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Router basics

We all know the drill when the internet first goes out: power cycle the router and modem! What does this little device how does it work and what exactly does it do? In this week’s article we will explain this as well as explain the difference between business routers and home (personal routers).

Most people know their router as way to transport data from the internet to their home PC. While this is true, it’s a little more complicated than that. As a metaphor, think of your router as a UPS driver. It knows all the addresses of your devices (IP addresses that is), and it assigns those addresses and delivers the data packets to the correct device. The modem (which often has a built-in router, tending to confuse people), acts as a conduit, sending data over the internet. Back in the dawn of the internet, you only really needed a modem to connect your pc to the internet. You only had one device connected to the internet at a time and security wasn’t really a concern back then. Nowadays, security is much more of a concern, and you have more than one device that needs to be connected to the internet at a time, so a router is recommended.

Another source of confusion could be business vs. home routers. While they may look very similar, they fulfill much different roles. A home router has adequate security protocols and hardware but is meant for streaming and gaming and just general internet use. Some examples of home router brands would be Netgear, Asus or Linksys. Business routers have superior hardware (more RAM and better CPU’s), load balancing, failover and backup support, and IPv6 support. Some big brands of business routers would be Cisco, Sonicwall and Fortinet routers. Business routers also provide a more robust VPN that can handle more users then a traditional home router could. Some business routers provide some security bundles (such as Fortinet and Sonicwall), that bolster your security even more. If you are running a small business (or large one for that matter), a business router is the way to go. Its superior hardware and security are better for a business environment. Home routers are good for just personal use for streaming, gaming, and other leisurely activities. Generally, if it doesn’t involve a business of some sort, its generally better to go for the home router.

No matter which choice you make (business or home), making sure your router is up to date on firmware, and making sure your router is still in service (usually the lifespan is around 5 years) will keep you much happier with the internet speeds you want and the security you need.

If you have any questions about the routers , please give us a call at 509.433.7606 or submit a service request online at

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