A router is a networking device that forwards data packets between computer networks. Routers perform the traffic directing functions on the Internet. Data sent through the internet, such as a web page or email, is in the form of data packets. A packet is typically forwarded from one router to another, through the networks that constitute ‘the Internet’ until it reaches its destination.
A router is connected to two or more data lines from different networks. When a data packet comes in on one of the lines, the router reads the network address information in the packet to determine the ultimate destination. Then, using information in its routing table or routing policy, it directs the packet to the next network on its journey.
The most familiar type are small office routers that simply forward IP packets between the computers and the Internet such as a DSL router, which connects to the Internet through an Internet service provider (ISP). More sophisticated routers, such as enterprise routers, connect large business or ISP networks up to the powerful core routers that forward data at high speed along Fibre Ethernet.
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