Soft Router

Soft router refers to the use of desktop or server with software to form a routing solution, mainly relying on software settings to achieve the function of the router; while hard routing is a unique hardware device, including processor, power supply, embedded software, providing Router function set.

Soft Router

According to the different operations used, it can be divided into software routers based on windows platform and Linux/bsd platform. The more common software firewalls based on Windows platform are ISA Server, Winroute Firewall, Xiaocao Internet behavior management soft router, etc.

Some of these software are commercialized, and usually charge differently according to the number of authorized users. The cost of purchasing a genuine software firewall is undoubtedly a big expense for many small and medium-sized enterprises, and software firewalls based on Unix/Linux platforms Software firewalls are constantly being introduced. Most of these software firewalls are free. Common ones include ClearOS, pfSense, RouterOS, m0n0Wall, SmoothWall, Ipcop, CoyoteLinux, etc.

The common feature of these systems is that they generally have low hardware requirements, and even only need a computer, a hard disk, and two network cards to install a very professional software firewall. This is for many friends who have eliminated low-end computers. Said, it means to take an obsolete computer, install a set of free firewall software, and DIY a professional firewall, and these systems themselves also contain NAT function, and can realize broadband sharing, which means that this one is free The firewall is actually an excellent broadband router, which is very exciting, but this kind of free soft routing is usually to survive or cause dissatisfaction with users due to excessive advertising.

Performance of Soft Router

Most of the common hardware broadband routers are implemented by software, which is the same as software routers, and the general hardware configuration of software routers is higher than that of hardware broadband routers, so in some cases the speed is more than tens of thousands. Yuan hardware routers are more stable and faster. As for the stability of software routers, benefiting from the stable Linux and BSD kernels, the stability of software routers is very good. In theory, the running time of software routers without restarting is unlimited.

Comparison with Hard Router

Conceptual aspects

intel82576 soft router network card Soft router is usually used as an ordinary computer, using a general operating system, such as linux or windows, so the routing setting is actually the setting of windows or linux, or the configuration of the computer. The PC can be a very old J1900 or a more advanced PC/server. Software and hardware are independent; hardware routers are mostly based on embedded system architecture, using self-developed or ready-made embedded operating systems such as Vxworks, Montavista, uClinux, etc. as the operating system, and then cooperating with system manufacturers to develop their own Routing software, software and hardware are mutually coordinated. The hardware router uses a special operating system, so it uses a hyper terminal (computer) to manage the router through the console. The management of hardware routers is usually realized by dedicated command lines, graphical interfaces or network management software.

Hardware architecture

The hardware architecture of software routers is universal, suitable for the installation and use of various application software, not only designed for routers; while the hardware architecture of hardware routers is designed specifically for routers, and some CPUs are developed for network applications.

Hardware assembly

Users of software routers may have to assemble their own hardware (quite a lot of trouble), such as a PC with only one network card, and users must install additional network cards to satisfy the routing function. The hardware may have compatibility issues and users must solve them by themselves; and hardware router users do not need to assemble the hardware by themselves. The hardware matching design has been completed by the system manufacturer and has undergone rigorous testing. There will be no incompatibility.

Software Installation

Users of software routers must install the software by themselves. Some software is free and some are to be purchased; while users of hardware routers do not need to install software by themselves. The software is contained in the product’s flash memory.

Software maintenance

The free software provided by the software router is usually non-commercial open program code, which is usually developed and modified by experts scattered around because of interest. The completeness and debugging of the functions cannot be guaranteed; the software functions of the hardware routers are developed by the system manufacturers that launched the products, with high consistency. The addition of functions and debugging are maintained by the system manufacturer. Users only need to upgrade the software. There is a reliable channel for obtaining the upgraded software, and the after-sales service is guaranteed.


The software router software must adapt to the ready-made hardware (bcm5709s soft router network card such as PC) and the ready-made operating system (such as Windows and Linux). The hardware and operating system are not designed for network/routing functions. Stability cannot be generalized. Users must pay relative costs, time, energy, and money. The software and hardware of hardware routers use embedded operating systems and match each other, so the overall design is streamlined and efficient, not only stable, but also The installation is easy, and the product cost plus the cost paid by the user is relatively low.

User interface

In software routers, different software has different methods, some are window screens, some are even command line instructions. Not necessarily easy to understand. Some require very professional knowledge; hardware routers are mostly set in the form of Web GUI, emphasizing user friendly, and making simple and easy-to-understand setting methods based on specific functions.

Level difference

There is no difference between software routers, and the performance depends on the PC and software selected by the trial user. So it may not be applicable to various network/routing applications. The more advanced application environment requires more professional knowledge to cope with it; hardware routers will develop different levels of routers for different levels of network/routing applications to achieve better cost performance.

Working environment

The software router can only work on the Ethernet network to realize the interconnection between LANs. The hardware router has a wealth of interface types, so it is suitable for various types of networks. It can be used for the interconnection of local area networks as well as the interconnection of WAN and Internet. In addition, the efficiency of the two is also different. The soft routing can be applied to a small network with low communication efficiency, and the hardware routing can be applied to large, medium and small networks with high communication efficiency.


In general, different products are suitable for different customer groups. From the perspective of many product development, the software approach is suitable for the more technically capable Intel 82573 soft-routed network card network management, while the general network management hopes to use hard routing in other more valuable places. Due to the limitation of the computer, the soft router can only use the Ethernet card, so it is basically limited to the connection between the Ethernet networks. The connection of the soft router is only used when the Ethernet network is divided into multiple network segments.

If the network is large enough to be divided into subnets, the efficiency of soft routing is obviously not enough for high-speed communication between networks. In terms of price, soft router is the price of a computer, while the price of hardware router varies greatly depending on the performance. To be honest, if only NAT is implemented, then the efficiency of the computer is higher than that of the hardware router.

Combining many considerations, buyers must fully understand their own network environment and investment plans to consider how to choose a router. For example, analyze the working environment requirements of Internet cafes. Internet cafes have the following requirements for routers in common: strong enough data processing capabilities, high-speed and unobstructed Internet access, no disconnection or pause under big data traffic; high stability and reliability, and long-term uninterrupted stability Work; it must have strong compatibility and be able to adapt to different access services of different operators; easy to install, easy to configure, easy to manage, easy to use, user-friendly and easy to understand; under the premise of ensuring performance, there must be a Reasonable price, with excellent cost performance.

Therefore, for an Internet cafe with a certain scale, they are more inclined to use hard routing, and the use of hardware routers brings greater advantages, such as molding equipment, one-time debugging does not require maintenance, and there is no trouble in maintaining parts; technical support from professional manufacturers , Professional software upgrades for free; it can realize line backup, load balancing, strategic routing, and many other applications that are in line with Internet cafes; most products use network dedicated CPUs to solve complex problems in network routing; professional technical tracking can solve the problems that appear in constantly emerging network applications New problems, all free to solve and so on.

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