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Why Do You Need a Router for Your Wi-Fi: Full Explanation

Think about it: what would you do without Wi-Fi at home? Wireless internet being such a given these days, setting up a proper Wi-Fi network is critical to giving your family the fastest speeds and best corner-to-corner coverage on all their devices. But in order to do that, you need to learn about a little tool called a “router.”

Fact is, you can’t deliver a wireless signal from your home’s internet connection without a router. But what exactly is a “router,” what does it do, and why do you need it? That’s what we are going to cover in this article. So let’s get started!

What is a Router?

A router is a device that communicates between the internet and the devices in your home that connect to the internet. As its name implies, it “routes” traffic between the devices and the internet.

A router is a key part of your home’s internet network. Thanks to it, your laptop, smartphone, smart TV, and other devices can connect to your home Wi-Fi.

With the right kind of router, you can enjoy faster internet speeds, help protect your family from cyberthreats and hackers, and avoid those maddening Wi-Fi dead spots.

why you need a wifi router

You don’t have to be a computer genius to know what kind of router you need. Simply understanding the basics — such as a router definition and knowing what a router does — will help you choose the right equipment for your home network.

Why Do You Need a Router for Your Wi-Fi?

You need a router to share a single internet connection to multiple devices. Internet providers generally issue only one IP address to the first device connected to its modem or ONT. Think of that address as your internet mailing address — without it, you can’t receive or send data across the internet.

A typical home has a range of internet-connected devices — personal computers, tablets, smartphones, printers, thermostats, smart TVs, and more. Thanks to your router, these devices form a network. Your home’s router directs incoming and outgoing internet traffic on that network in the fastest and most efficient way.

Because your provider issues only one public IP address, the router is technically the only device that can send and receive data. To share the connection, a router assigns a private address to each of your devices, and sends and receives internet data on their behalf.

How does a Router work?

A wireless router connects directly to a modem or ONT by a cable. This allows it to receive information from — and transmit information to — the internet. The router then creates and communicates with your home Wi-Fi network using built-in antennas. This provides all the devices on your home network with internet access.

Through your router, every connected device automatically receives an assigned private IP address, whether it’s a friend’s smartphone, a smartwatch or a new laptop. There’s no manual configuration needed on your part.

For example, imagine that your router is your office manager and you’re a smartphone that just moved into a cubicle. The office building has a public street address (internet) and you have a private cubicle number (network). When you place mail into the office mailbox, your manager notes the sender in a ledger but sends the mail off without your cubicle number. Then when you get an answer, the manager knows which cubicle gets the response.

the importance of a wifi router

What else can a Router do?

Another huge benefit to using a router is Wi-Fi network management. For example, you can do the following with a router:

  • Block specific wired and wireless devices
  • Block or allow access to specific websites
  • Prioritize data, like gaming or a favorite streaming service
  • Create a guest connection, so you’re not sharing your primary password
  • Limit the hours of use
  • Create direct connections to specific devices
  • Share files from a central location, like a USB

Routers ship with firewalls, providing an extra layer of security between your devices and the internet. The firewall inspects each incoming data packet to determine its validity. If the packet doesn’t pass inspection, then it is not forwarded to the appropriate destination.

What’s the Difference Between a Modem and a Router?

It’s easy to get a router confused with a modem. But these two devices have very different jobs. In fact, without a modem, all you’d have is your local network with no way to connect to the internet.

The modem’s job is to bring the internet service from your provider — often a cable or phone company — into your home. This service then connects to your router, which delivers internet connectivity to your home network.

Buying the best Wi-Fi Router

Buying a router shouldn’t be an intimidating task. But getting one with the technology that will keep up with your internet speeds is key to getting the most from your home’s wireless network.

Most modern Wi-Fi routers already support the newest version of Wi-Fi standards, which is 802.11ax a.k.a. WiFi-6, it is an upgrade over the previous standard, which is 802.11ac (WiFi-5).

These routers broadcast on two frequencies simultaneously. Such routers are called dual-band routers, and they support both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands. Why’s that important? Because the 2.4 GHz band tends to be very cluttered. In some residential areas or apartment blocks, dozens of wireless routers may broadcast a wireless signal on the same channel, making it difficult for electronic devices to collect the right data packets amidst all the noise.

When it comes to Wi-Fi coverage, Wi-Fi signals within a home largely depend on the size of the home and the barriers that prevent signals from reaching their destinations. Fireplaces, mirrors, and thick walls are just a few common obstacles that block Wi-Fi signals. Look for a router that has the capability to reach the far corners of your home. Also, look for one that has a mesh network — a system that uses a main router and a series of additional routers — to boost and extend the Wi-Fi capabilities across a home.

Before you purchase a new router, always make sure to check wireless router reviews to see what others have to say about it. There’s only so much you can learn about a product from specifications and product descriptions. Reliability and real-world performance take some time to evaluate.

wireless router

The Importance of a Router for Your Wi-Fi

These days, Wi-Fi is as big a part of our home lives as electricity. So understanding how it works, and more importantly, how to get the best performance from your network is critical to making the most of your internet service — and running all of your connected devices all at the same time.

Having the best router for your home’s layout and internet speed is the number one factor in creating a Wi-Fi network with optimum speed and performance. That’s why in Chattanooga, Tennessee, EPB Fiber Optics offers complete, managed home Wi-Fi service.

EPB’s Smart Net Plus gives you the most advanced router on the market, professionally installed and optimized to give you the fastest wireless speeds in every corner of your home. EPB Tech ProsSM will connect all of your devices and then provide round-the-clock technical support at no additional charge. Visit EPB.com for more information.

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