Wired routers and their wireless counterparts are devices of not only convenience, but security. A computer that is on a network behind a router, even if it is the only computer on the network, is much more protected than a computer with a mere software firewall. The hardware firewall built in to many routers can help prevent many virus and spyware attacks on your home computer. But now, having said that, you have to ask yourself a question: "Well, I only have one computer. What good can a wired or wireless router really do me? I have my cable modem or my DSL modem that provides my internet service, because I am in the majority of people in the world that are now using broadband Internet connection.
Why in the world, if I only have one computer, would I need to have a router? I am not trying to share my connection between two, three, four, five computers. I only have one. I can connect directly to my modem and I'm fine." Well, a router will offer you a couple of important perks. Number one is the ability to add more computers to your network later. Now granted, you may only have one computer now, but in the future you may add more computers, especially if you are in a family, as your kids get older perhaps they will have a desktop of their own in their room or in another room in the house.
With a router already in place you have everything necessary to hook that computer right into the Internet without doing any extra work on your part. The workload will even lessen even more if you purchase a wireless router, because then you have one computer that is hardwired to the router, and you don't even have to do that once you get the router set up. And then you can add multiple computers on the wireless network without having to run any other cables at all, totally hassle free. The second perk has to do with enhanced security. A hardware firewall is available in many wired and wireless routers on the market today.
You may have heard the term before, a firewall. Those of you who work for companies have probably dealt with having a firewall that your computers have to go through when you send information out, or when information is coming in. And a firewall is simply a system designed to prevent unauthorized access to or from a private network.
And wouldn't you like for your home network to be private, the computer that you use every day to do your banking online, or purchase things online with your credit card. Wouldn't you like for that network to be private, and nobody from the outside could get into it? A firewall is designed to keep people on the outside from coming in on your network, and either, number one, getting information from your computers. Or number two, doing some damage to your computers, whether it be through a virus, some form of spyware, or some other form of adware or malware that they come in and try to get to your computer, and either again, get your information or turn your computer into a bot that can attack other computers that are under the control of the person that infected your computer. While you may only have one computer at home, a router can be a great investment for you. A router offers both added convenience and security to your home network.
Michael Paul dishes out basic computer knowledge each and every Tuesday with his TechCast Weekly podcast. He is a popular author, speaker, and consultant on consumer electronics and computers. His most recent book, Computer Crash!, details the steps you need to take to be prepared in case your computer hard drive crashes.