What Role Does Router Play in a Network?
The Internet is formed by networks throughout the world interconnecting and passing on data to each other. Routers make the Internet work by forwarding data using a unified addressing system. They can send information to anywhere in the world as long as that location has an IP address.
Routers vary inside to large expensive machines for commercial applications to small wireless boxes for the home electronics market. A router combines dedicated hardware and specialist software to achieve its task. To be effective, a router needs to be connected to at least two separate networks because its main task is to forward data from one network to another.
Look at the following figure, it directly display the relationship between computers and router
What is Router Used for?
Routers rely on the Internet Protocol to provide a common addressing system. The protocol defines an address structure which is universally implemented and is enforced by one controlling authority in each country. The IP address of any computer contactable over the Internet has to be unique. The computer sending information over the Internet has to package that data into a packet. The data packet contains a header which includes the IP address of the destination computer. Routers read this address and then forward the packet in the direction of its destination.
A router prepares for its work by compiling a list of possible routes to a particular destination. The format of the table does not require that every IP address is listed. They can be noted in groups. When a router is first installed it contacts its neighboring routers. These are the routers to which it is immediately connected. Each of these neighbors send their routing tables to the new router which then compiles its own routing table. Routers regularly exchange their routing tables and so information about routes held on one router eventually ripples through to all routers in the world.
The routing table contains several different paths to the same destination. The router uses an algorithm to rank these alternatives. There are many different routing algorithms in the world, but they generally all rely on the direction and the distance travelled to reach the target. The distance is often recorded as the number of links the route crosses. The direction tells the router which of its immediate neighbors starts that route.
Although the routing table contains alternative routes it does not list the routers in the path of that route, only the first router in the chain. The next router receiving the data packet then makes a calculation to decide which of its neighbors will receive the packet next, and so on. This distributed decision making allows routes to be switched in case of broken connections further down the line of which the originating router is unaware.
How to connect a router to computers
1. Ensure that both computers have a LAN (or an Ethernet) card allowing the sharing of files and peripherals. Though all new computers and laptops are equipped with such cards, you may need to buy and attach LAN cards for older models. (A network card is a devised either installed inside a desktop computer or a card that slides into a laptop. A router is the piece that will allow you to receive wireless internet and networking from the devise with the network card installed.)
2. Connect the cable from your Internet Service Provider (ISP) to the Internet port of your router. Note that if you have an ADSL connection, your input cable would be a telephone line that needs to be inserted into the ADSL port of the router. For all other connections, you would have a thicker cable known as CAT5 (or CAT6).
3. Take two Ethernet cables and plug them into the Ethernet ports of the router. Note that you will require a router with at least two Ethernet ports to share Internet on two computers. Plug the other end of each of the cables into the Ethernet port of the computers. If you have a router with a single Ethernet port, buy a network switch or hub and connect the router with it (using the Ethernet cable). In turn, the switch (or hub) that includes at least two Ethernet ports will have to be connected to the computers. (More info of switch, hub and router you can visit “Identifying What is Router, Switch and Hub”)
4. Switch on the router and the computers.
5. Configure the router by referring to its user manual. The configuration process defers depending on the type and brand of the router. Once configured, you should be able to access Internet on both computers.