What is a router?

When I gave you guys a security alert about resetting your routers, I made a rookie mistake. I assumed that you knew what the term “router” meant. And rule #1 here at Cyn’s Tech Tips is that we never assume that people are familiar with a term.  I heard from several of you who weren’t exactly sure what a router is.

For our purposes, we’ll be talking about a home router, not the complex setup that you might see at a business to connect everyone to a network.


When we speak of a router for the home user, we’re talking about an electronic device that connects other electronic devices like your computer, phone, tablet, or smart TV to the Internet. The router connects your computer to the modem. The modem is the device that accesses the Internet.  You plug things into a wall socket or a power strip to get electricity.  You connect things to a router to get Internet. Many times the router and the modem are an all-in-one device provided by your ISP.  If you’ve got the Internet in your home, you have a router.


A router can be wireless and broadcast a signal in your home that you pick up on laptop computers, tablets, phones, and other devices or you can plug devices directly into the router.

Where you log onto a wireless network in your home, that signal is generated by your router. When you plug something into that little box to access the Internet, you’re plugging your computer into a router.

Any more questions about routers? Make sure to ask me in the comments.

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