First, it’s time to level-set and make sure we are all on the same page when it comes to basic internet router knowledge. You could have a router in your home right now, and still not be quite sure what its purpose is. Well, there is no shame in that — I couldn’t tell you how my hot water heater works either. So let’s start with some router fundamentals.
What is a router?
A router is the important gear that allows you to connect more than one device to the internet at a time. Routers can be wired or wireless.
A router is different than a modem.
If you have a modem without a router, you can still get internet to a wired device (such as a desktop computer or a laptop with an ethernet cable).
But if you have a router without a modem, you will not be able to connect to the internet.
What is the difference between a wired and wireless router?
A wired router needs to be connected with a cable to the devices it is powering.
A wireless router, commonly called Wi-Fi, does not need a cable.
You will want your home to be Wi-Fi ready if you have several people with multiple devices in your home.
What does a router do and how does it work?
A router splits the internet signal from your modem so several devices can connect to the internet simultaneously.
Without a router, you would only be able to connect one wired device, such as a desktop computer, to the internet at a time.
What is a Wi-Fi router?
A Wi-Fi router allows wireless devices, such as cellphones, tablets, laptops, printers, smart speakers and more, to be online at the same time. A Wi-Fi router uses radio waves to transmit the signal.
What kind of router do I need?
There are a few key factors to consider before you buy an internet router. Knowing the answer to these questions will help you identify the type of router that will work best in your home:
- How big is your home?
- Will you need Wi-Fi throughout the home, or in one central location?
- How many people and/or devices will be connected at once?
- What types of activities, such as web browsing, gaming or streaming, will the Wi-Fi router need to support?
Once you have the answers to the questions above, you can select a router that is compatible with your home size and internet habits.
What router should I buy?
When it comes to buying a router for your home, these are some popular features you might want to look for:
- Dual-band: transmits two wireless signals for better performance
- USB port: allows you to connect external storage or wireless printers
- Compatible app: use the app to set up your router, run a speed test and control your Wi-Fi network from anywhere
- Mesh network: uses several Wi-Fi access points in your home to boost connectivity in larger homes
How to set up your Wi-Fi router?
You know what a router is, you’ve picked out the best one for your home and you’re finally home with the goods. Now what?
How to set up your Wi-Fi router?
You don’t have to be a tech expert to set up a router.
Whether you want to improve your Wi-Fi signal or set up your satellite internet home network for the first time, we have a guide for you:
How to reset your router? Why would you need to reset your router in the first place? Well, your router has memory and local storage that can take up space on the device.
When you reset the router, these temporary files are removed, allowing it to resume its normal functioning.
You won’t need to reset your router often, but if you do, find the Reset button on the router, and hold it down with the end of a paperclip for about 20 seconds.
What to do if your router is not working?
Having issues with your router? You’re not alone. Modem and router issues are among the most common internet problems.
First, try to reboot your router. Do this by unplugging it from the modem, waiting 20 seconds and then plugging it back in.
If you have a modem and router built together, also called a gateway, then unplug that device instead.
If your router is still giving you trouble, position it in an area of your home where it is not blocked by walls or doors. If you are using Wi-Fi, try using your device in the same room as the router.