As we know, routers are the essential parts of a computer network. It is not only a significant part of wireless home networks but also wired ones. To provide effective and fast connectivity, a router needs to be able to perform at least two primary functions: routing and switching; A router transmits data packets around the network at high speed.
The routing function determines where to send each packet with information in its header while the switching function directs electrical signals along the correct wire to reach their destination. Let’s see which two functions are the primary functions of a router!
What are the primary functions of a router?
To conclude, the primary functions of a router are routing and switching.
Routing: Routing is the process of finding the most appropriate network paths for the data packets that are being transmitted. A router knows the addresses of the destination nodes and other routers on the network. It uses the routing information to decide which next-hop router to send the packet to.
Switching: Switching is the process of directing the data packets from the source to the destination through the appropriate network links. A router has a routing table, which contains information about the topology of the network.
How are Primary Functions of a Router Suppose to be Different from Secondary Functions?
For the same reason, a router also needs to have a number of other functions like providing layer 2 connectivity to a client device, configuring the network interface cards, managing the DHCP server, and so on.
Let’s see some of the key differences between the primary and secondary functions of a router:
- Layer 2 connectivity
- Layer 3 connectivity
- Network interface card configuration
- DHCP server configuration
What Do Routers Do?
Routers are devices that are used to connect a network to other networks. They are mainly used to transfer data between different parts of the internet. The main function of a router is to determine the path that data packets take when transferred from one place to another.
It is also important for the router to perform switching, which is the process of directing the data packets from the source to the destination through the appropriate network links.
A router is used to direct data packets from a local network to another local network or to another network. These routers have two main functions. They are routing and switching. To make sure that the router is working properly, it has a database called the routing table.
Although this may be true for most routers, it is not the case with some routers. Some routers can perform a few functions like wireless networking, firewall, NAT, and so on.
In the Internet Protocol (IP) network, each host has a unique IP address and every IP packet has an IP header with the source and destination IP addresses. The router receives the packet and checks if the destination IP address is in its routing table.
If the destination IP address is not found, the router forwards the packet to the next-hop router, based on the next-hop routing table entry.
How can you improve your network security with a router?
Besides the network security features that are already built into the router, you can also use other network security tools to provide better security. You can use the following tools to secure your network:
- Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA)
- Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP)
- Port-based security
WPA is a set of IEEE standards that provide a set of security features to protect wireless networks. WPA is designed to replace the existing IEEE 802.11i standard.
WPA uses three encryption modes (AES-CCMP, AES-TKIP, and RC4). You can use the same network name for both computers and mobile devices. You don’t need to configure WPA for each computer and mobile device. The security level of WPA can be configured at the network level.
You can configure your router to use WPA with 128-bit or 256-bit keys. These are the two types of WPA. You can configure the router to connect using either WPA or WPA2.
If you want to have WPA security, you will have to use a wireless security token. You should always use a secured connection when you transfer data over the Internet.
How to set up your Wi-Fi network
To set up your Wi-Fi network, you need to use a tool called WPS. The WPS tool is a feature of your router that allows you to easily connect your router to your wireless network.
WPS is also known as Wi-Fi Protected Setup. It allows you to create a secure wireless network connection between your router and the wireless devices. It can be configured to use either WPA or WPA2 encryption.
If you want to create a secure wireless network for your home, you may have to consider using the WPS tool. This tool is available on your router. The tool enables you to connect your router to your wireless network. You can configure the tool to use either WPA or WPA2 encryption.
When you set up your router with the WPS tool, it can be connected directly to your computer. Your computer automatically connects to the wireless network. You do not need to go through the process of configuring your router to use a password. All you have to do is turn on the wireless device you want to connect to your router. Then, the device will automatically connect to the wireless.
In this chapter, we discussed the primary and secondary functions of a router. We also looked at some of the other functions that a router may perform. We also looked at how you can improve the security of your network using the router.
We hope that you have learned a lot about the router in this chapter. You can take the following test to test your knowledge of the router. There are various ways of classifying visual perception, and one way is to distinguish between tasks.
If you have any questions, you can ask them in the comments section below. We will be glad to help you.
I am the founder and CEO of Ownrouter. I have been in the industry for over 15 years, and I am passionate about routers. I have a degree in computer science from the University of London and worked as a network engineer for a large ISP. I am also a member of the board of directors for the Open Source Router Project. Learn more