Router Guide for Beginner Woodworking–Everything You Need to Know!
In this post, I’m sharing some tips on getting started using a router, breaking down the different types, and giving you some project ideas you can practice with!
After a recent poll on my Facebook page, I was overwhelmed with how many people had so many questions about how to use a router.
I’m not a router expert, but I’ve used one a time or two (or a hundred). So I wanted to put together this router guide with all the information that I’ve learned over the years to help others who had questions and are just starting out.
This post contains affiliate links. See policies page.
Router Guide: What is a Router?
Routers come in many shapes and sizes. I’ll cover the various types below, but, basically, a router is a power tool that uses a shaped cutter (or a bit) to make decorative edges, or grooves in wood.
Routers are a super versatile tool. And like any power tool, they pose a possible danger, especially if you aren’t sure how to use it.
Be sure to read manufacturer’s instructions on your routers and get comfortable using them on small projects before tackling anything huge.
Router Guide: Why Do I Need One?
Routers are really handy to have in a woodshop. I don’t use mine on every project, but I have used them on several.
A router is one of those tools that you may not use every day, but there’s not really an alternative to use when you need it. It’s both a versatile, but specialized tool. Nothing else really takes it’s place.
They are great for not only adding some decorative touches to your projects, but they also can be used to cut slots, grooves, and dadoes for joinery methods, flatten table tops, carve, and smooth out rough or uneven edges when needed.
Here are a few examples of how I’ve used my router. These are a just a few of the many ways you can use them:
Add a decorative edge on a project
Check out how I used a router on this scrap wood cutting board project.
Cut out large rabbets for joinery
Check out how I used a router on this dining table build to join the legs and apron.
Cut a perfect circle
Check out how I used a router to cut a perfect circle to build these round coffee tables.
Smooth uneven edges after glue ups
Check out how I used a router to flush cut the edges of this DIY pumpkin tray after gluing the pieces together.
Cut dadoes to assemble shelves
Check out how I used a router to cut dadoes to assemble this large DIY modern shelving unit.
Cut out a hole in the middle of a project
Check out how I used a router to route out a hole to install a clock mechanism in this DIY round wood clock project.
Make frame and panel cabinet doors
Check out how I used a router to build these DIY shaker style cabinet doors.
- How to Build Cabinet Doors
Specialized router bits can also be helpful in making cabinet doors, cutting key hole slots, and cutting pieces out from templates.
Router Guide: What Kind Are There?
There are several types of routers and some of the terminology overlaps. But, there are three basic types of routers.
They may come in different sizes and they may be called different names, but they generally fall into one of these categories: trim, fixed base, or plunge.
Let’s also cover the terms collet and shank before I dive into this.
A collet is the metal sleeve on a router that you insert a router bit into. A shank is the part of a router bit that gets inserted into the router. (This is just like with drills and drill bits.)
These typically come in ¼″ and ½″ diameter sizes on routers.
Trim routers are small routers that can typically be held with one hand like shown here.
Sometimes they are called palm routers or hand routers. I’m currently using this corded Ridgid Trim Router in my shop. It also comes in a battery powered version if you want to ditch the cord.
Trim routers usually have ¼″ collets for ¼″ router bit shanks and are best used for small details like adding decorative edges shown here in this cutting board.
In my experience, they don’t do well removing a large amount of material at one time. I’ve used mine in a circle jig to make a thick, round table top, but I don’t recommend it. It’s just too small for making large cuts.
Fixed Base Router
TECHNICALLY, a trim router is also a fixed base router, but when I talk about fixed base routers, I typically think about mid and full sized versions. Trim routers are kind of an animal of their own.
Fixed base routers are routers that continuously cut at the same depth. Now, the depth is adjustable between cuts, but unlike a plunge router (I’ll discuss below), you can’t lift and plunge while it’s cutting–hence the term “fixed base.”
They usually have two handles on each side so they can be held and controlled with two hands. And they are usually larger and more powerful than trim routers.
They can come in TONS of sizes (as far as horsepower goes) and can be ¼″ or ½″ collets.
Personally, I’m using this Ridid 2 HP Fixed Base Router and it uses a ½″ collet and I LOVE it.
The larger router cuts much thicker material than my small trim router without bogging down and is much easier to control with the two handles on each side.
Also, the ½″ router that I’m using comes with a ¼″ collet attachment so I can still use all my old ¼″ router bits with it even though they are a different shank size.
