A wireless router is a device that transmits data to and from your Internet connection without requiring your computer to be connected to it by a cable. The router needs a secondary piece of equipment -- a modem -- to make the Internet connection. DSL modems use phone lines to connect your network to the Internet, and the router connects to the modem, not the phone line.
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Broadband DSL Internet service is provided through many phone companies. The high-speed Internet connection can be shared with your wireless-enabled devices, such as laptops and smartphones, using a wireless router. Plug your DSL modem into your phone jack using a standard phone cable, then plug your wireless router into the modem using an Ethernet cable to enable your wireless network.
Some phone companies now offer one piece of equipment that serves the function of modem and wireless router. It is usually larger than a traditional DSL modem because it houses two pieces of equipment in one. Plug the modem into your phone jack using a standard phone cable. The wireless router is already connected inside the device and should begin transmitting the wireless signals immediately. These routers include Ethernet ports to hard-wire your desktop computer if desired.
Remote Phone Jacks
Remote phone jack systems allow you to plug the main unit into one of your home's phone jacks and an electrical outlet. It transmits a phone signal wirelessly throughout your home. When you plug one of the receiver units into any electrical outlet in your home, you have an immediate phone jack. Although this allows you flexibility in where you plug in your network equipment, it doesn't eliminate the need to connect the DSL modem to the phone jack and to connect the wireless router to the modem.
Although you must pay extra for a DSL modem to make a router work through your phone jack, the router can save you money in the long run by allowing you to set up a home network. If you use more than one computer, using a router means you don't have to rent a modem for each computer to connect to the Internet. With smartphones, a wireless router means you can connect your phone to the Internet without using your phone's expensive data plan. Routers also offer the convenience of connecting network-enabled printers, allowing you to print to the same printer from any room and any computer in your home.