This talk is about the future of networks built using the Internet Protocol, or IP, and particularly about the role that routers will play in this future. To get a better appreciation of routers and routing, the talk traces the development of routers from their beginnings in the enterprise, to fundamental advances in their architecture made in the late 1990's, and then on to how the network is likely to evolve in the future. The main point this talk attempts to make is that routers represent the highest value components of networking infrastructure because they implement the most valuable piece of the communications puzzle, which is to privde interactive, any-to-any connectivity at world-wide scale. Not surprisingly, routers are also hard to build, and the talk describes why this is so. Much has been written about what all-optical technology can do. The talk also tries to dispel some of the myths behind all-optical technology in order to provide a more balanced view about how optical and electrical technologies will co-evolve in the future network.