According to PCmag.com, a router is a “network device that forwards packets from one network to another.” A packet is a small group of bits or bytes (called a blockA)
sent over a network – most commonly a local area network (LAN) or a wide area network (WAN).B
A router directs traffic from the Internet to the correct computer or web-enabled device connected to the network. Wireless routers are common and “combine a router, network switch and Wi-Fi in one box.”C
Wireless routers work alongside a modem and make up the “network infrastructure” in a home or small office space.D With a wireless router, users can connect multiple devices within a small area to the network, to each other and to the Internet.
Wireless routers house a Wi-Fi access point, an Ethernet switch and an Internet router. Users will find an antenna attached to the wireless router in their home or office. This is used to transmit and receive Wi-Fi signals.
Routers also function as firewall protection to prevent unrequested traffic from coming into the network.E Only packets from the Internet that were requested by the user will be able to travel through the network. Routers act as firewalls for any device connected to the network.
Router vs. Modem
Modems (or Modulator-DEModulators) are devices that adapt one type of signal to another.F A modem establishes and maintains the connection with the Internet provider’s service and sends the signal from and to the router appropriately. The router then transfers the data to the right device and keeps unwanted data out of the network.G
How to choose the right router for your home
If you only need to connect to the Internet on one laptop or PC, you might not need to invest in a wireless router. This means you’ll use a router that connects your computer at a fixed location, instead of a router that creates a wireless network in your home.H
However, if you have multiple web-enabled devices, multiple Internet users in your home, or you want to use the Internet in multiple rooms, you’ll probably want to invest in a wireless router. Wireless routers allow you to connect on any device, anywhere in your home – within range of your Wi-Fi signal.I