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A router is a device that attaches two or more packet-switched networks or subnets. It serves two main functions managing traffic between these networks by promoting data packets to their intended IP addresses and permitting multiple devices to use a similar Internet connection.

There are numerous types of routers, but most of them pass data among LANs (Local Area Networks) and WANs (Wide Area Networks). A LAN is a collection of associated devices limited to a specific geographical area, and a LAN usually needs only one.

How does a Router Work?

RouterThink of a router as an air traffic controller; the data packets are the planes going to different airports (or networks). Just as each aircraft has a unique destination and route, each package must be guided to its destination in the most efficient way possible. In the same way that an air traffic controller makes sure planes get to their destination without getting lost or interrupted along the way, it helps direct data packets to their destination IP address.

To route packets efficiently, it uses an internal routing table a list of routes to various destinations on the network. The router reads the header of a package to determine where it is going and then consults the routing table to find the most efficient route to that destination. It then forwards the packet to the following network on the way.

What are the Different Types of Routers?

To connect a LAN to the Internet, a router must first communicate with a modem. There are two main methods to do it:

Wireless Router

A wireless uses an Ethernet cable to attach to a modem. It distributes the data by converting the binary code packets into radio signals and then broadcasts them wirelessly using antennas. Wireless routers do not establish LANs; instead, they create WLANs (wireless local area networks), which connect various devices using wireless communication.

Wired Router

Like a wireless router, a wired also uses an Ethernet cable to connect to a modem. It then uses separate lines to connect to one or more devices on the network, creating a LAN and linking the devices on that network to the Internet.


Unlike routers used in a home or small business LAN, a core router is used by large corporations and businesses that transmit large data packets within their network. Core routers work in the “core” of a network and do not communicate with external networks.


While a core router exclusively handles data traffic within a large-scale network, an edge router communicates with both core routers and external networks. Edge routers live at the “edge” of a network and use the BGP (Border Gateway Protocol) protocol to send and receive data from other LANs and WANs.

Virtual Router

A virtual router is a software application that performs the same function as a standard hardware. In case one fails, you can use the Virtual Router Redundancy Protocol (VRRP) to establish primary and backup virtual routers.

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