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Cable Modems, Routers and DSL
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Hookup to High-Speed Internet at Home
Routers allow computer and Game console to share internet


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Routers


A router is a device that forwards data packets along networks. A router is connected to at least two networks, commonly two LANs or WANs or a LAN and its ISP's network. Your home computer and video game form a LAN or local area network and the ISP is the other network. Routers are located at gateways, the places where two or more networks connect, and are the critical device that keeps data flowing between networks and keeps the networks connected to the Internet.

When data is sent between locations on one network or from one network to a second network the data is always seen and sent to the proper location by the router. They accomplish this by using headers and forwarding tables to determine the best path for forwarding the data packets, and they use protocols such as ICMP to communicate with each other and configure the best route between any two hosts.

The Internet itself is a global network connecting millions of computers and smaller networks and routers are used to get the data to the correct location.

Why Would I Need a Router?

For most home users, they may want to set-up a LAN (local Area Network) or WLAN (wireless LAN) and connect all computers to the Internet without having to pay a full broadband subscription service to their ISP for each computer on the network. In many instances, an ISP will allow you to use a router and connect multiple computers to a single Internet connection and pay a nominal fee for each additional computer sharing the connection. This is when home users will want to look at smaller routers, often called broadband routers that enable two or more computers to share an Internet connection.



What defines a router is not its shape, size or manufacturer, but its job function of routing data packets between computers. A cable modem which routes data between your PC and your ISP can be considered a router. In its most basic form, a router could simply be one of two computers connected together using ICS (Internet Connection Sharing). In this scenario, the computer that is connected to the Internet is acting as the router for the second computer to obtain its Internet connection.


Often called broadband or Internet connection sharing routers, these routers allow you to share one Internet connection between multiple computers. Broadband wired routers are generally a small box-shaped hardware device with ports on the front or back into which you plug each computer, along with a port to plug in your broadband modem. These connection ports allow the router to do its job of routing the data packets between each of the the computers and the data going to and from the Internet.

Depending on the type of modem and Internet connection you have, you could also choose a router with phone or fax machine ports. A wired Ethernet broadband router will typically have a built-in Ethernet switch to allow for expansion. These routers also support NAT (network address translation), which allows all of your computers to share a single IP address on the Internet. Internet connection sharing routers will also provide users with much needed features such as an SPI firewall or serve as a a DHCP Server.

Going Wireless



Wireless broadband routers look much the same as a wired router, with the obvious exception of the antenna on top, and the lack of cable running from the PCs to the router. Creating a wireless network adds a bit more security concerns as opposed to wired networks, but wireless broadband routers do have extra levels of embedded security. Along with the features found in wired routers, wireless routers also provide features relevant to wireless security such as Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) and wireless MAC address filtering. Additionally, most wireless routers can be configured for "invisible mode" so that your wireless network cannot be scanned by outside wireless clients. Wireless routers will often include ports for Ethernet connections as well. After a wireless network is established, you may possibly need to spend more time on monitoring and security than one would with a wired LAN.



Wired and wireless routers and the resulting network can claim pros and cons over each other, but they are somewhat equal overall in terms of function and performance. Both wired and wireless routers have high reliability and reasonably good security (without adding additional products). Generally, going wired will be cheaper overall, but setting up the router and cabling in the computers is a bit more difficult than setting up the wireless network. Of course, mobility on a wired system is very limited while wireless offers outstanding mobility features.



Computer hookup to modem for broadband internet

1) Ethernet cable
2) Ethernet RJ-45 jack



Diagram - Computer hookup to router and router hookup to modem

1) Ethernet cable
2) Ethernet jack on computer
3) Ethernet jack on router
4) Router connection to modem
5) cable - router/modem communication
6) Additional port for video game
7) Additional port for device
8) Additional port for device



Router Hookup Diagram for Game console

How to Buy Wireless Router



Routers - wireless standards

Router manufacturers:

Netgear wireless routers

Linksys a division of Cisco Systems, Inc. is the global leader in Wireless and Ethernet networking for consumers.

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