I don’t have a plunge router to show you pictures of, but basically, a plunge router is just a router that has a “springy looking base” that allows you to plunge the bit into the wood and lift it back up.
This is useful for carving signs where you need to lift the bit between letters or designs you are carving.
It’s handy to have the ability to plunge and some fixed base routers have a separate attachment you can purchase to give you both fixed and plunge base options.
Router Guide: Which is Best?
It all just depends on what you plan to use it for.
If you just want to add some decorative edges to your projects and are on a budget, a trim router is probably your best option.
It’s the cheapest option, but also has the least amount of power. It’s great to start out with and you can upgrade later.
If you plan to use it to cut out circles, table tops, cut large dadoes, or you are going to be using it on a lot of thick material, I’d upgrade to a larger fixed base router.
I got my fixed base router because my trim router just wasn’t cutting it (pun intended) to help me cut out circles in 2x material. The larger router is much easier to control, too, so I feel more comfortable using it.
That said, if you think you may ever want to use the functionality of a plunge router, I’d recommend getting a fixed base router that has the add on option to use it as a plunge router as well. Like a 2-in-1.
Router Guide: How To Use a Router
That’s a tricky question to answer because routers are SO VERSATILE, so you may use them a little differently for each application.
However, I’m covering the BASICS in this post, so first, we have to install the bit.
Router Bit Types
Routers can use A TON of different bits. Here are several different types you can browse through to see all the options.
Some are for edges and they will have a little bearing at the bottom or the top. This bearing is designed to ride along the edge of the board while the cutter cuts a profile.
Some common decorative edge bits are chamfer, Roman Ogee, round over, and cove.
You can see the chamfer along the bottom edge of the tray in the first photo below, the Roman Ogee around the edge of the door, and the round over on the cabinet door frame below.
And some router bits are for cutting grooves–like a straight bit, juice groove bit or a dovetail bit.
Straight bits come in different sizes and are commonly used for cutting dadoes. I also use them when I cut out round table tops.
V groove bits, round nose (or juice groove bits), and other decorative groove bits come in various sizes as well and are often used for carving designs like the juice groove shown below in this stove top cover.
Flush trim bits are another very common bit used in woodworking.
These are handy for applications like where you glued two pieces together and the edges aren’t flush. I used a flush trim bit in this pumpkin tray project where I glued a piece onto the top and they didn’t match up perfectly.
Instead of sanding for hours, I used a flush trim bit to clean up my edges.
Installing the Router Bit
Once you decide which bit you want to use, follow manufacturer’s instructions to install it into your specific router.
Typically, you simply slide it into the collet and use the included wrench (routers come with a wrench for this) to tighten the nut.
Once you install the base back on, you can adjust the base up and down (mine has a turning wheel for extra precise adjustments) to set the correct cutting depth you want (see below for cutting depth details).
When routing an edge, router direction is very important.
You should route opposite the direction that the bit is turning.
So, when running the router along the outside edge of a board–for example around the outside edge of a picture frame–you should cut counterclockwise (or running from left to right).
When routing INSIDE a board (like this frame for example), you should route clockwise (so right to left).
Your routing depth will vary depending on your application.
The depth is adjusted by adjusting how far the router bit sticks out of the base. When routing a small decorative edge, you may be able to make one pass and cut your edge.
But, if you are taking a lot of material off at a time or cutting through thick material (like cutting out a circle table top), it may be best to make several passes, going a little deeper each time.
It all depends on how sharp your bits are, how powerful your router is, and how comfortable you are using it.
When using a router, I HIGHLY recommend doing a couple test pieces to make sure you’ve got your adjustments set how you want.
Router Guide and Jigs
When using a hand held router, it’s helpful to use a router guide or jig for more accurate cuts (like the circle jig seen above).
Most routers come with some type of attachment that will run along the edge of a board and allow you to cut a certain distance from the edge.
Or, you can simply clamp a straight edge to run your router along as well. There are also many jigs that you can make or buy to add to the functionality of your router.
A good example is a circle jig. You can purchase a circle jig to mount your router onto that will allow you to cut a perfect circle. OR, you can make one as well.
There are also TONS of jigs and guides out there for helping cut dovetails, carve letters, etc.
And of course, you can always may your guides, jigs, and set ups like this one.
Router Guide: Router Tables
I can’t say much about router tables as I don’t personally have one. However, they can be a VERY useful tool to have–it’s on my wish list.
