router


router

A network device that forwards packets (blocks of data) from one network to another. Based on internal routing tables, routers read each incoming packet and decide how to forward it. The destination address in the packets determines which interface on the router outgoing packets are directed to. Most routers sit in homes and small offices and do nothing more than direct traffic from the network to the internet. They may also contain a built-in firewall for security, which serves all users in the network without requiring a personal firewall in each computer. However, in larger organisations, routers are also used to separate local area networks (LANs) into subnetworks (subnets) in order to balance traffic within workgroups and to filter traffic for security purposes and policy management.

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Source: Computer Desktop Encyclopedia on Answers.com

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