router or box: understanding how it works


The Router is a network device for private individuals which allows the sharing of internet connection for several computers.
In France, the routers of the access providers are called Box and also allow access to streaming TV.

This page describes a bit the configuration of a consumer router.
You will find screenshots of the Orange Livebox and a Netgear DG983GT router.

router / box: how it works
router / box: how it works


General information on routers and consumer boxes

Consumer routers are boxes designed to share the Internet network with several network devices such as computers, smartphones, tablets, etc.
These also act as Wi-Fi access points.
In general, therefore, the box consists of antennas for Wi-Fi and Ethernet sockets for connecting a computer.
In France, access providers provide box type routers which can also provide access to Internet television and VOIP.

Here are the components of a router:

  • A waiter DHCP to distribute the IP configuration to the equipment that connects to it (cable or Wifi).
  • A relay server DNS with a cache to resolve DNS resolutions.
  • Modem with internet connection. The possibility of connecting to the internet network by ADSL or cable.
  • A firewall and port forwarding (NAT).
  • Some routers can ship parental control or WEB address filter.
  • Connection to DynDNS type services.
  • Journal de logs connection and blocking.

Boxes are very little different from routers. Simply put, they are rented by service providers.
They can be pre-configured to log in with your credentials.
Finally, some ISPs manage updates and the user does not have to worry about them.
But from a technical point of view, there are no big differences between a router and box

Access the box or router management interface

An article explains how to access the WEB interface for managing a router or a box.
Please refer to this one from this link:

An identification phase protects access to the admin interface of the router or box.
For example on a Livebox, there is a diagram of the network with the connected devices.

Connection to the admin interface of a Livebox.

Once identified we get an interface which can replace this:

Netgear IP Lan

We generally find the same things presented in different ways depending on the router model.
But here is a list of generic items.

  • The configuration of the internet connection (username etc …
  • Wifi (ESSID, WPA security, WEP etc).
  • The firewall and filtering part.
  • The possibility of making port transfers.
  • WEB filtering or parental control.
  • Optionally logs and connection information (machines connected via Wifi or DHCP, etc.).

Finally very often, a CD-Rom is provided with the box or router which allows the installation and the automatic configuration of the internet connection on the network stations.
Only downside, this often installs additional applications that are not really useful.
For example with Orange and its connection kit, WEB browser, others can install a wifi connection manager that weighs down the computer.

Finally note that Windows has everything you need to configure the connection by itself.

Internet connection configuration

We find the information necessary to establish the internet connection, namely the username and password in the case of an ADSL connection.

On the connection information side, we find:

  • the type of connection with the connection identifiers provided by your internet service provider.
  • The IP address of the internet connection.

In general in this page, you can relaunch the internet connection.

Router login page
Router login page

Configuration Wifi

The router configuration then has a section relating to the Wifi configuration.
There are connection information:

  • SSID name
  • WEP, WPA2 etc security protocol and associated paraphrase.
  • Finally, the possibility of MAC filtering.

For more information on how wifi works:

Wifi Livebox
Wifi Livebox

Firewall / Firewall: Port transfer

Routers are firewall menus allow the opening of ports to connect to the router.
For example for a remote connection on the management interface of the router or to perform port forwarding.
Port forwarding is used when PCs on the network need to run as servers on specific ports.
Some services require this, such as FTP, VNC, IRC client.
Finally, port forwarding may be automatic via the program that does the service if the latter manages the UPnP protocol.
However, security applications must be taken into account with UPnP, read: UPnP and security risks

Finally the following article details the transfer of ports: the Nat principle.

Thus we generally find:

  • A source IP with a source port
  • A destination IP (network machine) and its destination port
Netgear Firewall

The configuration or information possibilities then change depending on the router or the box.

Livebox Port forwarding

Finally here are screenshots with the possibilities offered by a Netgear router.

Router hacking

Router hacking has been on the rise since 2015.
They are part of the more general attacks against IoT connected objects: Internet of Things (IoT) and security.
In addition, the news on the following forum often talks about it: Hacking of routers on the rise



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