Router tables are basically a table base where you can attach a router upside down so that the router bit sticks up out of the table. Like a table saw…but for a router.
They have rip fences and can make edging small pieces and cutting dadoes quick and painless.
I borrowed my Dad’s tiny, mobile router table for one project one time and kind of just winged it.
I built a jig to hold a dowel rod so that I could route a slot to insert a 1×3 to make a modern dresser base. So I don’t have a lot of information to share. But, here is a link to a great guide to router tables.
Router Safety Tips
I’M NOT A SAFETY EXPERT. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for your specific router. I just have to make that clear.
However, there are some basic safety measures you should take when using a router. Many people are afraid of routers…and for good reason.
They can be dangerous. So here are a few tips to make using your router a more uneventful experience 🙂
Keep your hands out of the path of the router.
If you are using a hand held router like I’ve shown in this post, do not hold your pieces with your hand.
Clamp pieces to your workbench to route and keep your hands out of the way. If you are using a router with two handles, keep BOTH hands on it.
The only router you should use with one hand is a trim router.
Make sure you are routing the correct direction
I covered this above 🙂
Don’t cut too much too fast
If you are cutting away a lot of material, don’t cut too much too fast. Make multiple shallow passes if needed.
Use sharp bits
Use high quality, sharp router bits. Crappy bits can chip, burn, bog down and cause kickback. Use sharp router bits for cleaner and safer cuts.
Examine your board before routing
Examine the area you plan to route. Do not route if you see cracks, knots, or loose pieces. This can cause damage to your project, or, in worst cases, can fly off and cause danger to you.
Turn router off when not in use
The scariest part of a router is that it’s not a trigger switch like a drill. You flip the switch and it’s on. And it stays on whether your hands are on it or not.
If your router isn’t cutting, TURN IT OFF. Don’t lay it on your workbench running. Don’t walk around with it running.
Practice, Practice, Practice
The best lessons are learned by experience. If you want to learn how to use a router, the best way is to USE A ROUTER.
Take it slow and get comfortable using it on some small projects or with some scraps. Routers are a very useful tool once you learn how to handle one.
If you want some projects to use your router with, here are a few:
- Two Tone Clock
- Cabinet Doors
- Picture Frame
- Modern Round Coffee Table
- Modern Dining Table
- Linen Cabinet
- Cutting Board
- Outdoor Dining Table
I hope this routing guide has been helpful and I’d love if you’d pin this for later.
Until next time, happy building 🙂
How to Use a Router the Right Way
Woodworking can challenge your DIY skills and encourage creativity. However, sticking to the most basic tools can be limiting. It’s helpful to familiarize yourself with different tools of the trade to keep your options open, and one such power tool is the woodworking router.
Using a router table or a handheld router, woodworkers can make cutouts, sharp edges, rounded edges, joints, decorative cuts, rabbets, and dadoes, and they can even make duplicates from a pattern. There are many router projects woodworkers can tackle with a standard cutting bit, but switching to one of several router bit shapes to create unique designs and intricate patterns can open up more customization options.
If you want to learn how to use a router the right way, this guide has you covered.
Important Router Parts
Knowing how to use and maintain a router tool properly begins with understanding the key parts of a router and how they function.
- Motor: An electric router typically has a vertically mounted motor that converts electrical energy into mechanical energy to drive the cutting blade.
- Collet: A collet is essentially a steel sleeve enclosed within a locking or retaining nut that secures the router bit in the router while working.
- Base: Handheld router bases have a hole in their center, through which the router bit protrudes to cut into the target material.
- Speed control: This dial can be used to increase or decrease the router cutter’s operating speed.
- Depth stop: A depth guide that can be preset to a specified depth for making cuts at consistent depths or stopping the router from being lowered too far into the material.
- On/off switch: A switch or trigger that turns the router on or off.
4 Types of Routers to Know
There are multiple common router types, including fixed-base routers, plunge routers, trim routers, and router tables.
1. Fixed-Base Router
The most common type of handheld router is known as a fixed-base router. With this type of router, the position of the router bit remains fixed. For instance, if you set the cut depth to ¼ inch, the router bit will only protrude past the base ¼ inch until the depth is changed. Fixed-base routers are designed for a wide range of shaping and edging jobs. A fixed-base router is a good option as a first router to get started, since it is relatively easy to learn how to operate and often costs less than plunge routers or router tables.
