2.0 Onboard Communications

onboard communicationsTraditionally, the greatest limitations imposed on the field of onboard communications were directly related to the capacity of cellular networks; lack of coverage, insufficient bandwidth, etc.

Fortunately, over the last few years, these drawbacks have been overcome and, through the use of state-of-the-art cellular technology, mobile broadband is now available.

As a result, the latest onboard communication challenges are now focused on the management of large fleets of vehicles. 2.0 onboard communications are now being migrated from equipment, allowing onboard systems to communicate, towards a communications management solution, optimizing onboard service deployment and performance.

One of the most common problems affecting onboard communications is areas with little coverage, where the quality of communications is insufficient for onboard services to work. Consequently, a 2.0 onboard communication solution should consider using various telecommunication carriers and provide a dynamic and adaptive solution to guarantee basic service levels.

Such solutions would also optimize cost management by allowing automatic carrier changes in roaming areas that represent a higher cost and by simplifying the integration of a new data service from another carrier, thereby minimizing switching costs.  

Another challenge for the new onboard solutions is the deployment and maintenance of the thousands of vehicles that need communications. New management solutions should provide tools allowing deployment without highly qualified personnel in the field. Zero touch provisioning (ZTP) has become a fundamental tool to minimize field operations in this sense. However, a management suite should also simplify the integration of new services, which, in turn, simplify concept testing and deployment in fleets.

There are increasingly more services and applications for fleets, which entail different criticality levels and traffic consumption. Consequently, management of what services are available, and the associated maintenance costs, becomes more and more complex. An advanced communications solution should provide network visibility, analyzing what applications are available, the consumption of each and the service levels provided by them.

Finally, the evolution of SaaS services now allows you to globally select providers who best suit the needs of each fleet operator.  Moreover, these turn an initial investment (CAPEX) into maintenance costs (OPEX), simplifying the implementation of new ICT solutions in fleets. Therefore, 2.0 onboard communications should bear in mind there are different routing policies for different cloud services (HTTP traffic) and should apply the routing policies that best match a certain application now that traditional routing based on IP is no longer valid.

Teldat is working on 2.0 onboard communication solutions, providing a management suite that contemplates the simultaneous use of various mobile networks. Furthermore, said solution is apt for mass deployment and provides visibility regarding the route coverage per carrier and when it comes to data usage and the behavior of different onboard applications.



PRIME v1.4 is ready to improve Smart Grids

primePRIME (PoweRline Intelligent Metering Evolution) is a PLC (Power line communication) technology based on the ITU G.9904 specification. It uses OFDM (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing) technology to provide an efficient physical connectivity to elements that make up a smart grid, employing medium and low voltage power distribution networks that already exist.

PRIME technology has been developed by the PRIME Alliance and defined by ITU as an international standard.

PRIME version 1.4 (v1.4) represents an extension of version 1.3 (v.1.3). PRIME v1.4 includes PHY and MAC changes. Thanks to these modifications, a series of improvements (such as an increase in robustness, higher data transfer speeds, a bandwidth extension, more flexibility in band planning and IPv6 support for the convergence layer) have been introduced. Moreover, these developments are compatible with existing PRIME v1.3 devices.

The new version withstands broader frequency ranges, from the CENELEC-A band (lower than 95 kHz) up to 500 kHz. This means power networks around the world can make optimum use of PRIME technology. Increasing the bandwidth signal up to 500 kHz will likely provide high data transmission speeds (of up to 1 Mbps) to applications (for instance, on-board communications) and areas where these bandwidths are allowed (America and Asia).

PRIME v1.4 offers a reliable transmission mode. This helps improve the system’s performance when exposed to high energy impulsive noise, as well as when dealing with networks full of interference noise. Two new robust transmission modes are introduced: Robust DBPSK and Robust DQPSK. They add four repetitions of the OFDM symbol in the convolutional codifier, when compared to the existing PRIME v1.3.6. Message headers are now bigger and, together with longer preambles, allow for higher robustness when faced with impulsive noise. One of the characteristics that makes the PRIME robust mode unique is the number of repetitions at OFDM level, instead of at byte level (granting more time in the diversity domain).

