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Your modem is a little appliance that links your home network to the rest of the world via the Internet. In simple terms, a router is a box that enables all of your wired and wireless devices to share a single Internet connection at the same time, as well as to communicate with one another without having to communicate over the Internet. Often, your Internet service provider may offer you with a single box that works as both a modem and a router; but, they are still two distinct technologies; not all modems include routers, and not all routers include modems; and not all modems include routers. You will need both, whether they are integrated or not, in order to offer an Internet connection for all of the devices in your house.
If at all possible, we suggest that you use a separate modem and router. In most cases, because modem technology advances at a slow pace, you can use a modem for years before replacing it. However, you may need to replace your router if your network needs better coverage, if you’ve added more devices to your network and your old router isn’t keeping up, or if you want to take advantage of the latest advancements in Wi-Fi technology. If you purchase your own modem and router instead of using the ones provided by your Internet service provider, you can often save money on your monthly Internet bill. However, this is usually true only if you have cable Internet rather than DSL or fibre, and the situation becomes more complicated if you also receive phone service from your ISP.
Modulation and demodulation of electrical signals sent through phone lines, coaxial cables, or other types of wiring are performed by a modem; in other words, it converts digital information from your computer into analogue signals that can be transmitted over wires, and it can convert incoming analogue signals back into digital data that your computer can understand. Most stand-alone modems feature just two ports: one for connecting to the outside world and another for connecting to a computer or a router via an Ethernet connection.
If you have cable Internet access, your Internet service provider (ISP) most likely provided you with a modem when the firm set up your account. However, it didn’t do this out of the kindness of its heart; if you check at your account, you’ll most likely find that you’re paying an additional monthly price (usually about $10) for the right of using the service.
There are fewer options if you utilise DSL or fibre Internet (such as Verizon’s Fios service), which makes sense. Your Internet service provider (ISP) is likely to offer you with a modem or a modem/router combination, and you may not be able to bring your own modem even if you can locate one to purchase in the first place. In many cases, you can disable the router features of a combination modem/router and use it as a stand-alone modem, allowing you to connect to the Internet with a separate router. However, the process for doing so (and whether or not it is supported at all) varies depending on your service provider and the type of Internet connection you have.
The major duty of your router is to transport data between devices in your house, as well as between those devices and the rest of the world through the Internet. When we speak about a home network, we’re talking to the whole system of linked devices, as well as the actual router itself. One port on the router, generally (but not always) branded “Wide Area Network,” or “WAN,” connects your modem, and the rest of your devices connect to the other ports or wirelessly using the Wi-Fi standard.
We propose two types of wireless routers, depending on the size of your house, the number of devices you want to connect to your network, and the location of the router in your residence. A standalone Wi-Fi router can easily fulfil the needs of most one- or two-bedroom flats with a few dozen connected devices. Good ones, such as the TP-Link Archer A7, may be had for as little as $60, while fantastic ones, such as the TP-Link Archer AX50, can be had for as much as $150. Ideally, you should situate these models in or near the centre of your home to provide the best wireless connection possible to all of your devices; even a single or two devices with a poor wireless connection can significantly reduce performance for all of your other wireless devices on the network.
For those who live in a bigger house, have a large number of smart gadgets in addition to their laptops, phones, and streaming boxes, or whose router must be located distant from the heart of their home, a Wi-Fi mesh networking kit is a better option. Good ones start at approximately $250, while excellent ones, such as the Asus ZenWiFi AC, are often priced between $300 and $400 on average. These kits are often comprised of two or three components, with one piece serving as a stand-alone router and one or more additional pieces serving as satellites, respectively. Using one or more satellites, you may extend the range and improve the overall quality of your wireless network by placing them between your router and a weak Wi-Fi signal in one or more areas of your house that needs it.
Unlike conventional Wi-Fi extenders, which do not communicate with your router, mesh Wi-Fi systems were designed to communicate with one another; they ensure that each of your devices is linked to the router or satellite that gives the best and strongest signal for that device. In the future, if you’re still unsatisfied with the coverage in some areas of your property or if you move to a larger residence, you may expand the network by adding additional satellites.
As intricate as routers are, we can’t teach you all you’d need to know about them in order to solve every networking issue you could encounter. However, following these simple troubleshooting and maintenance guidelines should assist you in keeping your network functioning as efficiently and safely as possible at all times.
Make sure it’s in a good spot: A standalone router should be placed as near to the centre of your house as possible and out in the open, but all routers and satellites should have as few impediments as possible around them (especially metal ones). If possible, avoid placing them inside a desk, behind your computer display, or in a far-flung corner of the room.
Update your router’s firmware: New firmware updates may enhance the performance of your router, introduce new capabilities, and (most importantly) resolve security vulnerabilities. Many newer routers will automatically install firmware updates, but some older models will not. Consult your router’s manual for advice on how to check for and install firmware updates on your device. If you haven’t gotten a firmware update for your router in more than a year or two, it may be time to consider replacing it.
Make sure to change the default passwords on your router, which includes both the WEP or WPA2 passkeys you use to connect new devices to the network and the administrator password you use to make changes to the router’s settings and install firmware updates. Each of them has a default password, which is normally found written on a label attached to the bottom of the router. Altering both passwords minimises the likelihood of someone getting on to your network and accessing the Internet or changing the settings without your knowledge.
Replace your router and modem: If your router continues missing connections or you can’t access the Internet at all, switch it off or disconnect it, wait 10 seconds, then turn it back on. This should fix the problem (do the same with your modem, if you have a separate one). Every now and then, it’s quite normal to need to do this, but if you’re doing it on a daily basis, your router or modem may need to be serviced or replaced.