Ip Router

Written by Amy Hunter
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You want someone's phone number, you look in the phone book (or now, increasingly, in an online telephone directory). It's a simple process--one that we take for granted. Computers, though, operate a tad differently.

When you're browsing the Internet, you type in the name of the web site you want (e.g., www.webpage.com), and you're directed to where you want to go. When you type the web address, though, what you're really doing is asking that this name be translated into an IP address, which is like the phone number of a computer (or web page).

An IP address is a number (, for example) that connects computers to other computers. IP does not rely upon a continuous connection; the connection line between the two computers does not need to be occupied. This way, multiple computers can share the same line. IP divides each piece of data is manageable "packets," and then sent to individual computers via the Internet. IP, therefore, is responsible for routing each packet to the correct destination.

When an IP packet is sent from computer to computer, it is done through an IP router. The IP router is what guarantees each packet of information makes it to the correct source. So when you're browsing the Internet, you are taken to the site you want to visit, not the one your neighbor is visiting. There are likely several routers between you and the information you're receiving. The simplest router would be an Ethernet hub used in home networking. The most complex is an industrial-strength router that would be used by an ISP or a large business.

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