Thanks to these improvements, PRIME v1.4 can be used in plenty of applications (and not only in those designed to measure power consumption using intelligent meters). This technology allows for connections to be established between IEC 61334-4-32, IPv4 and IPv6 devices. A few examples of where these applications are used include: medium-voltage scenarios, identification and mapping of the connection stage in intelligent meters, or remote control applications in low-voltage power lines.  

Adapting the PRIME MAC layer has been necessary to include these improvements. The changes made to the MAC layer make new developments compatible with previous PRIME versions. The main MAC-related feature stemming from this functionality (which derives from modifications in the physical layer) is the reduction of channel overloads. To achieve this, the size and flexibility of frames was increased and the number of control messages reduced.  

The addition of these new elements means that PRIME v1.4 devices have to be able to coexist with PRIME v1.3 devices in scenarios where both standards operate. The PRIME Alliance is committed to making any PRIME specification evolution compatible with previous versions of that same specification.

PRIME v1.4 has been designed so that it includes the latest state-of-the-art safety technologies. This is why it includes encryption mechanisms at the MAC level, allowing for data transfers to be carried out safely (even at the lowest protocol layers). Thanks to the two security profiles, the user gets optimum network safety and performance. PRIME uses an AES-COM of 128 bytes as an encrypted authentication method, as well as recognized standards for password generation, distribution and management.

PRIME v1.4 results from in-field experiences, gathered by devices whose design is based on previous PRIME versions.

All changes have been introduced after extensive data collection campaigns using devices that are already deployed and with the help of simulations. The latest technological alternatives have also been studied closely.

The PRIME specification has seen major revisions with the aim of improving the system’s performance. PRIME v1.4 can even be installed in networks with dire noise conditions.

Teldat PLC PRIME devices are ready to support PRIME v1.4 whenever the market and the power distribution companies ask for this technology to be deployed.

Wireless LAN in public transport in Northern Germany

transportSurfing the Internet and mailing – this shall be quickly and simply possible on busses and trams within a main city in northwestern Germany. Passengers in busses within this city will be offered fast and free Internet access.

The first vehicles will offer wireless LAN and pictograms will inform the customers that they can to get free Wi-Fi on the vehicles. The access shall be easy and without personalized registration. Moreover, the city is not providing Internet access only on busses, but also on their trams.

There are similar plans on a smaller scale for tram and bus fleets in other northern German cities, but what is very interesting is that some of the metropolis, apart from offering free Wi-Fi on busses and trams, offer at subway stations wireless LAN for free without any registration.    

What is clear is that this is only the beginning and for sure wireless LAN on public transportation will expand in the short and medium term. However, why is Wi-Fi on public transport so popular? Is it just access to Internet?

Answering the questions above, we can clearly say that  becomes more and more crucial in our daily life for many reasons, and not just for surfing the Internet. The possibilities for travelers once connected to the Wi-Fi who are spending considerable time on the bus, tram or train are endless. So obviously accessing web pages to read the news, connecting to social media or answering our emails is what comes to all of our minds first of all, but there is much more available. The transport companies can take an active role once Wi-Fi is installed and provide services for their travelers. Examples of services are many; TV services and other on-board entertainment, premium Wi-Fi services, online shopping, digital signage, foreign language services for tourists and more.  

So small wonder that public transportation companies try to attract new customers by offering Internet access. Free Wi-Fi will create a real added value for commuters in order to make them switch from car to public means which is an objective of many city transport authorities.

Teldat as a manufacturer of highly-reliable automotive telecommunication platforms, offers solutions which are certified and tailor-suited for the demanding environment of automotive projects. Moreover, we have just launched a specific website which explains from different perspectives, why Wi-Fi connectivity on transport vehicles is much more than just Internet access for travelers. 

No, we don’t have Wi-Fi, talk to each other… It’s worth it

sdwan summitThis may seem an odd title for a post by a communications equipment manufacturer whose portfolio includes a complete range of Wi-Fi products. But the truth is that the title refers to a photo that went viral of a bar sign advising customers to take advantage of the bar’s lack of connectivity and engage in good old conversation.

This is what we at Teldat were doing at the SD-WAN summit held in Paris last week where we participated as exhibitors alongside leading players (manufacturers, operators, customers and analysts) in this new technology field.

And what is clear is that, as the title says, talking (and especially listening to others) has been worthwhile to find out, in detail, the real level of development of SD-WAN technology, what it should really be offering today, and how it is perceived by operators and businesses. And the truth is that there isn’t much difference between what we have learned and what we thought.

