What is a router and how it works?
A router, in short, is a device that can relay data packets from one network to another. To understand the matter in a better and clear way, you have to understand how the internet works. The internet is nothing but a system of different networks. They tend to exchange data among themselves and the end users enjoy that data stream in the form of internet. Let’s think about a LAN. How does it work?
Well, it has a common point, server or a hub that connects all the devices to form a single network. Now if you wish to communicate between two specific devices, you have to utilize the facility of hub and transfer any data that you wish to.
In case there are only two machines available in the LAN and they are interconnected, you won’t need any hub. The internet works in a similar way. It’s just that the network is a lot more wide and that is the main reason why you cannot use a hub to connect all the networks together so as to maintain the data exchange between different networks. This is where a router comes in. With different routing algorithms set up in its core, the routers mainly distribute different data stream from one network to another network.
So how does it work actually?
To communicate between different networks, routers must have 2 different NICs. These NICs will have different ip addresses that will represent at least 2 different network subnets. All the devices connected to that subnet will use a specific NIC to transmit or receive their data stream. Let’s assume we have 2 different networks, one with subnet of 192.168.1.X and another one 192.168.0.X. To connect them we will need only 1 router with the specific ip set of 192.168.1.1 and 192.168.0.1.
It becomes a little more complicated when it comes to routing data in more than 2 networks. For example, in case you have 3 networks to connect. It will certainly require at least 2 routers or may be 3 but that will depend on your network configuration. Say, your network subnets are as follows: 192.68.1.X, 192.168.2.X, 192.168.3.X. To connect them, you can connect them in serial chain and use their subnets. Or you can go with a triangular formation where you will have to use 3 routers separately to inter-connect them. Then the ip for your routers will be 192.168.1.1, 220.127.116.11, 192.168.3.1. Obviously, the first configuration is a lot more cost effective one, but you cannot follow this method all the time. It completely depends on your network plans and how they are designed.
In case you are using a business router, you can assign your device the IP address 10.0.0.1. In that case, the subnet or the devices connected to that network will be 10.0.0.1 and onwards. Although this type of configuration is only used in case of business routers, but you can do the same for your home routers as well and there are no certain rules or regulations of using the ip address until they are within your LAN.
Types of routers
Mainly there are 2 types of routers available: wired and wireless.
- Wired Routers: These types of routers are mainly used for household or office networks. They receive their input signal from a modem and the output signals are available for any number of PCs. In case you wish to connect more PCs than the number of port a router has, you can use a hub to interconnect them. Normally a router will use DHCP to control the ip address of its network.
- Wireless Routers: These types of routers are quite similar to the wired routers except for the fact that they have a wireless output port. It can create a wireless network that you can join using proper credentials. The benefit of using a wireless router is that you can use them to connect non-wired devices like mobiles, tablets, etc. as well.
This aside, there are two more types of router available:
- Core Routers: Core routers are those that can distribute internet packages within a particular network. They can be wireless or wired but they do not distributed internet data packages within multiple networks.
- Edge Routers: These types of routers can also be wired or wireless. The only different thing is that they distribute the internet packages within different networks instead of within a specific network.
Wireless routers are nothing but routers with the capability of creating wireless LAN. Using a wireless router, you can easily connect your non-wired devices such as mobiles, tablets, etc. In case you have a high speed internet and wish to connect to the network from any corner of the house, having a wireless router will be the best solution for you. This will also enable you to use the WLAN to transfer data between local machines using FTP.
What are wireless routers used for?
Wireless routers can be used to create a WLAN. This will enable all the devices connected on the WLAN to communicate amongst themselves and transfer data. In case you have an internet connection, you can use your wireless router as an access point as well. In some cases, when connected to PC, you can use them as a firewall as well.
Best Routers for Home use
- TP-Link Talon AD7200 Wi-Fi Router
This is one of the best WIFI routers for home usage. In case you are using 5GHz channel, it can provide a speed of 250 Mbps even if you are 30 ft away from the router. For a 2.4 GHz channel you can get 100 Mbps speed. The installation process is really easy and managing it is also a lot easier as compared to other routers. Price wise its perfect and TP-Link brand is surely a brand that you can trust.
