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What is a Router in Computer Network?

Author : PyNet Labs
Last Modified: October 4, 2023 
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Data can be found anywhere nowadays. We use it for work, study, fun, and communication. But how is information delivered between devices? How can we guarantee the security and dependability of our data? Routers are the solution. A router in computer network is a component that connects various networks and routes data packets to their desired locations.

They are necessary for the operation of networked systems such as the Internet. In this blog, we will explain what is a router, the different types of routers, their working, their uses, advantages, and disadvantages. Before getting into more details, let’s first understand what a router really is.

What is a Router in Computer Network?

Devices may connect to routers to exchange Internet or intranet data. A router is a gateway that sends data across LANs or local area networks. Routers use the Internet Protocol (IP) to transmit IP packets, which include data and the IP addresses of sending and receiving devices that are connected to different local area networks.

Between these LANs, which are connected to the transmitting and receiving devices, are routers. Devices may be connected together over many router “hops,” or they may be located on several LANs that are all directly connected to the same router.

Now that you have a basic understanding of Router in network devices, you should also know that all the routers are not same. There are different types of routers available in market.

Different Types of Routers

There are different types of routers; some of these are:

Wireless Routers

Using a wireless router, Wi-Fi gadgets like computers and smartphones can connect to the internet. Additionally, they may provide standard Ethernet routing. The range of an inside connection is 150 feet, whilst the range of an outdoor connection is 300 feet.

Broadband Routers

VoIP (voice over Internet Protocol) technology links a broadband router to the Internet and provides high-speed Internet access.

Core Routers

Data packets may be routed by a core router inside a single network, but not across networks. They serve as the network’s backbone, helping connect all of the gadgets.

Edge Routers

Low-capacity edge routers, which reside at the network’s peripherals, are the most common kind. An edge router may transport data packets across networks and connect the internal network to the external networks. For connection, they use the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP). Label edge routers and subscriber edge routers are the two different kinds of edge routers.


These are customized routers with bridge functionality. Like bridges, b-routers facilitate the transfer of data across networks. Additionally, they distribute data across network devices like a router.

These are the different types of routers. Now let’s understand the architecture of the router before we understand the working of a router.

Architecture of the router

Below we have explained the architecture of the router with an image.

Architecture of a Router

Input Port

The input port is responsible for executing the physical layer function of terminating an incoming physical link to a router. In order to communicate with the data link layer functionality on the other side of the incoming connection, it performs the data link layer functionality that is necessary.

The input port also performs a lookup and forwarding operation to ensure that a datagram transmitted into the router’s switching fabric reaches the intended output port.

Output Port

The output port performs link-layer and physical-layer operations to deliver packets from the switching fabric to the incoming connection after storing them there. The output port performs identical functions to the input port in terms of reverse data link and physical layer operations.

Switching Fabric

Data is sent from one network node to the next node in the network through the correct port using a combination of hardware and software.

Routing Processor

Routing processors execute routing protocols. Both forwarding tables and routing information are stored there. Within the router, it also manages network management.

How do Router in Computer Networks Work?

Below, we have explained the working of the router.

  • A router examines the packet’s destination IP address and compares it to its routing database when it receives a packet from a source network. The optimal ways to connect to various networks are listed in the routing table, a database. Depending on how the router discovers the routes, either a static or dynamic routing table may be used.
  • The router will first look at the destination IP address before looking at the routing table to determine which packet is optimal for it to transmit to the destination IP address.
  • The packet is sent to the next-hop device, which might be another router or the final destination if the router discovers a matching entry in its routing table. The router modifies the packet header to include its own MAC address as the source, and the device’s MAC address that will be the next hop as the destination.
  • The router either drops the packet or sends an error message back to the source if it cannot locate a matching entry in its routing table. This could occur if the router is unable to connect to or is unfamiliar with the target network.
  • Until a packet reaches its destination or is dropped along the way, the router continues this procedure for each packet it receives.

Various routing protocols are used in the process of routing packets from source to destination.

Routing Protocols

After understanding what is a router and how it works, you must be wondering where it is used. Let’s understand the different applications of routers in detail.