The first conclusion we have reached, clearly stated in the keynote opening address at the conference, is that there is no single widely accepted clear definition of SD-WAN or what constitutes it. Apart from what we already know, that it is the application of software-defined concepts to the WAN (as the name suggests),nowhere is there any specific mention of the minimum characteristics or functionalities that a network must meet to be considered an SD-WAN. At least to date. As described in the keynote speech, a good SD-WAN solution will depend on the extent to which it fixes the network connectivity problems of the organization for which it is providing a service. And this is why all of the presenting manufacturers at the fair have good SD-WAN solutions. Some of them are from the security environment. Others come from acceleration. Others from routing, others are new companies with disruptive models. And each solution presented focuses on solving corporate communications problems and SD-WAN strategies differently, depending on the point of origin. And given that each company will have different needs, the best SD-WAN solution will come from the manufacturer whose strategy best suits a company’s specific needs.  Clearly, the concepts of visibility, control, automation, and provision are common to all manufacturers’ offers. But, as we already know, the devil is in the detail. And the differences in interpretation and development of these concepts is where the offers differ and where customers should start searching for the solution that best suits their requirements.  

The second conclusion is that, apart from technology, an important factor when evaluating the differences between the manufacturers presenting their SD-WAN strategies, has been their position on telcos. Statistics and analyst reports show a significant reduction in operators MPLS revenues and many manufacturers are building an SD-WAN strategy that bases its message to companies on being completely operator-independent, either by setting up a proprietary SD-WAN to get excellent (!) MPLS cost savings, or by setting up an over the top network, managed by third parties over operator infrastructure. Some manufacturers, however, see these two approaches as being a major operational risk that could shoot up the TCO of the infrastructure. Instead, they are opting for a carrier friendly strategy that includes the operator as a fundamental part of the solution. At the end of the day, SD-WAN technology offers significant advantages for telcos, and a combined MPLS and SD-WAN offer could potentially be very interesting for both carriers and businesses. Especially if we accept that no matter how much SD-WAN evolves, it will not mean the end of MPLS networks, at least in the medium term.

What we do agree upon, all those of us who talked, is that we are at the beginning of a technological change where there is much to be done.  Almost all large companies are starting projects in this direction, and it is true to say that the needs and requirements of each company are different, as are their business models. For this reason, success for the various manufacturers will not only be about the technological quality of their offer. Other factors relating to their go-to-market strategy (like flexibility, adaptability, financing and the scalability of their offers) will be almost as important as meeting supposed standards that don’t exist. And that is why Teldat is positioned as a leading player in this new field.

Would you like to talk to us? It will certainly be worth your while.


Reasons for measuring communication link quality

QoSHow can we establish reliable measures for assessing service quality? An innovative QoS solution. 

One of the biggest headaches for a company’s network managers is verifying that contracted service levels are being met for their infrastructure. Carrier services usually include a series of contractual points which are summarized in service level agreements (SLAs). To determine whether a service meets expected quality standards, the customer and carrier will use the metrics stated in the SLAs as parameters for measurement.

To transfer this into practice, all end users need do when experiencing network problems (i.e., when the Internet isn’t working, connections with the central servers are slow, voice communications break up, etc.) is to open an incident triggering an alarm in the communications systems.  The user reports a quality of experience (QoE) incident. These kinds of incidents have a number of things in common, namely, they are often subjective, sporadic and difficult to measure.    

Quality of service (QoS) measures

Switches, routers, servers, etc., are equipped with built in analysis mechanisms that provide performance statistics and even report queue overflow problems, CPU usage, etc., caused by system anomalies.  But how do we measure the state of the communications network that we have contracted?

To perform the analysis, we need realistic information that can reflect the problem that led the user to trigger an alert. And the way to do this is through contracted quality of service (QoS) measures. These measures are based on a series of metrics that provide objective data that can be easily analyzed and compared against incidents, without having to rely on the subjective end-user experience.

Typical QoS metrics include:

  • Delay: length of time it takes for information to travel from source to destination. RTT – which is the length of time it takes for a data packet to make a round trip from source to destination and back- is often used as a measure.
  • Packet loss: percentage of traffic that fails to reach its destination.
  • Delay variation (Jitter): traffic flows may be delayed by the networks in different ways for different packets. This difference manifests itself markedly in multimedia traffic.

