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Routers are network nodes which forward messages between different links in order to bring the forwarded payload closer to its destination. This activity permits the creation of internetworks from simpler networks and hence of the creation of larger and more available homogenous links from smaller and less reliable but more numerous heterogenous links.

The route along which a message is sent as it travels from its source to a destination is called a path. A message which is sent to one or more destinations along one or more routes is said to have been routed along a multipath.

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