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What Is an Internet Router?

Learn what a router is from computer expert Yoav Erez in this Howcast video about wireless network technology.

Transcript

A lot of people ask me what a router is. And basically a router is a device that you would use to connect multiple computers together to a network. Let's say you have three or four computers at home, and you want them all to be sharing files and sharing the internet, and even printing to each other or scanning to each other. What you need is a home network, and you do that with a router. So, this is a router. They basically all look similar to this. There are two kinds of routers out there, ones that are wireless and ones that are wired. But the truth is, all wireless routers are also usually wired routers, because even though it has these full antennas that transmit the radio signal to your wireless devices, it also has these four ports in the back that let you connect any kind of not wireless device that you have, like a printer or even some TV's. Every router basically has this little computer in it, and when you connect your computer or your wireless devices to the router, it will negotiate the connection and give this computer or device something called an "IP address," which is kind of like its location or its number on the internet. And all the other computers in the network, also the internet, will know how to relate to this computer based on that number. When you buy a router, you will often get it with this power adaptor, so you can connect it to the wall. You will get it with an Ethernet cable, so you can connect it to one of the computers or more importantly, the internet, like your cable modem or DSL modem. And sometimes you will even get it with a cool little stand that you can use to place it on, and kind of display it. So, that's the basic overview of what a router is.

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