The service administrator can use these three values to get a basic idea of how a network is performing and even complete status reports. And if he has the right tools, he can add other types of metrics as well (e.g., bandwidth metrics).

Teldat and Naudit develop a new solution for measuring QoS

A practical application for the three aforementioned values might be that of a customer with n remote sites interconnected among themselves, or in a star topology with their head office, which might have a centralized measurement system showing the customer instantaneous values of these metrics and their accumulated values over time. Thus, an increase in user QoE incidents will likely cause an alteration of the normal QoS values of the network (and therefore the network administrator receives technical information backing a possible malfunction of the contracted service). 

Teldat and its technology partner Naudit, have developed a joint QoS measurement solution of customer infrastructure. The solution consists of a measurement probe placed in each Teldat router at remote offices and at a centralized software providing the administrator via a control panel quality results and from where he can obtain and export statistical information about his network with the metrics discussed above.

Apart from being integrated into the routers, it is a highly precise measurement solution, which at the same time is not intrusive.

Together, Teldat and Naudit offer innovative technological solutions to complex problems.



The role communications play in transport and the custody of securities

ipsecDespite the potential symbiosis between transport in armored cars and Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), two factors have prevented both sectors from making the most of the opportunities available. The first has to do with the limited bandwidth cellular technologies offered up until recently; the second with the lack of integration and interoperability of existing services (GPS, video, communications, etc.). These two factors have helped perpetuate this problem, which is also present in public and private security forces.

However, the arrival of 3G and 4G/LTE in mobile technologies and the obsolescence of standards used over the past decade (such as TETRA) have spurred the emergence of new market solutions, which are able to meet these technically demanding requirements (such as on-demand video solutions and geolocation/tracking features).

In this context, is it possible to make use of state-of-the-art technologies, while keeping up to date, at a reasonable price and guarantee the levels of confidentiality and integrity the communications sector demands? Fortunately, the market is now able to meet these demands through integrated solutions that use 4G/LTE and Wi-Fi technologies to offer stable, safe and reliable communications with a performance comparable to wired lines.

Cutting-edge onboard communication platforms are at the core of this complex ecosystem, providing 4G/LTE connectivity to all vehicles everywhere. These communication platforms are made up of ruggedized devices specifically designed to work in such environments. Their most advanced versions include geolocation components (GPS) and allow for the integration of other key services such as:

  • Wi-Fi for communications during the handing and receipt of securities.
  • Video surveillance (CCTV), which automatically sends all data to the central operations room.
  • Tracking and fleet management, fully controllable in real time from the control center (remote shutdown, vehicle tracking, consumption levels, etc.).
  • Real time alarm monitoring when it comes to the opening and status of vehicles.
  • Panic button, to launch a coordinated alarm signal in emergency situations.

In economic terms, the use of third-party networks has helped optimize communication costs. However, this advantage proves to be a threat when guaranteeing the confidentiality and integrity of said communications. Thus, it is necessary to make use of data encoding mechanisms (such as IPSec), firewalls and advanced monitoring/supervision techniques. By implementing virtual private networks (VPN), local area networks operating on the Internet (and used by the fleet for communication) can be secured

Since wireless communications (Wi-Fi) must also be safe, advance accreditation technologies and certificates (AAA), together with Radius servers and captive portals, are used to allow connections from authorized members only.

Moreover, the platform must ensure communications are readily available at all times. There are several mechanisms for this:

-          Use of several simultaneous connections with more than one telecommunications carrier, so should a cellular network go down, another is automatically used as backup (failover mechanism).

-          Load balancing and bandwidth aggregation: if several cellular networks are available, their bandwidths accumulate to dynamically and intelligently increase the speed of vehicle connection.

-          The highest standards when it comes to the robustness and ruggerization,with noventilation slots,enable the devices to withstand shocks and vibrations. Moreover, this protects the equipment against the absorption of surrounding dust (bearing in mind that routers are not going to be operating in “clean and safe” environments).

-          Able to operate over a wide temperature range, with automatic shutdown when temperatures reach more than 70 ºC. Operation under said conditions must be supported by the relevant international certification.

-          Power supply straight from the vehicle’s battery, with protection against voltage peaks (also duly certified). Backup elements can be optionally added.

Like all newly-released solutions, management required from the end user must be kept to a minimum.

