Understanding Routed Connections to the Internet

A routed connection to the Internet utilizes a routing device or router to pass traffic between the private network and the public network or Internet. A router essentially routes traffic to the Internet, and from the Internet.

Using routers to route traffic between the private network and Internet has the following features and characteristics:

  • Enables full Internet access for all computers located on the private network.
  • Enables all computers on the private network to access the Internet to provide services such as Domain Name System (DNS) to the Internet.

The different types of routers are:

  • Hardware routers: These are dedicated routing devices thats sole purpose is to provide a routing capability for the organization. Hardware routers are ideal for providing Internet connections for the organization.
  • Software routers: Software routers run as a service on a computer residing within the network. The requirements for a computer to run as a software router are:
    • A connection to the internal private network or LAN.
    • A connection to the public network or Internet.

The Routing and Remote Access Service (RRAS) of Windows Server 2003 can be used to enable a computer to run as a software router.The computer running as a software router with the necessary connections is called a multi-homed network computer.

Before computers located on the LAN can use a routed connection to connect to the Internet, the following events has to occur:

  • Obtain valid IP addresses from an internet Service Provider (ISP). These addresses are in turn obtained from and managed by an approved authority.
  • Assign these valid IP addresses to computers residing in the private network using either of the following methods:
    • Manually configure the necessary computers with IP addresses.
    • Use the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) service to do this. Here, you will need to configure the IP addresses on the DHCP server which the DHCP server can then assign to DHCP clients.

A few advantages of using routed connections to connect the LAN to the Internet are summarized below:

  • Setting up routed connections is easy because you typically only need a simple hardware implementation.
  • Routed connections provide full Internet connections for all computers residing within the private network.
  • Because the routers provide the Internet connections, these connections are maintained and upheld even when the other network servers are unavailable.
  • All multimedia applications usually work with a routed connection. This is not always the case with translated connections to the Internet.
  • Because a computer has a dedicated IP address for the Internet, it can be used for providing services such as Domain Name System (DNS) to the Internet.

The main disadvantages of using routed connections to connect the LAN to the Internet are listed here:

  • A different IP address is needed for each computer within the private network that needs to access the Internet.
  • Computers within the LAN can be accessed from the Internet, and from anywhere. This could lead to a number of security issues.


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