In the world of computers, a router is a device that helps to forward or route packets of data from one part of a computer network to another part of a computer network. It can also mean a device that connects one network to another network. Visually you can think of a router as a major intersection in a city that routes traffic in an orderly fashion. Where routers occur in a network they create a gateway, which allows data to flow from one network to another.
Routers come in two forms, normal or wired, and wireless. Both work in the same way with the exception that a wireless router sends packets of data wirelessly to another device on your network.
Routers are employed on home networks and on business networks. They enable a large group of computers to work together within a network and through the Internet at a much faster speed. Though they do not increase the potential speed of the computer, they do speed up the process by which data is moved. They are very handy when a network has multiple peripheral printers or work stations.
Pro’s and Con’s of Routers:
Perhaps the best thing about using a router is that you can connect more computers to your network and to your Internet. With a wireless router, though the cost may be more, you save on the cost of buying cable and installing cable. Also, with a wireless router you can just move your networked computer or printer to another location without having to reconfigure the cable. Routers are sometimes to blame if the network runs slower than normal as all data must travel through the router. Perhaps the worst part of using a router is that if the router breaks, the network goes down. Large networks often employ multiple routers and connect them together to help avoid loss of the network due to router failure.
Safeguarding your Network:
Wireless routers and networks that are operated from hard-wired-routers are prone to being hacked. To help prevent a network from being hacked, the entire system can be password protected. While writing this bit of information I checked my own wireless connection, and while it is secure, there were two wireless networks within range of my wireless router that were not password protected. I had only to click on them for my computer to connect to the Internet through that persons network. This means that I could have easily hacked their network. Fortunately for those people, I am not a hacker. A password is a powerful deterrent so if your network connection is not password protected, follow the instructions that came with your router and put a password in place.