A router in its simplest form is a networking device that forwards data between computer networks (EG. Your home network and the internet)
The most familiar type of routers are the home and small office routers that simply forward packets of data between home computers and the Internet. An example of a router would be a cable or DSL router, which connects to the Internet through an Internet service provider (ISP).
Finding your router on the network
Finding the IP of your router (So you can access the setup and features) is usually quite easy.
Press the start button of Windows (Bottom left) and type DOS, a black window will appear, now type IPCONFIG/ALL. This will show data regarding how you’re PC is connecting to the internet, the part you need is headed Default Gateway, this is the IP of the router that you can use to access the admin, simply type the IP into your browser (Such as Chrome or Firefox)
One of the well-known functions of a router is to act as a firewall, which is a protection that sits between your network and the open internet.
This function prevents unauthorised access to your network, or more specifically, to ports on your PC or other devices.
Sometimes you may need an open port to allow access to specific devices, for example CCTV to enable you to view the images on the Mobile phone app. However, this is becoming less likely due to CCTV manufacturers using “Cloud access” where the CCTV system would send the data to a centralised server and the phone app simply access the data from the outside server.
Port forwarding, when needed, can be quite complex to setup, especially as different manufacturers have different ways of setting this up.
A website has been set up to help with this, check out https://portforward.com for your routers port forwarding instructions.
An extensive list of ports and how they are defined can be found here. en.wikipedia.org
Commonly used ports are
- 80:- HTTP
- 21:- FTP
- 22:- SSH
- 23:- Telnet
- 25:- Mail SMTP
- 143:- Mail IMAP
- 443: HTTPS
Another useful feature of most routers is DDNS.
DDNS (or Dynamic domain name system) is a method of providing external access to your network (Perhaps for a CCTV or VPN connection) when your ISP (Internet service provider) has not provided you with a static IP, so your IP WAN address changes frequently.
DDNS provides a URL to access your network that looks for changes in your IP and updates a centralised database, for example https:mycctv.myhome.com and use this to access your network instead of an IP.
The use of DDNS usually entails setting up an account on your chosen DDNS service and adding the given details to your router. The router then connects to that service and provides updates as your IP changes.
Another useful feature of the router is providing you with a list of connected devices and their IP numbers. This is usually found under the heading of DHCP clients, attached devices or connected devices. There are sometimes two lists, one for Wi-Fi connected devices and another for hardwired, connected via cable into the RJ45 ports on the back of the router. This is useful if you wish to check for unauthorised access to your network of simply finding a devices IP number, perhaps for port forwarding or local LAN connection.
STATIC and DHCP IP
If you are having problems connecting a device to your router this is commonly cased by this setting.
Always check if your router is DHCP, where the router automatically connects and allocates resources to network devices.
Sometimes you may find that the device you are trying to connect is set to a static (fixed) IP number, this can also mean the gateway IP(Router) and DNS are also incorrectly set for connection to your router.
Always ensure that the router and the device you are trying to connect are set to DHCP for simplicity of setup. This makes the router allocate the correct information to the device you are trying to use.
For example IP, DNS, Gateway, Subnet mask which all need to be correctly set for the device to successfully be used on the router and network.