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What is a router?

WhatIs.com

On the Internet, a router is a device or, in some cases, software in a computer, that determines the next network point to which a packet should be forwarded toward its destination. The router is connected

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to at least two networks and decides which way to send each information packet based on its current understanding of the state of the networks it is connected to. A router is located at any gateway (where one network meets another), including each Internet point-of-presence. A router is often included as part of a network switch.

A router may create or maintain a table of the available routes and their conditions and use this information along with distance and cost algorithms to determine the best route for a given packet. Typically, a packet may travel through a number of network points with routers before arriving at its destination. Routing is a function associated with the network layer (Layer 3) in the standard model of network programming, the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model. A layer-3 switch is a switch that can perform routing functions.

An edge router is a router that interfaces with an asynchronous transfer mode (/a>ATM) network. A brouter is a network bridge combined with a router.

Also see bridge, gateway, hub, and switch.

For more about using routers, go back to the Featured Topic page.


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