Knowledgebase: Other Questions
What is a Router? What If I Have a Routing Problem?
Posted by Support on 22 February 2008 07:05 AM
A router is a device (or computer software), that determines the next network point to which a packet should be forwarded toward its destination. The router is connected to at least two networks and chooses which way to send each information packet based on it's current understanding of the state of networks it is connected to.

A router is located at any gateway (where one network meets another). A router may have a table of the available routes and their conditions and use this information to determine the best route for a given packet. Typically, a packet may travel through a number of network points before arriving at its destination.

A packet-switching scheme is a very efficient way to handle transmissions, but problems can occur when a router along the path malfunctions.

Example of a network problem diagnosed by running traceroute:

1 152 ms 163 ms 977 ms []
2 555 ms 844 ms 844 ms []
3 800 ms * 367 ms []
4 * 638 ms 363 ms []
5 1040 ms 588 ms 722 ms POS5-3.GW9.STK3.ALTER.NET []
6 834 ms 306 ms 647 ms s o-4-0-0.XR2.STK3.ALTER.NET []
7 827 ms 561 ms 562 ms ge-1-0-0.TR1.STK2.ALTER.NET []
8 * * * No response.
9 * * * No response.
10 * * * No response.

And so on up to the hops upper limit (30). Where a * exists in the traceroute results, this may indicate a problem. Where there are 3 *'s; there's definitely something going wrong along the path. If a response time (measured in millseconds) is too high, this also indicates an issue with a router.

If you or other are experiencing problems with your site, run a traceroute. If the resulting trace route is un-clean, then it is a good idea to send an e-mail which contains results to our support team and to your ISP's technical support department, as the problem may be able to be routed around by either party.
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