Initially when I started learning networking, I understand the 'Switches' and 'Routers' are the core components of networking.

As I started getting more into networking, I started hearing different types of routers itself namely:

  1. Edge Router
  2. Border Router
  3. Core Router
  4. Interior Router
  5. Exterior Router

On what basis do they differentiate these routers and what different functionalities does each one of them perform apart from their primary function of routing?

Could someone please explain the difference clearly and help me in understanding these variations better?

  • Did any answer help you? If so, you should accept the answer so that the question doesn't keep popping up forever, looking for an answer. Alternatively, you can provide and accept your own answer.
    – Ron Maupin
    Dec 25, 2018 at 8:22

1 Answer 1


These are not different types of routers, they are different roles. It usually depends on where, topologically, the device placed in the network. Edge routers, for example, are placed at the network edge, while a core router is, well..., in the core.

Routers all do the same thing: they forward packets based on layer 3 information. they might have additional functions, such as NAT, firewall, VOIP, but that is highly dependent on the particular network. One can't say that a particular role always performs NAT, for example.

If I had to make a blanket statement, the larger the network, the more the functions are separated. In a small network, one router might do everything.

  • Thanks @Ron. That answers part of my question in fact. However, my major concern was to understand when the router is called a branch router, when it is called a border router, when it is called a core router (How would it look in a network?). Do you have a reference/link wherein they would've shown using the topology, to be understand this?
    – Deepak
    Apr 20, 2018 at 2:59
  • 1
    There are no hard and fast definitions, although you could say if a router is at a branch office, it is a branch router. I wouldn't worry about definitions,. You could have many of the same model router performing all the same functions, but you might refer to them different, depending of where in the network they're located. Because network topologies vary so widely, it's hard to give you a reference diagram.
    – Ron Trunk
    Apr 20, 2018 at 14:47
  • 1
    @DarshanL, basically, it is convenient to call them by the different titles based on the context. For example, from a central site, it may be correct to call a router at a remote site a branch router, but when you are working at the branch, it may be an edge router. It really depends on your perspective.
    – Ron Maupin
    Apr 21, 2018 at 2:50
  • Sometimes they are different types, e.g. you probably buy a lot more expensive routers for core routers, but it's not because they're fundamentally different, it's just because they are better versions of the same thing.
    – user253751
    Sep 11, 2018 at 10:31

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