Many people wonder how they can send and receive information from computers all over the world in an instant. They can’t comprehend how they can type instant messages, hit send, and in seconds receive replies from other users who are in other cities, states or even other countries.
The instruments most responsible for the transfer of electronic data around the world are the internet routers. The internet routers are different from the wireless routers that are often connected to cable or DSL modems in the home and a 24 port hub or switch in a home or office Local Area Network (LAN). Internet backbone routers perform much more sophisticated functions than wireless routers.
Internet backbone routers are situated all around the world mostly housed in different Internet Service Provider (ISP) locations set up like a server farm. The backbone routers contain large complex address tables or maps that allow them to transfer a package of data technicallyknown as a data packet or datagram to other routers in the internet until it reaches the last router on the chain before finally being delivered to its final destination computer. When someone sends information over the internet it is broken into thousands of these tiny bits of information (data packets) and sent over many different paths till all of the pieces arrive at the final router at the receiver’s home. If any of the packets are lost on the way they are resent from the last past they made it safely.
The internet routers have the ability to process millions and even billions of packets per second with great speed and accuracy. The routers possess network intelligence so that if one or a few routers break down the information is rerouted to other routers almost immediately and without noticeable delay from users on the network. Without these great machines, there would be no networking of computers.