-          Automatic downloading of data on reaching a safe area (i.e. a bank) over a Wi-Fi connection (instead of consuming the LTE bandwidth): geo-fencing.

-          Plug&Play interconnection with additional onboard communication elements (such as satellite or WiMAX interfaces).

In short, these are the tools the ICT sector can deliver to companies that demand safe connectivity for vehicles in transit, offering maximum flexibility and sturdiness in sectors as critical as armored transport and security forces.

Teldat’s firm commitment to R&D allows us to provide this sector with the latest state-of-the-art technologies, converting complex techniques into simple, clear and transparent solutions for the benefit of our customers.

**This blog entry is based on the article published by Teldat in Securitecnia (June 2016 issue).


Wireless LAN in companies, a luxury or a must-have?

wlanFor some companies the question arises whether it is worth having wireless LAN in the company. Others are worried that a wireless LAN network could cause security risks and even attacks on IT systems could be easier.

For those who use tablet PCs in companies, wireless LAN is mandatory to provide Internet connectivity. Nevertheless, even standard notebooks become smaller and more and more manufacturers do without Ethernet connectivity on their devices. Anyone who absolutely needs an Ethernet connection is forced to have an additional adapter or a docking station.

Some companies have optimized their operation processes by using wireless LAN terminals. For example, retailers or logistics companies who do their order picking via Wi-Fi barcode scanners, which saves them time and money. Also hospitals who store patients’ records digitally and enable doctors’ on their rounds to have access to these records via tablet PCs. This simplifies the process of having the necessary documentation able. In restaurants, a seamless wireless LAN is already mandatory for taking customers’ orders at the tables and sending them to the kitchen. In this way, distances covered by the service staff are reduced, each waiter or waitress can take more orders without reducing the service quality. Moreover, even in the office, wireless LAN makes everyday life much easier, you can check your emails, for instance, during meetings.

In almost all applications, it is essential to have a seamless wireless LAN in all areas or rooms of the company to ensure a smooth operation. However, in order to guarantee a network without any interruptions or disturbances, it is mandatory to constantly monitor availability and performance. Therefore, only wireless LAN systems that have a corresponding management application included, should be considered. Consumer wireless LAN products are not well-suited for companies who want to use their wireless LAN for business reasons.

Are WLAN Wireless networks secure?

Some IT managers are still concerned about IT security in wireless networks but the days when data transmitted via wireless LAN could be read by unauthorized people are long past. WPA2 PSK and WPA2 Enterprise provide sufficient protection. Nevertheless, each wireless LAN does have weak points, especially because the radio network can be seen beyond the company. In this case, a professional wireless LAN management system has all the necessary functionalities in order to defeat such attacks. Besides, a wired network can also be attacked. For instance, open accessible Ethernet sockets for the internal network in meeting rooms and unencrypted switches are both security holes which enable industrial spies to access business data via mirror ports. Nevertheless, today’s industrial espionage is more likely to be carried out by Pishing emails in order to install Trojans or similar malware.

WLAN and cost efficiency

Let us have a closer look at the costs. A company who needs wireless LAN besides Ethernet wiring, could face additional costs. However, in case of a relocation or a company start-up, a company can even save on installation costs by switching PCs, notebooks and tablet PCs to the wireless LAN and keeping only printers and access points on the wired network. By using modern 802.11ac technology, one single access point can provide a high-performance connection for 10 to 20 work stations without any problem.

Coming back to the initial question, we come to the conclusion that wireless LAN in companies is now well established and has become a crucial part of IT systems. It has become a business-critical element which many companies cannot do without.

The telecommunications market continues to make progress in 2016

telecommunications marketAs we are past the half year mark for 2016, we have decided to take the opportunity to recap on what this year has meant so far for our industry.

The telecommunications market and technology are forging ahead even faster and on several fronts. A number of different factors may have had an impact on this acceleration of progress, including the new digital transformation, the incorporation of Big Data, the conversion to SD-WAN technology, or network providers and the deployment of new competitive services.

For whatever reason, the telecommunications market is evolving smoothly at present and everything appears to indicate that it will continue to develop at an ever increasing rate.

Teldat blog; the latest telecommunications industry news

We have always made every effort to be at the forefront of our sector. That means following closely the developments in communication technologies and carrying out continuous research, innovation and development of our products. Some time ago we decided to take a step further and share our wealth of knowledge and experience as a telecommunication company. Hence, the Teldat blog was born.

