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How Does a Router Work?

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  • Last Updated : 27 Jul, 2022
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A Router is a networking device that forwards data packets between computer networks. One or more packet-switched networks or subnetworks can be connected using a router. By sending data packets to their intended IP addresses, it manages traffic between different networks and permits several devices to share an Internet connection. Although there are many kinds of routers, the majority of them transfer data between LANs (local area networks) and WANs (wide area networks). 

A LAN is a collection of linked devices confined to a certain region. Typically, a LAN needs just one router. In comparison, a WAN is a sizable network dispersed across a sizable geographic area. For example, large organizations and businesses with numerous sites across the nation will require individual LANs for each location, which connect to the other LANs to form a WAN. A WAN frequently requires numerous routers and switches due to its wide distribution.

Working of Router:

Consider a router as an air traffic controller, and consider data packets as planes flying to various airports (or networks). Each packet must be directed as quickly as possible to its destination, just as each plane has a distinct destination and travels a distinct route. A router assists in guiding data packets to their intended IP address, just like an air traffic controller ensures that aircraft reach their destinations without getting lost or experiencing significant disruptions in a route.

An internal routing table, which is a list of routes to different network destinations, is used by a router to effectively direct packets. In order to determine the destination of a packet, the router first scans its header. Then, it consults the routing table. Forward packet to next packet.

Steps of Routing Packet from a Source to a Destination:

Step 1: Send packet to router Computers send the first packet to the nearest router. A router is a type of computing device used in computer networks that helps move the packets along.

You likely have a router in your home or classroom right now, and that’s the first stop for your current computer’s packets.

Step 2: Router gets a packet. The IP header of each packet that the router receives is examined. The destination IP address, which informs the router of the packet’s intended destination, is the most crucial field.

Serial no.FieldContent
1.Source IP address216.3.192.1
2.IP address for the destination

Step 3: Router forwards packet, The router has multiple paths it could send a packet along, and its goal is to send the packet to a router that’s closer to its final destination.
Based on the target IP address, the router can choose the next path with the use of a forwarding table. There are 2322 32 2, start superscript, 32, end superscript potential IP addresses, which are simply too many to store, hence that table does not have a row for each one. The table instead includes entries for IP address prefixes.

IP address path before:

  • 91.112 #1
  • 91.198 #2
  • 192.92 #3

IP addresses have levels. It frequently indicates that two IP addresses are connected to the same extensive network, such as the Comcast SF network, when their prefixes are the same. In order to store much fewer data, router forwarding tables make use of this fact.

Step 4: Final router forwards the message in step four. The packet should finally reach a router that is aware of exactly where to transmit it if everything goes according to plan.
IP address path before.

  • 91.112 #1
  • Direct
  • 192.92 #2

The message can now be sent from the router to the destination IP address, which may be a server or a personal.


  • Eases connections: Sharing a single network connection among numerous machines is the router’s main job. This enables numerous people to connect to the internet, boosting total productivity. In addition, routers have connections between various media and network designs.
  • Security: Undoubtedly, installing a router is the first step in securing a network connection. Because using a modem to connect directly to the internet exposes your PC to a number of security risks. So that the environment is somewhat secure, routers can be utilized as an intermediary between two networks. While not a firewall or antivirus replacement.
  • NAT usage: Routers use Network Address Translation (NAT) to map multiple private IP addresses into one public IP address. This allows for a better Internet connection and information flow between all devices connected to the network.
  • Supports dynamic routing: The router employs dynamic routing strategies to aid in network communication. The internet work’s optimum path is chosen through dynamic routing. Additionally, it creates collision and broadcast domains. Overall, this can lessen network traffic.
  • Filtering Of Packets: Switching between packets and filtering packets are two more router services. A collection of filtering rules are used by routers to filter the network. The packets are either allowed or passed through.
  •  Integrations: Routers can be integrated with modems to create a wireless access point for multiple devices in a micro-environment. You can also install a VPN on your router for a more secure and private internet connection.
  • Offers good backup plan: If one of your external network components fails, routers will use replacement components to avoid  traffic flow problems. This works well for large businesses where constant traffic  is essential for operation.


  • Slower: Routers analyze multiple layers of information, from the physical layer to the network layer, which slows down connections. The same issue can also be encountered when multiple devices are connected to these network devices, causing “connection waiting”.
  • High Cost: They are more expensive than some other tools for systems administration. This includes security, extension, and the focal point. As a result, routers are typically not the greatest option for issues.
  • Need for configuration: The router must be properly configured to work properly. In general, the more complex the intended use, the more configuration is required. This requires professional installation, which can add to the cost of buying a router.
  • Quality Issues: The time transitions are not always accurate. Even yet, some modern devices use the 2.4GHz band, which is frequently deactivated. These kinds of separations are frequently possible for those who live in apartments and condominiums.
  • Bandwidth shortages: Dynamic routing techniques used by routers  to support connections tend to cause network overhead, consuming a lot of bandwidth. This leads to a bandwidth shortage that significantly slows down the internet connection between connected devices.
  • Frequent disconnections: A major problem that most router users face is  frequent disconnections, especially when these devices are used in an apartment or apartment. To keep your router in good working order, you  also need to  update its firmware and settings regularly.
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