- 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.
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.
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.