On the Internet, routing is the way IP packets of data travel from their origin to their destination. Network routing is the process of selecting a path across one or more networks. The principles of routing can apply to any type of network, from telephone networks to public transportation. In packet-switching networks, such as the Internet, routing selects the paths for Internet Protocol (IP) packets to travel from their origin to their destination. These Internet routing decisions are made by specialized pieces of network hardware called routers. Routers work in the following way: when a router receives a packet, it reads the headers* of the packet to see its intended destination, like the way a train conductor may check a passenger’s tickets to determine which train they should go on. It then determines where to route the packet based on information in its routing tables.
Routers do this millions of times a second with millions of packets. As a packet travels to its destination, it may be routed several times by different routers. Learn what that means for your site in the Cloudflare Learning Center.
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