- Fast connections are worth sharing
- Routing is the core of your shared network
- Dedicated devices - the alternatives
- What are the individual functions that make up the device?
- Buying a modem/router/switch
- Buying a device with an Ethernet switch
- Buying a device with wireless networking
- What about security?
- DIY vs ISP?
- Summary of features
The most fundamental role of a router, Network Address Translation, allows multiple computers to share a single Internet connection.
A firewall feature that inspects data travelling between the Internet and the local network. By comparing each packet to predefined rules, only those that meet certain criteria will be allowed through.
Port forwarding/port range forwarding This is a useful feature that lets you configure the router to forward all connections on one or more defined ports to a specified IP address on the local network. This is particularly useful for file sharing and peer-to-peer applications running on a shared connection.
Routing information protocol is the method by which routers identify the best pathway for sending data packets. The original RIP-1 has been replaced by RIP-2, which uses much more efficient procedures to perform the same task. Unless you are running multiple networks connected by routers. However, it is unlikely that you will benefit much from version 2 of this technology.
The Simple Network Time Protocol can be used to synchronise the clocks on all computers in a network. If a router has this feature, it can be used as the source clock which itself is synchronised via the Internet.
Stateful Packet Inspection is a dynamic firewall function that monitors data traffic passing through a router for common attacks such as port scanning.
In home or small business routers, static routing refers to the ability to set predefined routing rules. This is an advanced feature that is useful for redirecting certain types of traffic to nominated IP addresses or network interfaces.
IP over ATM is a means of sending Internet Protocol data over an ADSL connection. Some routers will support this low level protocol, although PPPoA and PPPoE are more commonly used.
Point-to-point protocol over Ethernet is a technology for transmitting PPP traffic over an Ethernet connection. PPP is the protocol used to establish conventional dial-up connections with functions such as dynamic IP assignment, authentication and encryption.
Point-to-point protocol over ATM is similar to PPPoE except that it communicates with the ADSL connection mostly at the hardware level, making it slightly faster. Not all ISPs support PPPoA, however, but most modems will provide the option to use either.
Embedded PPPoX log-in clients
Almost all routers will have the ability to automatically log in to the ADSL connection via a built-in or external modem. PPPoX simply means that the log-in procedure can use either PPPoA or PPPoE.