The IT Law Wiki


A router is

[a]n intermediate device on a communications network that expedites message delivery. On a single network linking many computers through a mesh of possible connections, a router receives transmitted messages and forwards them to the correct destinations over the most efficient available route. On an interconnected set of local area networks using the same communication protocols, a router serves the somewhat different function of acting as a link between networks, enabling messages to be sent from one to another.[1]
[a] computer system in a network that stores and forwards data packets between local area networks and wide area networks.[2]
[a] computer that is a gateway between two networks at OSI layer 3 and that relays and directs data packets through that inter-network. The most common form of router operates on IP packets.[3]


Routers function similarly to a 911 dispatcher who sends and controls the distribution of emergency vehicles to the intended location. Routers decide the most optimal way to automatically send [[computing data] to a desired location. They are constantly evaluating current computer traffic and sending data along the most efficient path to its intended destination.[4]

Using a routing table, it finds the best path for forwarding ("routing") a packet to the next router on the network until all of the packets are received at the destination computer, where all of the packets in a message are reassembled.

A router typically uses a simple set of rules, known as an access control list (ACL), that addresses only the most basic characteristics of network traffic.

Most routers owned by ISPs are collocated at facilities housing IXPs or ISP backbone switches. End users typically keep their routers at their own sites. . . . [R]outers fall into two classifications. Some routers are used to move information within a particular ISP. Routers used for this purpose are called interior routers. Routers that move information between different ISPs are called exterior routers.[5]


See also[]