many devices. Routers at a network’s edge must monitor a very large number of packets compared to other routers, partly because so many devices connect to them and also because they are responsible for permitting data to pass between networks.

Certain security protocols can be applied to edge routers, such as packet monitoring technology.

 

Vangie Beal
Vangie Beal
Vangie Beal is a freelance business and technology writer covering Internet technologies and online business since the late '90s.

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