Our Recommendation: Bosch 2.25 HP Electronic Fixed-Base Router at Amazon for $149
The 12-amp motor and adjustable speed dial allow users to find the right pace for a given project, and the hardwood handles add comfort and stability.
2. Plunge Router
A plunge router tends to provide greater ease and control when woodworking because the tool’s base can rest on the material surface while the router blade is lowered for the cut. This is in contrast to a fixed-base router, where the bit protrudes from the bottom of the router to a set depth. Experienced woodworkers can use plunge routers to create dovetail, groove, dado, and mortise cuts, as well as deep through cuts. Just make sure to set the depth stop to avoid inadvertently cutting deeper into the material than originally intended.
Our Recommendation: WEN RT6033 15-Amp Variable Speed Plunge Woodworking Router at Amazon for $87.03
This plunge router has a variable speed setting for improved control, edge guide for accuracy, and protective carrying case.
3. Trim Router
Similar to a fixed-base router, a trim router is a smaller tool best suited to cutting through thin pieces of wood or laminate. Most trim or laminate routers have small, light-duty designs and are easy to guide with one hand. Expect these tools to have smaller motors than fixed-base and plunge routers, so they may not be the best general-purpose tool option.
Our Recommendation: WEN RT1460 6-Amp Handheld 1/4-Inch Variable Speed Laminate Trim Router at Amazon for $53.97
A guide fence for straight cuts, trim guide for curved cuts, and variable speed dial help this trim router produce optimal results.
4. Router Table
One drawback of a handheld router is that the tool relies on the user for control and accuracy. If the router slips, shifts, or kicks back, material can potentially be cut, nicked, or otherwise damaged. However, a router table can help improve control and accuracy by providing a stationary position in which the router tool can sit. Once attached to the router table, the router bit sticks up out of the table surface. The material can then be guided into the blade for a variety of jobs, including shaping trim, cutting rabbets, or making tongue-and-groove edges.
Our Recommendation: SKIL 10 AMP Fixed Base Router Kit at Amazon for $199
This SKIL router bundle includes a router table with built-in bit storage and a 10-amp fixed-base router tool for smooth, precise routing.
Router Safety Tips
Consider these key safety tips before picking up a router, so you can stay safe while you work.
- Keep a firm, two-hand on the router, especially when the bit first comes in contact with the material. This also helps to keep control of the tool if it becomes stuck in the material and kicks backs while in use.
- Make sure to disconnect the power to the router when changing bits, performing router maintenance, cleaning the tool, or mounting router attachments.
- Make personal protection a priority when using a router. Put on long pants, a long-sleeve shirt, closed-toe shoes, gloves, safety glasses, a dust mask, and consider using ear plugs or similar hearing protection.
- Regularly inspect, clean, and maintain the router to ensure that it functions properly while you work. Replace worn-out parts, discard old bits, and make repairs as necessary to keep the tool in good condition.
RELATED: The Best Router Lifts for Your Workshop
Initial Setup and Calibration
An initial setup, inspection, and speed calibration is necessary before attempting to use a router. Typically, a 2 horsepower (hp) router is suitable for most DIY and home woodworking jobs. You can also get small, 1.25hp routers for trim, or full-size 3hp routers if you feel the need for extra power. Before using a new router, consult the owner’s manual to get a detailed breakdown of the parts and controls.
- Disconnect the power and turn off the power switch before changing bits.
- Select the appropriate router bit for the job by checking the type, shank strength, cutting length, cutting diameter, and sharpness of the bit.
- Set the router bit depth to ensure that you don’t cut deeper into the material than intended.
- Make sure the set speed is suitable for the target material.
- Test the bits, attachments, clamps, and locking devices to ensure that they are properly tightened and secured.
- Clamp the target material to prevent it from shifting while you work.
- Clear the immediate area of any people or pets.
- Connect the power and line up the router bit to make the initial cut.
- Set up a guide fence to make straight cuts in the material or use a trim guide for curved cuts.
- Do not bring the router bit into contact with the material until it has had enough time to speed up, otherwise the bit may kick back instead of cutting through.
How to Use a Router for Cutting Decorative Edges
A common use for routers is to cut decorative edges into a project to give it a more intricate finish. Follow these steps to learn how to cut decorative edges into the target material with your router.
STEP 1: Select a suitable bit, set the depth, and position the router.
