High-speed Router

Written by Amy Hunter
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A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Usually, this hoary cliché refers to people, but it applies elsewhere as well. Especially, as it happens, to your computer network. It doesn't matter if you have a T1 line coming into your office, of if you've got a cable modem (or, if you're lucky enough, a VDSL line) coming into your home; if you don't have a router that can handle those kinds of connection speeds, you may as well still be using a dial-up connection.

First, a word on how routers work. In its simplest, form a router is the Ethernet hub used in home networking. This hub takes a broadband internet connection (such as DSL or a cable modem) and shares it among your home computers. Usually, however, when people talk about "routers," they are referring to larger and more complicated machines used by businesses and ISPs.

Let's say you work for an engineering firm. Half the company, in this hypothetical scenario, are engineers, using and creating large CAD files. The other half of the company works in sales and marketing. When the engineering side of the company sends a large file, it slows the network down. That's why the company will likely have two separate networks, one for the engineers and one for everyone else. There's a router that connects these networks. This router keeps the engineers' files on the engineering side of the network, so that the transmission of large files won't slow down everyone else's network. The router also maintains everyone's access to the Internet.

This example clearly illustrates why you want as fast a router as is available. A router makes innumerable decisions about where to send information, both incoming and outgoing. Without a router with ample processing speed, your whole network can get bogged down, especially if you have many users accessing your network.

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