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Old 09-14-2006, 12:37 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Smile What is a router for?

What is a router really for? Do i need to have one just to be able to connect to a wireless network?

Sorry for a noob question. The Google definitions are just too complicated for me.
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Old 09-14-2006, 01:13 AM   #2 (permalink)
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For wireless, as in your own and not municipal...? Yes, you will need a wireless router to broadcast and receive the signal.

Most wireless (it has wires, but also sends/receives wirelessly) routers also have jacks in the back for ethernet cables, so you can also hook up other computers to it via ethernet.

I have a wireless router. My daughter uses the wireless with her laptop, while my computer and my wife's uses ethernet cables to connect to the same router.

Hope that helps.
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Old 09-14-2006, 02:09 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Computers in the internet communicate with each other by sending small bits of information called "packets". Routers all around the world are in charge of directing those packets so that they reach their destination. It's like that person at the post office who sorts all the letters and sends each one to its corresponding place.

As for your question, if the wireless network is already there (ie: some company provides it, or it's a municipal network), then all you need is a wireless adapter, a device that can pick up the wireless signal. Most laptops already come with one, and you can get one for a desktop computer for around $20.

You'd need a router only if you wanted to set up your own network.
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Old 09-14-2006, 05:51 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Ok. Thanks
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Old 09-14-2006, 09:51 AM   #5 (permalink)
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router has 2 fold purpose

1: for outer world, defines efficent path to the destination address for packet delivery

2: for your network, provides Network address translation, and will work as a hardware firewall to your interneal network.
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Old 09-14-2006, 03:56 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Yes I ommited the NAT/Firewall part, but maybe he wasn't looking for such a technical answer. Then again, this is the Tech Forum.
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Old 09-15-2006, 10:21 AM   #7 (permalink)
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if all ur computers have wireless cards you could set up an ad hoc network, although they will need reestablished every time you turn a computer off and back on.
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