The bit for the job typically depends on the type of cut desired. For cutting straight through wood, a basic straight bit is the best choice, but if you want to make round edges, then it’s better to go with a round-over bit. There are a wide assortment of router bits available for making decorative edges. Keep in mind that the type of decorative edge is determined by the type, size, and shape of the router bit. Consider which bit would be right for your project and insert it into the collet.
Check the depth of the bit and set it to the desired level, then line up the router with the material. It’s important to note that for the best results, you may need more than one pass with the router to get an accurate cut. The router bit should be set to a shallow depth to remove a small amount of material with the first pass. Reset the depth to take off more material with the second pass. Repeat this process as necessary for a smooth finish.
STEP 2: Turn on the router and begin cutting the material.
Connect and turn on the router, then let the bit get up to speed. Do not touch the bit to the material before it has had time to speed up or it might kick back. When the bit is at the set speed, move the router to start cutting into the material.
Keep in mind that the router direction matters. Always push the router from left to right for routing the perimeter of the material and push the router from right to left if you are routing an interior cut. If left and right are a bit confusing, you can also think of it in terms of a clock. Push the router in a counterclockwise direction when you are routing the perimeter and push the tool in a clockwise direction when working on an interior cut. This means that the router should be moving against the rotation of the bit.
However, in some cases, the grain might pull away when you attempt to move the router in the usual direction. In these instances, you will need to use climb-cutting to finish the cut. With climb-cutting, the user pushes the router with the rotation of the bit instead of against it.
STEP 3: Make a pass with the router to cut the decorative edge.
As the router bit is cutting into the material, move the router along the edge of the material to start creating the decorative edge. Begin with the grain sides first because if you get a tear-out on the corners, you can clean them up as you route the other two sides. Move the router at a steady pace while routing in a counterclockwise direction for perimeter cuts and in a clockwise direction for interior cuts.
STEP 4: Reset the depth and route the final pass.
After the first pass is complete, reset the depth and route the next pass. Repeat this process as necessary until you route the final pass. Some projects will require only two passes, though others may require three or four to get the desired results.
RELATED: The Best Woodworking Tools
How to Use a Router for Cutting Rabbets and Dadoes
A rabbet refers to a step-shaped or L-shaped cut along the edge of a piece of wood, creating a shoulder in the material. It’s typically made to form a match to the edge or tongue of another piece to create a rabbet joint. Another common cut that you can do with a router is called a dado. This refers to a grooved cut in the face of a board. It’s usually cut across the grain and is intended to fit the edge of another board to form a dado joint.
STEP 1: Select a suitable bit, set the depth, and position the router.
To cut a dado or a rabbet, it’s usually best to use a straight or rabbeting router bit. Set the desired depth for the project, but make sure that the initial depth is more shallow than the final depth. The purpose of this shallow setting is to remove a small amount of material with the first pass before resetting the depth for a subsequent pass. By making cuts with more than one pass, a woodworker helps reduce the chance of burning the wood, wearing out the bits, or damaging the piece.
Line up the router and bit with the area that will be cut. Consider using one or more guide fences to ensure that the cut is straight.
STEP 2: Turn on the router and begin cutting the material.
Connect the router, turn on the switch, and allow the router bit to speed up. Do not touch the router bit to the material before it has reached the set speed because the bit may get caught or kick back off the material if it is not operating at a high enough speed. Once the router bit is up to speed, move the router bit to the material to start cutting.
For a rabbet joint, push the router counterclockwise across the edge of the material to cut an L-shaped shoulder. If you are cutting a dado, push the router counterclockwise across the face of the material to create a grooved cut in the face of the board.
STEP 3: Reset the depth and route the final pass.
After making the initial cut, reset the depth, and push the router through a second pass to remove more material. Depending on the desired depth, you may only need two passes to complete the rabbet or dado cut, but cuts might require three or four passes to get the desired result.
Other Router Projects for Beginners
Beyond finishing edges and routing rabbets and dados, here are a few more common applications for this versatile power tool.
Shaping stylish molding: Decorative molding is perhaps the most interesting thing a router can create. Using different bits, you can craft everything from simple rounded moldings to more elaborate Roman ogee or beaded patterns for doors, windows, baseboards, or chair rails.
