Wired Routers and Security
A wired router, or simply a router, is no different from a wireless router, except that it uses network cables for connectivity. Security is not much of an issue with this type of router compared to the wireless version. (Learn how does a wireless router work)
Router, Hub, Switch?
You often hear the terms router, hub, and switch when IT people talk about computer networking. Sometimes, these terms are used interchangeably. A lot of people think that those terms are the same, but they are actually different wired networking devices.
It may seem very technical to understand what those three are, but the main difference is their “intelligence”.
- A hub is the most basic and least intelligent wired networking device. It is used to link a few computers. It does not do anything to network traffic that passes through it. For example, Network 1 is composed of four computers. PC 1 needs to send data to PC 2. Data is sent to the hub, and the hub does nothing to the data but send it to all computers in the network, utilizing all of the bandwidth.
- A switch is another networking device that has a degree of intelligence. It is “aware” of the computers connected in the network. Instead of simply transmitting the data it receives from other computers, it has the capability to inspect the data and determine which computer the data is being sent to. After inspecting and determining which computer the data is being sent to, it will route the data only to that computer. In very busy computer networks, the use of a switch instead of a hub can greatly increase access speed because traffic is automatically routed to its destination.
- A router is the most intelligent and complicated networking device. Though it is primarily used to connect two or more computer networks, it also functions as a complicated switch. It has the ability to examine, understand, and even manipulate (routers with firewalls) the data that passes through. A router is basically a computer dedicated to network traffic. It has an “operating system” or firmware, one or more processors, and RAM or memory.
Modern Wired Routers
Due to the increasing availability of broadband Internet, the use of routers in small offices and homes for computer networks has become popular. Before, routers were only found in large businesses and Internet service providers, acting as gateways between LANs (Local Area Network) and WAN or the Internet.
Today, wired routers are also used in homes to create a small network of computers. With a router, it is possible to link every computer to access data and other resources, as well as share a single Internet connection.
Modern routers come in various sizes and shapes, depending on the manufacturer and its purpose. For home and small offices, a router may be as big as a box of chocolates that connects the computers to each other and the Internet. The number of ports, or the total number of computers that it can network also varies. The most common ones are the 4-8 port routers that can also act as a broadband modem for either DSL or Cable Internet connections.
Wired Router Security
In comparison, a wired router is more secure than a wireless router in terms of network access. With the wireless version, an unauthorized user can easily access a wireless network without being detected right away. All that person has to do is have the right software and a computer with a wireless adapter to “listen” to wireless signals.
In a wired network, the only way an unauthorized user can access the network is by physically connecting to the router or tapping into the network cables to “listen” to network traffic.
With regards to outside protection, most routers today come with a built-in firewall feature that protects from unwanted Internet traffic such as spammers, denial-of-service-attacts, and malware (Tips on how to get rid of malware). If properly configured and if an updated software or firmware is used, a router can be secure and difficult to compromise under normal circumstances.
Advantages of Wired Routers and Wired Networks
Though wireless routers or networks are becoming very popular today because of the relative ease of installation and configuration, wired networks still have an edge.
Though it may take a significant amount of time and money to install and configure a wired router and a network, access to the network is guaranteed to be fast and consistent. Once the network cables have been installed and are certified to be in good condition, these will be less prone to interference and dropped connections that are prevalent in wireless networks.
Latency, or the amount of time that data is sent from one point to another, is also smaller in wired networks, mostly due to the lack of significant interference and consistent signal strength.