Broadband routers are more popular each day and thanks to the launching of highly integrated controller chips today a broadband router needs only very few components to be manufactured – which is great to reduce the price of this device. Let’s see how a broadband router looks like inside.

Broadband RouterFigure 1: Inside a broadband router.

As you can see in Figure 1, very few components are used. This happens because the big chip, the controller (a.k.a. router chip) is in charge of almost everything, basically combining router, switch and firewall functions. The other two smaller chips are memories, a RAM and a ROM. In Figure 2 you can find a summary of what is inside a broadband router.

Broadband RouterFigure 2: Anatomy of a broadband router.

In our router the big controller chip was a Marvell 88E6208, as you can see in Figure 3. As we already mentioned, this is the chip in charge of all router features (router, switch, firewall, etc). Some routers may have even less components if the main controller chip has embedded a RAM and/or a flash-ROM memory.

Broadband RouterFigure 3: Controller chip.

On the next page we will talk about the other components.

Gabriel Torres is a Brazilian best-selling ICT expert, with 24 books published. He started his online career in 1996, when he launched Clube do Hardware, which is one of the oldest and largest websites about technology in Brazil. He created Hardware Secrets in 1999 to expand his knowledge outside his home country.