Have you ever asked yourself “what is a router?” If you plan on using the internet, it’s best to know and understand what you need from your router. Routers are convenient to have; they connect your computers, laptops, mobile phones and other devices together and make it possible for each one to share information on the internet. If you want to protect your network by effectively blocking outside traffic, consider a router. But a router isn’t exclusively good for just one purpose. It’s important that you consider whether or not a router will be right for you. Keep reading to learn more about routers and whether or not you need one.
- What Is A Router?
- How Do Routers Work?
- How Modems Differ From Routers
- What To Look For In A Router
- Router FAQs
What Is A Router?
A router is a networking device that forwards data packets between computer networks. Routers perform the traffic directing functions on the Internet. A data packet is typically forwarded from one router to another through the networks that constitute an internetwork (e.g. the Internet) until it reaches its destination node. A router is connected to at least two networks, commonly two LANs or WANs or a LAN and its ISP’s network. A router is often included as part of a network switch.
How Do Routers Work?
It all starts with your Internet service provider (ISP). The ISP sends a signal through a cable that runs into your home. But how does the signal reach all your devices? This is where the router comes into play.
A router is like an electronic traffic cop that makes sure data gets where it needs to go. It reads each packet of data — small chunks of information — and sends it to its intended destination over the most efficient route possible.
How Modems Differ From Routers
As I’ve said several times, a router is a device that manages the flow of data between two or more networks. It can be installed as a hardware device or even as an application.
A modem, on the other hand, is a device that allows you to connect to your internet service provider (ISP). It receives a data signal and translates it into something your computer can understand.
A router can be connected to a modem, or it can actually be built into one. In that case, it’s called a gateway. (If you see this term used in your product documentation, don’t worry — it’s just another name for what I’m calling here a “modem-router combo.”)
What To Look For In A Router
A router is a necessity in every home or office. If you have more than one internet device, such as a cell phone, tablet, and computer, a router will allow those devices to communicate with each other and share information. It will also allow for multiple users to access the internet at the same time.
Here are some things that you should look for in a router.
Check the square footage of your area. Do you want Wi-Fi coverage throughout your house or just in certain rooms? The bigger your house is, the more consideration you should give to the size and model of the router you buy.
The higher the performance rating, the better the router will work when transmitting and receiving information. You want a fast connection so that you don’t have to wait long periods of time while data downloads or uploads. A fast connection means less waiting and more productivity. For example, if you are watching videos online, having a high-performing router will make it less likely that your video will suffer from low connection speeds.
Most routers come with security features built in to help protect against hackers and other unauthorized users from gaining access to your network and data.
What does a router do?
Routers are the main gateway through which Internet enters your home. A router is a small box that connects to your modem via an Ethernet cable. After connecting to the modem, a router will assign and broadcast its own IP address to all devices that connect to it either wirelessly or through a wired connection (Ethernet). This allows you to access the Internet through a unique IP address, even if you use the same ISP as other people in the area. This IP address can be static (never changes) or dynamic (changes every time you reboot your modem.)
Is a router the same as a modem?
No, a router is not the same as a modem. A modem connects your home to a cable, DSL, or fiber-optic internet connection. A router connects devices within your home to each other and to the modem.
Where do you get a router?
The best place to get a router for internet is your ISP. If you have a cable internet provider, then you can purchase a router from them. If your internet provider is via satellite, then you can purchase a router from them.
What barriers might hamper your Wi-Fi signal?
You’ve set up the router. You’ve connected all the devices you want to connect. But still, the Wi-Fi signal takes a dive when you go from one room to another.
Wi-Fi signals, which are radio waves, travel in straight lines. They don’t fare well bouncing off walls and other obstructions. The more walls and other barriers there are between you and the router, the weaker the signal gets. A thick concrete wall can reduce the signal by more than 90%.
Other things that can weaken your Wi-Fi signal include:
- Microwave ovens
- Cordless phones
- Baby monitors
- Windows (even double-pane)
What is a mesh network?
A mesh network (or simply mesh net) is a local network topology in which the infrastructure nodes (i.e. bridges, switches, and other infrastructure devices) connect directly, dynamically, and non-hierarchically to as many other nodes as possible and cooperate with one another to efficiently route data from/to clients. This lack of dependency on one node allows for every node to participate in the relay of information. The concept can be expanded to include mesh networks where each node must not only connect to other nodes, but must also maintain a logical path between those nodes such that if one fails, the others can pick up the slack creating a fault-tolerant system.
Can a router help protect you from hackers?
That’s the question I’m asked most often. The answer is yes, but not all routers provide the same level of protection. In fact, many do little or nothing to keep you safe. But if you have the right router, you can enjoy comprehensive protection from all sorts of dangers on the internet.
A router is a device that basically allows you to extend your network. So if you have multiple computers in the same house, and they’re all connected together, a router allows them all to access the Internet at the same time, regardless of their position in the house. With this guide and our tips, find out if you need a router or not as we take you through what is a router and how it can benefit your home network.