The process of forwarding data packets from a source to a destination is routing. Packets are the information units within communication networks. A packet often moves through various network points before reaching its destination. Transmitted data can be segmented before moving over packet-switched networks, such as the Internet. The segmented data packets travel separately along different paths, or along the same path, to their destination. Upon arrival, the message segments come back together for reconversion into a single message.

Routers at the Network Layer

A router is the network device that forwards packets. Data packets must be in a routable protocol in order to be forwarded by a home or business router. In a packet-switched network, the router decides the network path along which a packet will travel. In a local area network, a router interacts with Ethernet switches. In terms of the OSI model, routers are at the network layer. Wired and wireless routers are available and have the ability to filter traffic.

Routing Tables and Schemes

Routing involves the forwarding of data packets based on routing tables. The data table details the routes to specific network destinations, and this information is stored in the router. The routing process includes unicast, multicast, and broadcast message delivery. With unicast delivery, a message is received by one node. Broadcast refers to delivering a message to all nodes in a network. With multicast, the message is delivered to a group of nodes on the network. Contact Comms Express for an explanation of specific router model features.