Routers… What Are They & What Tasks do They Perform?

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(Photo | By USA-Reiseblogger from Pixabay

Your router is an essential part of your connection to the internet of things and the rest of the on-line world. Your router not only acts as a WiFi distribution unit to your home network devices, but also as a means of communicating with the rest of the world’s devices.

At any given time of the day, your router is processing information coming in and out of your home, whether it be a stream for your favorite Netflix show, or maybe you’re uploading a picture of your new puppy to Facebook! Using a multitude of protocols and computer logic, your router takes this information and sends it on its way to the ultimate destination. Think of this functionality as a Police Officer directing traffic at an intersection — the officer would be the router itself, and the vehicles they are directing is your data being sent to the right spot.

You might ask yourself how do wireless internet service providers utilize routers themselves? It’s simple! Core routing units perform the same functions as your home router… but on a much, much larger scale. At any given time, network core units are being tasked with directing your internet traffic as well as determining destination. With over 750,000 different paths for your information to take to reach its destination, core routers must make these decisions of which path to send your traffic in order to get it there as quickly as possible. Mind you, the router must make these decisions on a millisecond basis. (“Milli” is base1000, meaning that 1 millisecond, is 1/1000th of a full second.) It’s a very impressive feat!

With the ability to make decisions this quickly, routers enable us to reliably and quickly talk to relatives that may be next door… or on another continent! With reliable internet and home connectivity being more important than ever, educating yourself with information such as this may just enable you to resolve or expedite any home internet issues that may arise.

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Anthony Bartolini, Network/RF Engineer — Sureline Broadband

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