Methodology Of Router Functioning
Just as routers direct traffic on the Internet, sending information to its proper destination, routers on an intranet perform the same function. Routers-equipment that is a combination of hardware and software-can send the data to a computer on the same subnetwork inside the intranet, to another network on the intranet, or outside to the Internet. They do this by examining header information in IP packets, and then sending the data on its way. Typically, a router will send the packet to the next router closest to the final destination, which in turn sends it to an even closer router, and so on, until the data reaches its intended recipient.
- A router has input ports for receiving IP packets, and output ports for sending those packets toward their destination. When a packet comes to the input port, the router examines the packet header, and checks the destination in it against a routing table-a database that tells the router how to send packets to various destinations.
- Based on the information in the routing table, the packet is sent to a particular output port, which sends the packet to the next closest router to the packet's destination.
- If packets come to the input port more quickly than the router can process them, they are sent to a holding area called an input queue. The router then processes packets from the queue in the order they were received. If the number of packets received exceeds the capacity of the queue, packets may be lost. When this happens, the TCP protocol on the sending and receiving computers will have the packets re-sent.
- In a simple intranet that is a single, completely self-contained network, and in which there are no connections to any other network or the intranet, only minimal routing need be done, and so the routing table in the router is exceedingly simple with very few entries, and is constructed automatically by a program called ifconfig.
- In a slightly more complicated intranet which is composed of a number of TCP/IP-based networks, and connects to a limited number of TCP/IP-based networks, static routing will be required. In static routing, the routing table has specific ways of routing data to other networks. Only those pathways can be used. Intranet administrators can add routes to the routing table. Static routing is more flexible than minimal routing, but it can't change routes as network traffic changes, and so isn't suitable for many
Next time, we shall see the functioning of an Intranet E-mail system.