Forwarding and Routing
This involves two processes, routing and forwarding. Routing is the process of selecting the path in the network that the data will follow. This path that the data follows is what is known as forwarding, or more specifically in this case, packet forwarding.
On a micro level, you can think of the processes being run along one of two planes, a control plane and a forwarding plane.
In the control plane, the router decides which outgoing interface will work best for sending any given packet to its destination, or rather, the most efficient way to route it. This involves drawing a sort of network map, or a routing table, with all the different destination addresses listed on it. The actions along the control plane are directly controlled by a series of routing protocols.
It is in the forwarding plane where packets are then transferred. So, this is also known as the "data plane" or “transport plane", because this is where all the data is transported through. Once the destination address of the incoming packet has been deciphered, the data then passes through what is known as the forwarding fabric of the router. One of the most important functions of the forwarding plane is what to do when there is traffic congestion, that is, where there are more packets than the router can handle.
For more information about wi-fi and wireless technology in general, check out the What is wi-fi? series. For advice on purchasing the right wireless router, check out this article. For an introduction to router configuration, check out this article.