Routers used to have a singular purpose -- to route packets between networks. Therefore, router selection depended only on connectivity types and the amount of expected throughput. Because today things are more complex it's wise to do a thorough edge router review before buying.
We categorize routers based on where they are deployed and what services they perform. The advanced services added to routers over recent years are astonishing -- as is the differentiation between routers that serve specific purposes. A successful edge router review should include consideration of routing capabilities, connection types, data transport requirements, redundancy and scalability.
In most enterprises, routers sit at the LAN edge in a traditional campus network environment. The most common network edges are the internet edge and the WAN edge. Edge routers here are the first line of defense between corporate data on the campus LAN and networks that are considered untrusted. It's critical that these be hardened as, in some cases, edge routers are responsible for controlling what data is transported between networks from a data security perspective.
And recent advancements in router deployment and management technologies further complicate any purchase decision. Routers traditionally used as hardware appliances can now be deployed as virtual machines. This allows far more flexibility and scalability on your network. Software-defined networking (SDN) is also growing in popularity. SDN-capable routers allow separation of the data and control planes. This means all routers on an enterprise network can be centrally managed. No longer do you have to manage each router individually and create routing policy on a hop-by-hop basis.
Choosing the right router for your specific application is a serious decision, with many factors to consider. We hope you'll employ this buyer’s handbook to conduct your own edge router review.
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Buying routers? Read this review on the latest in edge routers first
Buying routers is more complicated than ever. This handbook on edge routers includes an overview of the latest capabilities to help you decide which you need.