A Router, in this modern world, is a must for home or offices. You can find it everywhere. It provides an efficient path between different networks. In this post, we will discuss in detail about what is Router, how it works, its various types and things to consider before buying the best router for you.
What is Router
A device that interconnects and communicates between the internet and the devices at our home is called Router. A Router,routes or directs traffic between the devices and the internet.
Fig. 1 – Introduction to Router
It is very important to choose a suitable device. Some of the benefits of selecting correct routers are internet service speed, protection from cyber threats, and avoid those annoying situation where Wi-Fi activity lags.
What does a Router Do
Usually at home, we have devices connected with internet such as personal computers, tablets, smartphones, printers, thermostats, smart TVs, etc. Through the router, these all devices form a network. Here the router is the one, which directs incoming and outgoing internet traffic. Routers manage efficiency and speed of internet on that network.
Fig. 2 – What does Router Do
The basic use of internet normally at home could be an email or message sharing, watching movie, or a video call. Each activity needs different amount of bandwidth. Depends upon the kind of activity done, the amount of bandwidth varies. Keeping in account, the data shared is fast and accurate; itself is a big task and even getting bigger. Once we add more devices, we expect more from our router.
How does Router Work
Routing is a process in which IP packets are forwarded from one network to another. A Router interfaces these networks together and routes the traffic between them. A router has minimum two NICs (network interface cards). One NIC is connected to one network and the other NIC is connected to another network. It can connect multiple networks together provided it has that many NIC cards in it.
Fig. 3 – How Router Works
Let’s take example of a basic router with two NIC cards as shown in the figure above. Here, the shown router has two NIC cards i.e. NIC 1 and NIC 2. NIC 1 provides support to the 1st Network in which PC 1 is connected. Similarly, NIC 2 provides support to 2nd Network in which PC 2 is connected. Through the Router, both the networks are inter-connected and hence both networks are available to the PC user.
Types of Routers
There are two types of routers:
- Wireless or Wi- Fi Routers
- Wired Routers
Wireless or Wi-Fi Routers
As name implies wireless router provides Wi-Fi access to smartphones, laptops, tablets and other devices, which is having Wi-Fi network capabilities. This allows sending and receiving of information to and from the internet.
Fig. 4 – Wireless or Wi-Fi Routers
With the use of built-in antennas, router then connects with home Wi-Fi network. The entire process results in having internet access to all devices on home network.
This type of routers link directly to computers or other devices by means of wired connections. In wired routers, there is one port, through which the modem (which interconnect with the internet) is connected. Other port or ports of wired routers connect computers and other devices by wired connection to have internet access.
Fig. 5 – Wired Routers
Things to Consider for Choosing Best Router
Once we want to have an internet connection, we have to reach Internet Service Provider (ISP). Depends upon the need of internet (personal, education, business etc.) ISP recommends us a router and a modem or combination of both. In general, combination of both will not be a best choice. Here are few points to consider before choosing the best router for you:
Fig. 6 – Things to Consider for Choosing Best Router
Coverage of Wi-Fi
In home Wi-Fi, signals mostly depend on the size of the home and the obstacles that prevent signals to reach their destinations. Fireplaces, mirrors, and thick walls are few common hurdles for Wi-Fi signals. To overcome this we need to look for routers that has the capacity to reach every corners of home even it is far.
In addition, we can check routers that have a mesh network, so that we can extend the Wi-Fi capabilities across the home.
Performance of Wi-Fi
Technology keeps on changing. Router technology has also changed over time. So always consider to have such routers that use the latest technology and updated firmware. Multi-User Multiple-Input Multiple-Output technology (MU-MIMO) is one such new technology.
Fig. 7 – Multi-User Multiple-Input Multiple-Output technology (MU-MIMO)
MU-MIMO allows Wi-Fi routers to communicate with multiple devices instantaneously. As a result, it reduces the wait time and increases network speed.
Security of Wi-Fi
Security of Wi-Fi is most important thing to be kept in mind. Cyber criminals can enter in our home network and install malware and viruses in our connected devices. They even hack our personal and financial information and gain access to it.
It is better to have routers that provides protection at network level. It could help to protect against cyber attacks at the entry port. It is good to look for a router with built-in security features, like automatic updates, device quarantine, and signed firmware updates.
Controls of Wi-Fi
Nowadays internet access is a part of our daily life. Therefore, routers became a very important part of the home, which is connected with internet. It is very important to buy routers that can be controlled easily. The latest routers are very easy to install and use. Some routers come with user-friendly apps which provide other features like guest networks, parental controls, user time limits and network management.
Once we set up a new router or upgrade an existing one in our home, we should make sure certain things such as its features, functionality or facilities.