Application of Router in Computer Network

Some of the applications of a router are:

Different network connections

It connects several networks and sends packets to directly connected or distantly connected networks.

Managing congestion

It controls network traffic by sending data packets to the intended address. Additionally, it allows numerous addresses to share a single internet connection.

Providing connectivity

Numerous Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are connected via large routers. Network access for households and offices is provided via small routers.

Connecting subnets

Routers are used to link several subnets—logical groupings of connected computers—with various network prefixes.

Port forwarding

Private ISPs also use them for port forwarding.

Traffic classification

A router decides which data packet should be processed first using QoS.

We now have a basic understanding of how a router works and its applications in computer networks. Let’s now understand the advantages and disadvantages of using a router.

Advantages of using a Router

There are various advantages of using a router. These are:


Sharing a single network connection across several devices is the router’s primary job. This enables numerous people to connect to the internet, boosting total productivity. Besides that, routers have connections between various media and network designs.


Without a doubt, installing a router is the first step in securing a network connection. Because using a modem to connect directly to the internet exposes your PC to several security risks, the environment is secure, so routers are utilized as an intermediary between two networks.

Dynamic Routing

The router utilizes dynamic routing strategies that help in network communication. The internetwork’s optimum route is chosen through dynamic routing. Additionally, it generates collision domain and broadcast domain. Overall, this may reduce network traffic.

Packet Filtering

Switching between packets and filtering packets are two more router functions. Routers use a collection of filtering rules to filter the network. The packets are either permitted or passed through in accordance with these guidelines.

Backup Plan

Routers utilize backup sections if one of the external network components fails to prevent issues with traffic routing. This is used by organizations, particularly big ones, to manage traffic effectively.

Disadvantages of using a Router

Some of the disadvantages of using a router are:


Routers read more than only the top two levels of information, in contrast to repeaters and bridges. It examines data in every detail, from the physical to the network layer. The connection could get slow as a result. Additionally, routers allow numerous computers to share a network, which causes a condition known as “Connection Wait” on the router. This can make the connection even slower.


More than any other networking component, routers are expensive. Security, hub, and bridge are included in this. Therefore, from a financial standpoint, routers are not always the best choice.


Additionally, the router has compatibility problems, particularly with the 5GHz band. You can only profit from 5GHz settings if your PC and its adapters support them. As a result, you need to consider choosing a less expensive router.


Routers are not always reliable. Even now, a few modern gadgets utilize the 2.4GHz band, which is regularly interrupted. People who live in flats and apartments often suffer these sorts of disconnections.

Bandwidth Shortage

The routers use dynamic routing strategies to facilitate communication. This can result in increased networking overheads. Large amounts of bandwidth are used by networking overheads, which causes a bandwidth shortage. In addition to updating routing tables, routers do routine network maintenance. The utilization of bandwidth could suffer from this as well.

These are the advantages and disadvantages of using a router in computer network.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1 – What is router and type?

A router is a type of networking device that takes data packets from computer networks and other devices, analyzes them, and then routes them. The third tier of the OSI model, the network layer, is where it operates. Mainly, there are five types of routers. These are:

  • Wireless Routers
  • Broadband Routers
  • Core Routers
  • Edge Routers
  • B-routers

Q2 – What is switch hub and router?

Switch: Connects devices in a network and forwards data to the right destination.

Hub: Connects devices in a network and broadcasts data to all devices.

Router: Connects different networks and routes data packets based on their addresses.

Q3 – Why router is used?

Routers connect your gadgets to the Internet. The router controls the flow of data to and from each device as well as the modem, ensuring that it all arrives securely at its intended destination.

Q4 – What are the three types of routing?

The three types of routing are:

  • Static Routing
  • Default Routing
  • Dynamic Routing


Router in network devices is of great importance. They provide network segmentation, allow communication across various networks, and give extra features like filtering, prioritizing, and security. Computer networks could only operate as effectively, safely, and consistently with routers. In this blog, we have explained what is router, its architecture, working, advantages, and disadvantages.

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