wireless router - Computer Definition
A network device that, along with a modem, comprises the entire network infrastructure in a home or small office. By combining the major network components in one box, wireless routers provide a convenient way to connect a small number of wired and any number of wireless devices to each other and to the Internet. Access Point, Switch and Router A wireless router comprises a Wi-Fi access point, an Ethernet switch and an Internet router. The access point is the base station and antenna that transmits and receives Wi-Fi signals. The switch connects four wired and any number of wireless devices together for file sharing and printing. The router forwards and receives Internet traffic via the user's modem, which connects to a line from the cable or telephone company. Using network address translation (NAT), the router directs responses from the Internet to the computer that requested them (for more details, see NAT). It's Also a Firewall The router also attempts to prevent unrequested traffic from coming into the network. Most wireless routers contain a stateful inspection firewall that ensures packets (Web pages, e-mail, etc.) coming from the Internet were requested by the user. Because the router is the only path to the Internet, the firewall works for all computers in the network, and personal firewalls in each machine may be turned off (see firewall and firewall methods). See modem vs. router, wireless LAN, Wi-Fi hotspot, cellular hotspot, range extender, Ethernet switch, router and WPAN.