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Dated: Jun. 22, 2012
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Overview of Routers
Routers are the devices that are used to connect two different networks in order to allow communication between them. Networks with different network IDs are considered to be different. By default, no communication can take place between two different networks, and this configuration prevents computers of one network from getting accessed by the computers on the other network, which may belong to another organization, building premises, home, etc.
Since Routers establish connections between two different networks to enable communication between them, they work as the default gateways for their respective local area networks. For example, if Router ‘R’ has two interfaces Int-1 and Int-2 and are connected to 2 networks N1 and N2 respectively, both the interfaces will be considered default gateways for the respective networks, i.e. Int-1 would be the default gateway for N1 and Int-2 would be the default gateway for N2.
However, nowadays most medium or large scale organizations have multiple branches that are located around the globe, it becomes practically impossible for them to establish a LAN environment with same network IDs across the world. Therefore, they go for cheaper, feasible and easily configurable solutions. To do so, they establish a local area network in their local branches separately, and after doing that they use Routers to establish connections between local area networks of the branches.
In order to configure Routers, organizations hire technically skilled professionals who have gained specialization in configuring the Routers as per the given requirements.
Routers and Vendors
Although there are many companies that make Routers, for example Cisco, Juniper, 3Com, Nortel, Lucent, HP, etc., Cisco and Juniper are the ones that still hold a leading place in the market. These two companies are considered big players in the Routers arena as they are easy to configure and they also provide their own global certification courses. These global certification courses certify students about expert level skills that they have gained in configuring the Routers manufactured by their vendors.
Some global certifications offered by Cisco include Cisco Certified Network Associates (CCNA), Cisco Certified Network Professionals (CCNP), etc.
Routers – Technical Aspects
Routers differentiate between the networks on the basis of their network IDs that they determine by the IP addressing schemes that the administrators have assigned to the networks. Since Routers use IP addresses for verification, identification and differentiation, they work on Network layer which is the 3rd layer of Open Systems Interconnect (OSI) reference model.
To configure Routers for the very first time, they must be connected via console ports. Once they are configured appropriately, administrators can then communicate, manage and administer them via Telnet or Secure Shell (SSH). Two open source applications that are widely used to manage the Routers remotely are Putty and Tera Term. These applications can be downloaded from their respective official websites.
Although Routers are mostly configured via Command Line Interface (CLI), nowadays some vendors also offer applications that can be used to configure the Routers using Graphical User Interface (GUI). These applications can either be installed on the PCs if administrators always use same PCs for Router configurations, or the applications can be installed directly on the Routers themselves in case they are to be configured using any computer available on the networks.
Even though GUI remarkably simplifies management and configuration of the Routers, expert level administrators still prefer CLI to exploit the Routers at the full.
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