wireless router - Computer Definition
A hardware device that provides the basic infrastructure for a home or small office network. By combining three network components in one box, wireless routers offer a convenient way to connect a small number of wired and any number of wireless devices to each other for access to the Internet as well as for file sharing and printing. All in One: Access Point, Switch and Router The access point is the base station and antenna that transmits and receives Wi-Fi signals. The switch interconnects any number of Wi-Fi devices and generally up to four wired devices via Ethernet cables. The router forwards and receives Internet traffic via the user's modem, which connects to a line from the cable or telephone company. A major function of the router is to keep track of all queries to the Internet in order to forward the response back to the device that made the request (for more details, see NAT). See access point, Ethernet switch and router. 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.