- Google Wi-Fi
This device might be tiny in size but its performance is certainly amongst the bests in the business. For connections using 5 GHz frequency band, you can get at least 100 Mbps for long range connectivity, whereas for a 2.4 GHz frequency band you can get a speed of 70 Mbps. Apart from these, you can use the app to control your home devices. The low price of the product surely adds a point in its favor.
- Asus RT-AC88U
This router is one of the best in the market that can provide you with the best internet experience. With an 8 Gigabyte LAN port, high performance, and a better web interface, it is truly one of the best Wi-Fi routers that you can get. It offers a maximum speed of 350 Mbps and a minimum speed of 100 Mbps, depending on how close or how far you are located.
- Netgear R7000
This is the best router for home use that you can get in the market. With an unmatched performance both in 5GHz and 2.4 GHz band, this router truly takes the first spot on the list of best routers. It does not slow down at all even if you connect multiple devices to it for a long period of time. The overall look and design are really good as well.
- D-Link DIR 890L
DIR 890L from D-Link is known for its sharp and unique design. This probably is one of those routers which you would love to choose just because of its wonderful looks. As you can understand the performance of a router is also important and this router might not the best in the list but offers good enough performance and can suit your household requirements for sure.
Router vs Modem
A modem is a device that connects your PC to your ISP. The main task of this device is to modulate the digital signal process through telecommunication channels. On the other side of the channel, it will use the demodulating process to get the data transferred from your PC to ISP. Normally, you will have to buy a modem from your ISP so that you do not have to configure it according to their connectivity parameters. All you have to do is use the output directly to your PC or you can use a router or a hub to connect multiple devices at once. Data security is excellent and comes pre-configured.
A router, on the other hand, just transfers internet packets from one network to another. Basically, it connects to a modem and receives the data packets from ISP and then delivers the packets to different networks. Once connected with a modem, you can easily use the output of a router to connect multiple devices using wire. In case you have a wireless router, you can even create a WLAN as well. Using a hub for bigger networks is suggested in case you wish to connect more devices than the number of ports a router has. To ensure data security, you have to configure the firewall.
Can a better router improve Internet speed?
Well, you do understand that your router only forwards the data packets; it does not control them or maintain the speed that you get. But if you are thinking about the effect a router will have on the internet speed, then yes it might have some effect for sure. But how does it affect the speed? Well, say your router has a speed limit of 8 Mbps and your ISP can maximum have the speed of 10Mbps, then you will lose at least 2 Mbps of speed on the user end. But in case you have a router that has a limit of more than 10 Mbps it will not affect the speed of your internet.
How long do routers last?
Well, if you search online about the kind of longevity a router can offer, you won’t be getting any stat on that, but there are quite a few points that can determine whether you need to change your router or not.
First of all, you have to determine whether your internet speed has decreased significantly lately. It may happen if you have been using your router for a long time. This might be caused due to two reasons. Either your router does not support more speed or your router is not working and needs to be replaced.
Secondly, check the router connectivity. Check whether you are able to connect your Wi-Fi devices successfully with your router for a long period of time and whether the number of devices you can connect has been limited or not. In such a situation, you might want to buy a new router.
The next factor to consider is the heat generation. Check whether the router is heating up when used for a long period of time. In case you see that it’s heating up unexpectedly, you can surely think of getting a new router for yourself.
Netgear, as you know, was the first brand that introduced the fastest router in the world. They have the longest list of modem routers and wireless routers that includes the most innovative routers in the history. These days, households require a powerful router that can connect multiple devices and still maintain the speed. This is where Netgear comes in. It offers high quality products for home use.
With their fast networking technology, you can certainly control your smart home using Netgear routers. Using Netgear routers, you can easily stream movies, watch videos online without any problem, use the router login to connect your smartphone and then store all data on your PC or on cloud. With Netgear, you can easily have the best smart life that you can get. Whether you wish to have an eye on your home, store large files on cloud, stream videos or transfer files amongst local machines, you will definitely have the best performance speed wise. With a quality performance, stable speed on every connected device, Netgear routers are the best that you can get and you certainly cannot deny the fact that they are worth the price tag they come with.