What is a router?

Basically, a router works like a traffic cop deciding which device gets access to the network next. A router connects computers, printers, and other devices to a network which is connected to the internet. More technically, a router is a critical device that keeps data flowing between networks and keeps the networks connected to the internet. When data is sent between locations on a network or from one network to another network, the data is always transferred and directed to the correct location by a router. When you connect to the internet you are using your router to join a global network which connects your computer to millions of other computers.

Why would I need a router? A router allows you to create your own private network which enables your computer to talk to multiple devices (printers, scanners, game systems, other computers, etc…). For most home users, they set up a LAN (Local Area Network) or WLAN (wireless LAN) and connect all computers and devices to the internet through one router. A business or organization uses a router to connect multiple computers to the internet as well as connecting to multiple virtual private networks (VPN). If you use a WLAN you will need to make sure the security features are enabled to protect your private network.

Routers for Home & Small Business

What defines a router is not its shape, color, size, or manufacturer, but its job function of routing data between computers.

• Broadband or internet connection sharing (ICS) routers allow you to share one internet

connection between multiple computers.

• Wired routers are generally a small box-shaped hardware device with ports on the front or back into which you use a wire to connect each computer. These connection ports allow the router to do its job of routing the data packets between each of the computers and the data going to and from the internet.

• Wireless routers look much the same as a wired router, except they have an antenna on top and no cables running from the router to the computer. Creating a wireless network creates more security concerns, but wireless routers have extra levels of embedded security. Wireless routers provide features relevant to wireless security such as Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) and wireless Media Access Control (MAC) address filtering. Additionally, most wireless routers can be configured for “invisible mode” so that your wireless network cannot be detected by outside wireless devices. Wireless routers will often include ports for ethernet connections for devices not set up for wireless connections. For those unfamiliar with Wi-Fi and how it works, it is important to note that choosing a wireless router may mean that you need to spend more time on monitoring and security than one would with a wired LAN.

Wired and wireless routers and the network they connect to can claim pros and cons over each other, but they are somewhat equal overall in terms of function and performance. Both wired and wireless routers have high reliability and reasonably good security (without adding additional products). However – and this bears repeating- you will need to invest time in learning more about wireless security. Generally, going wired will be cheaper overall, but setting up the router and cabling in the computers is a bit more difficulty than setting up the wireless network. Of course, mobility on a wired system is very limited while wireless offers outstanding mobility features. If you use a laptop, you will enjoy its versatility more by creating a wireless network.

BOLT Internet has a variety of Residential and Business class routers. We can install and configure the router for each of the computers and printers to complete your home or business network. Call for pricing regarding setting up routers and networks.