What is a router?

  • A router is the box that gives your home Wi-Fi
  • It connects the internet connection coming into your home to your computer, phone or other device
  • Router can either have a wired connection or a wireless connection

A router is a key piece of kit in getting you online.

It takes the internet signal from your internet provider, via another box called a modem, and lets multiple devices, including phones, laptops and TVs, all get online.

The router has a big role to play in how fast your home Wi-Fi is, and we’ve got a guide to getting the quickest connection here. We’ve also got a speed test so you can see just how fast your connection really is here.

Routers usually have two types of connection – wired and wireless. Wired is faster, but wireless is far more convenient (as you don’t need a wire…). Many people only use the wireless connection, but if you’re struggling with steaming, for instance, it many be worth buying a cable (called an ethernet cable) to connect your TV directly to your router.

Mesh routers

If you’ve got a big house, or an older house with lots of stone walls, covering the whole place in Wi-Fi can be a nightmare.

The solution is usually something called a mesh network. This is effectively a network of usually 2-3 routers that can talk to each other and work together to cover your home.

They’re super simple to setup, and we’d recommend trying either the Amazon eero mesh WiFi router or the Google Nest WiFi Router 2 Pack.

Wired vs wireless connections

Using a wired connection will always be faster and more reliable. But, you’ll need to run a physical cable between your router and the device you want to connect.

This isn’t always convenient, but for devices where connection speed is critical – your TV, for instance, it can be worth buying a cable (called an ethernet cable) to connect to the internet – streaming high definition video needs as high an internet speed as possible.

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