From the blog’s beginnings until now, we have posted interesting entries about a variety of topics related to corporate communications.

During 2016, we have continued to work on our blog, where bloggers known to Teldat have posted their articles. But we have also added some new highly motivated bloggers who add value to our communication efforts. Thanks to the large number of participating authors, we can cover highly diverse subjects, and we do so from very different perspectives which vary depending on each technician’s field of specialization.

Some of our readers may take a break over the new few weeks (or already have). But there is one thing for sure. From Teldat, we wish to thank our readers for their interest and loyalty. When you come back, we’ll be ready, reporting to our customers and followers all the latest news on a highly dynamic and constantly changing market, the telecommunications market.




ATM Security

atm securityBanks are currently one of the primary targets of criminals; quick access to cash or personal bank account information is a juicy haul. Automated teller machines (ATMs) are a security weak point and while bank-located machines usually have cameras and other security measures in place, off-site ATMs installed independently don’t have the same kind of infrastructure. There are plenty of articles on the Internet about ATM skimming, which is when a thief attaches an external device to an ATM to capture a card’s electronic data, including the PIN, in order to recreate an exact copy of the card. See this link to read an article from the North American press  on ATM skimming.

It is in this context that we need to provide remote management mechanisms that ensure thieves can’t gain access to confidential information, a bank’s network or impersonate an ATM.   While access control mechanisms, authentication, firewall ports, etc., can be used preventatively, a thief might still be able to gain physical access to an ATM.  If there is no way to remotely block the machine, an attacker may have sufficient time before the police or security services can arrive, especially in remote areas. Here there are two very effective mechanisms to physically control the status of the ATM from a general network center:

  • Access to a device that disables the ATM by turning off the power to the machine. By running a command in the communications device you can control devices that physically block the power and turn off the ATM or any connected devices, thus preventing attackers from operating or running operations that depend on electricity.
  • If thieves cut the physical communication cables to prevent remote access to the communications device, you can still connect to the device using wireless WAN backup. Thus, although you can’t communicate any data, if the SIM is active you can send commands via SMS that turn the ATM’s power on or off. You also benefit from a dual security mechanism, since precautions need to be taken to avoid just any number accessing the device’s controls, thus only one or a few numbers must be enabled to prevent unauthorized access.

At Teldat we have both preventative and reactive security measures in place on thousands of ATMs worldwide providing full control over the devices at all times, whether by fixed-line or mobile.


What’s the difference between a router and a PC?

482253443How does a personal computer (PC) differ from a router?

Many people believe they have completely different electronic systems, but this is not entirely accurate. While it’s true to say there are quite a few differences, they also have a series of characteristics in common.

First of all, routers fall into the so-called embedded systems category. “What is an embedded system?”, you may ask. Well, it’s simply a computer system designed to carry out a limited number of tasks, meaning their hardware and software is far more specific than that of a PC. Other examples of such systems are printers, GPS navigation systems or DVD players.

Both PCs and routers are computer systems equipped with bootware stored in a non-volatile memory (usually FLASH or EEPROM – Electrically Erasable Programmable Read -Only Memory) used to initialize hardware and boot the operating system. Let’s take a closer look at how this bootware works in the different systems.

PCs first execute a part of the software known as BIOS (Basic Input/Output System). Its main task is to boot the hardware, carry out the POST (Power On Self Test), which basically checks the hardware is in perfect condition, and load the bootstrap (boot manager) to upload the operating system into the memory.  BIOS can also serve as a layer between the operating system and the hardware.

router embebidoRouters, on the other hand, use embedded bootloaders. This software boots the processor (and surrounding devices) and loads the operating system in the memory. The latter is normally found compressed, together with the bootload, in flash. Aside from this, typical PC features (such as Power On Self Tests) are also added. The main advantage of embedded bootloaders is they occupy little space and boot far more quickly than the average BIOS (PC). Teldat equips each of their routers with specifically and individually designed embedded bootloaders ensuring their devices boot as quickly as possible.

Broadly speaking, PCs and routers are, at their simplest, two computer systems. Routers, however, are more feature-specific, their soft and hardware being designed to optimize certain characteristics. PCs, on the other hand, are just unable to carry out router functions despite their similarities.