Internet Routers

The system uses automatic learning to obtain ‘perfect switching’ in its fully-distributed network configuration. Thus, it is less vulnerable to enemy attack than conventional networks.

Paul Baran, On Distributed Communications, Volume XI, 1964.

Internet routers are specialized computers that interconnect the network by switching communications from one line to another at cross points. When a computer communicates with another on the Internet, it addresses each packet with the other computer’s IP address and then sends it to the closest Internet router. The router then uses a routing algorithm to send the packet across the Internet to the destination computer.

An Internet router is typically connected to several different networks. An office building often has several routers connecting to various local area networks, found in “wiring closets” on each floor jammed full of network equipment and cables. Each office building typically has one router for connection to the wide area Internet itself.

Several other sections of this site provide information related to Internet routers:

  • Traffic Statistics. Provides near real-time data on the communications traffic across major Internet router cross-points.
  • Traceroute command. Returns a report on the path packets take across the Internet’s routers from one site to another.

A detailed description of Internet routers and routing can be found in “Requirements for IP Version 4 Routers”, RFC 1812, June 1995.