Network Engineering 101: An IT School Student’s Guide to Routers

network engineering
Information technology (IT) professionals know that in order to understand the role of a router, it’s important to first learn that of a modem. While most people believe that internet access is gained from a router, experts know that this is not actually the case. In fact, modems make it possible for devices, such as computers, to receive and transmit information through telephone lines. A router, on the other hand, provides users with access to that modem’s connection, and is responsible for moving tons of information from one network device to another.

Although this task sounds quite simple, there are actually many different types of routers available on the market, each boasting varying features—from the inexpensive ones used in homes to the expensive pieces of hardware that are often used by large corporations.

Whether you’re considering enrolling in Network Engineering courses or you’ve recently started your program, read on to learn more about routers, and find out how they’ll become a significant part of your future career.

Computek College Teaches Students all About the Routing Process

One way to understand how routers work is to become familiar with how the Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) works. TCP/IP is the term used to describe a set of networking protocols that allow multiple computers to communicate with one another.

Every device that is connected to a network has its own unique IP address. When computers are hooked up to a network, they become associated with a network number, and are identified individually by their IP address. Another way of looking at this is to compare a network to a neighborhood. If the network number would be the street name, the IP address would be the house number.

During IT school, you’ll learn that a router is the device that all computers on a network are connected to either wirelessly or through cables. These connections allow the router to transfer bundles of data between computers. A router is typically connected to a modem, which connects individuals and businesses to the outside world. Additionally, routers come with many different functions, such as firewall software, for example, which can protect data from outside interference or hack attacks.

Selecting a Router: A Cheat Sheet for Network Engineering Training Students

Selecting the right router for a business will depend on the size and demands of the company you’ll work for once you’ve completed your Network Engineering training. For instance, if a company requires a router that can support a dozen computers, a basic router for consumers or small businesses will be sufficient. These common routers are available in connected or wireless options, and will provide enough coverage for a 2000-square foot office space. The average router is equipped with four Ethernet ports, which make it possible to either hard-wire computers into the network, or connect other devices, such as network printers.

Routers generally come with four Ethernet ports

Routers generally come with four Ethernet ports

For medium-sized businesses and large corporations, or for companies with sensitive data, a router that’s a little more sophisticated might be required. A few types to consider include:

VPN /firewall routers have wired or wireless connectivity options, and come with virtual private network (VPN) servers that offer customizable advanced security features.

Unified threat management gateway (UTN) routers also have advanced security features, and typically include extras like antivirus, malware protection, content filtering capabilities, intrusion detection, and anti-spam functions.

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