In the past when you referred to a router you were talking about a tool that was used to design and shape wood. The internet has changed that.

In its simplest form a router is defined as a device or setup that finds the best route between any two networks. A router is the most important part of a computer network in that it helps data get where it is supposed to be. When it is given the choice of where to make it’s delivery one of the tools a router uses to decide where information should go is a configuration table. A configuration table is a collection of information, including:

– Information on which connections lead to particular groups of addresses

– Priorities for connections to be used

– Rules for handling both routine and special cases of traffic

The internet is really an unbelievable invention. Think about this. You can send an email to someone anywhere in the world and they receive your message in a matter of seconds. You can download a file or surf from web page to web page very easily today. All of this because of routers.

An easy way to understand a router is like this. You send a letter to a friend in Australia. They read it and send it back to you. This might take several days or weeks with snail mail. On the internet routers are the mailman that gets your letter to your friend and then their letter back to you.

Routers are very versatile. For example they allow two computers to receive the internet under one IP address simultaneously. An IP address is what allows your computer to connect to the internet. If you have a network of computers a router will allow them to use the Internet with the same access.

In many households today a cable modem is the router. The internet is accessed through the modem directly into a computer. If you have more than one computer you can purchase a router and connect it to the cable modem. The internet is passed through the router and delivered to the computers either through a wire or more commonly today now through wireless technology.

Wireless routers allow you to connect computers, portable computers, personal desk assistants, and printers without using wiring. Wireless routers are excellent for connecting notebook computers to the Internet and networks.

As you are running more computers on your network you may experience a slight drop in speed, but today many broadband routers are able to deliver the internet without much of a slowdown. You probably will not even notice it.