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What is a seamless router?

In this expert response, Sudhanshu Gupta gives us a quick history lesson in routing when he answers the question "what is meant by the term 'seamless router'?"

Networking personnel and architects keep referring to "the seamless router." What do they really mean by that?
Earlier routers used to provide L3 functions only. But as of late, most of the vendors are stuffing new and upper layer services onto the same box -- so the same router can work as a firewall, load balancer, down size IP PBX, DHCP server, Web server, authentication server, etc., on top of all the normal functions. Even a switch module for the router and an IDU module to connect the router to the satellite are available. All these functions are performed by the router without sending packets, which offers seamless service, not only to the user, but to the packet/connection as well. I think that's what they are referring to -- providing services at layers other than the Network Layer of the OSI stack.
This was last published in October 2006

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