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Home » Networking
Anatomy of a Broadband Router
Author: Gabriel Torres
Type: Tutorials Last Updated: February 5, 2007
Page: 1 of 2
Introduction

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 Router
click to enlarge
Figure 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 Router
click to enlarge
Figure 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 Router
click to enlarge
Figure 3: Controller chip.

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

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