When a router is used, all Internet traffic passes through it to your local network. For convience, routers often include features that are otherwise bought separately. There are NETGEAR routers that are also modems, firewalls, and print servers, which makes them ideal for a network that’s just starting out — you don’t have to design everything at once, and you can experiment without having to buy more equipment.
Most networks use the router (or modem) as a firewall for security. See What is a Firewall?
Select features matching your existing network (or features of the one you’re planning). For example:
- Whether your network is wired or includes wireless.
- Which wireless standard your network uses. (802.11g, 802.11b, RangeMax, etc.)
- How much security you want.
- How fast you need your network. New, expensive routers will tend to be faster.
- If you want to access your business from home, then your IT department may require your router to include the VPN feature (not “VPN passthrough”).
Here is a typical NETGEAR home router. The antenna shows that this is a wireless router. A wired router would look similar, but lack the antenna.
Here is the router’s back.
- The port to Internet connects to a modem.
- Each of the ports to LAN can be used to connect to a computer’s adapter.
- The plug to power transformer always connects to the power transformer that shipped with the product. In models like this one that do not have an on/off switch, the router’s power is “turned off” by unplugging it here.
- The reset button is used to undo all the settings you made to the router. This is only done if the router is not working properly.
- The antenna sends and receives signals to wireless devices such as adapters. It can be moved to improve performance, but generally the straight up position works best.