This is a D-Link brand wireless router. Its ports have no plugs in them at the moment.Routing’s kind of an ambiguous term, isn’t it?

Our support team frequently hears these questions, and many others like it:

What is routing?

What does my router do?

Do I need a wired/wireless router?

While the word “routing” can be found in all walks of life, for this article we’re referring to the Internet, and how routing works.

We don’t directly receive data from the Internet – it’s frequently routed to us by our Internet Service Providers (ISPs). So, when it comes to sharing your connection with other devices in your home, you’ve got to route it as well. That said, you’re going to need a router.

Network routers come in two common flavors: wired and wireless (and most are now both). Many of us have at least one in our home. If you’re curious about what it actually does and how routing works, then this article is for you.

Communicating is key

Imagine six people, including yourself, in a small room. The room is silent. All of a sudden, you address a question to the room, “Hey everyone, what does routing mean to you?”

The other five people in the room all start answering at once in an attempt to answer your question. One person says one thing, another person says something different, but it doesn’t really matter to you what any of them are saying because they are all talking at the same time.

how routing works

A conversation, unrouted. It’s noisy.

It’s confusing. You feel a headache coming on.

They are producing too much noise at the same time for you to be able to glean any relevant answer from any one of them.

The solution: a router.

Now, let’s say you now act as “the router.”

After asking a question, you also determine who gets to respond first, second, third and so on. Everyone gets a chance to answer your question. Everyone’s happy.

how routing works

Much better. The flow of information and conversation has been ordered. It’s routed.

The router takes on the role of a communications organizer, ensuring that everyone has a fair chance to respond without talking over or in erupting anyone else. Now that everyone’s communications are facilitated by the router, no one is left out, no one is ignored and everyone gets to put in their two cents.

The same is true of network routers– each one essentially creates a room for their clients to talk in without being interrupted by each other. In this case, each client, or device, has a chance to communicate with the Internet connection to send and receive data.

Choose based on need

There are many different types of routers on the market. Some are designed for home, others are specifically made for the office. There are also things like signal strength to think about if you rely on Wi-Fi, or how many ports there are for Ethernet cables if you don’t.

If you have any questions about that, please contact our support team and we’d be happy to help!

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