The first time I signed up for the Spectrum internet service, I remember being asked if I wanted to rent a router that was being offered in some spectrum promotions. Now I had been told earlier that I was receiving a modem for free so I was baffled. Yes, I did not know the difference and no I’m not ashamed. There are much bigger things about the universe that we have no idea about and nobody seems to be ashamed of that. Anyway, so I went on to ask the sales representative what exactly did she mean by that and she kindly explained the difference briefly.
However, now I was curious and had to research about what exactly a router is. Here’s everything I found out.
First let me clear out that a modem and router are indeed two different devices, or so they were in the past. Nowadays, you can also find two-in-one devices called gateways.
The modem is a device used to receive internet signals from your internet service provider. A modem without a router can be used to access the internet on your desktop or laptop computer through an ethernet cable. However, a router would be useless in the absence of a modem.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not dissing the router. In fact, I think it is a crucial gear nowadays because it helps you connect multiple devices to the internet at the same time. Nobody nowadays has a single computer in the house anymore.
Wired VS Wireless Router
There are wired as well as wireless routers available in the market. As the name suggests, a wired router has to be connected to the devices with wires, just like old times. However, wireless routers are the norm these days. They can be wirelessly connected to several devices simultaneously.
A router takes the signals from your modem, turns them into signals readable by your smart devices, and then splits these signals so all the devices in a house can access the internet at the same time. As I discussed earlier, in the absence of a router only one device can access the internet via a cable connected to the modem.
The wireless routers discussed earlier are called Wi-Fi routers. It is through these routers that you are able to connect your tablets, mobile phones, laptop computers, and many other wireless devices magically to the internet. In order to transfer internet signals, these routers use radio waves.
The Router for You
You choose to rent the router from your internet service provider or you go ahead and buy one for yourself. In both cases, it is equally important to know which kind of router will be the best fit for your needs.
Here are a few questions to consider before selecting a router compatible with your needs:
- What is the size of your house?
- How many users are there in the house?
- How many devices will be connected to the internet at a time?
- Do you want Wi-Fi all over the house or in a certain part of the house only?
- Are there any gamers in the household?
- Will there be lots of streaming?
I hope by now you are clear about one thing, that the purpose of a router in our lives is to create that wireless magic we so blissfully take for granted every single day. I thank the inventors of the Wi-Fi router every day for making our internet experience so convenient.
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