Recreating patterns: Routers can be used to cut patterns, grooves, and designs across multiple pieces of wood. For instance, if you have a broken table or other piece of wood, you can use the router to “trace” the outline of the original piece and re-create it as many times as you like. Routers can also be used on flat pieces of wood to trace intricate designs or lettering.
Recessing door hinges: Routers can be used with a jig to cut space for recessed door hinges or lock faceplates. Recessed hardware yields a more finished appearance and smoother operation.
Router Maintenance Tips
One of the most important factors to keep in mind is that a router requires regular maintenance to ensure that it will continue operating properly. Use these router maintenance tips to ensure that your router lasts for years.
- Don’t clean a router by blasting with a burst of high-pressure air from an air compressor. This often can force dust and dirt further into the machine. Instead, use a shop vac to clean out the router after every use. This will prevent sawdust from being pulled into the router by the cooling fan and creating future problems.
- Corded routers can put a lot of strain on the electrical wire as it constantly winds, unwinds, shifts, pulls, bends, and is maneuvered for better access to projects. Make sure to inspect the power cord for any areas that show signs of wear or significant strain. Repair or replace damaged parts before using the tool again.
- Cordless routers can also develop problems due to the constant insertion and removal of the battery packs. Check the batteries, battery compartment, and the battery contact areas for wear and tear. Make repairs or replace any parts that are too worn out to safely use.
- Routers typically have a plastic facing on the base that is intended to prevent the router from scratching or marking the surface of the material as you work. However, over time this facing can become dusty, grimy, or worn, so you need to ensure that the facing is clean and in good condition before using the router.
Handheld routers come in a small variety of types and can be used for a wide assortment of cuts, grooves, joints, and decorative edges. By learning how to use a router, amateur woodworkers and DIYers can take their skills to a new level with a powerful tool that can cut straight lines, shape decorative edges, and create connections between two or more pieces of wood with intricate joints and detailed joinery.
Like most power tools, users need to be aware of the potential dangers and risks of these tools to avoid damages and personal injury. Take router safety seriously and make sure to stay on top of regular maintenance tasks, like inspecting and cleaning the tool before and after every use.
RELATED: The Best Power Tools and DIY Products Tested by Bob Vila Experts
What is a router in simple terms and how to use it – Why do you need a Wi-Fi router
Today, in every apartment, with rare exceptions, there is Internet. The words “router”, “router”, “IP address”, “local network” have become firmly established in everyday life. But not everyone understands these concepts. This is especially true for novice users who have just decided to connect to the network. In this article, we will try to tell in simple words what a router is, why it is needed in an apartment and how to use it.
Router in simple terms
Externally, the router looks like a small box with one or more antennas and ports for connecting network cables. Its task is to receive a signal from the provider and distribute it to the user’s computers and laptops. That is, it allows you to connect several devices to the Internet at the same time.
But besides this, the router performs a number of other important functions: it can distribute (route) traffic between several devices. Therefore, it is also called a router. Router and router are the same thing, because in English router actually means “router” .
What are routers
Most often we are dealing with a Wi-Fi router that connects to the provider via cable (Ethernet connection) and distributes the Internet to client devices also via cable or wireless network. But in fact, routers are different and differ in the way they connect to the Internet.
Twisted pair and fiber
The most common router, as already mentioned, connects to the Internet via cable (twisted pair). But instead of twisted pair, optical fiber (GPON) can be used. This connection method provides a significantly higher speed and a number of additional features. Accordingly, a different router is used here – having a built-in port for connecting to a fiber optic line. Otherwise, it works in exactly the same way – it receives Internet via cable and distributes it to devices in the apartment.
A telephone line can be used to connect to the ISP. This connection method is called ADSL. As a rule, in this case, either an ADSL modem with a router function or a pair of ADSL modem + a regular router is used. In the first case, the router is directly connected to the telephone line, and the Internet is distributed via cable or Wi-Fi. In the second, an ADSL modem is connected to a telephone line, and a regular router is connected to it over a twisted pair cable, which distributes the Internet.
And there is a separate group of devices – portable 3G / 4G routers designed to connect to mobile networks. In this case, the router is connected to the Internet over the air. Client devices connect via Wi-Fi. But some mobile routers are able to distribute the Internet, for example, via a USB cable.
Some models of conventional Wi-Fi routers are also equipped with a 3G module. And, in addition, you can connect a 3G modem to a router with a USB port and receive Internet from a mobile operator.
In all cases, routers work in the same way: being between the Internet and the home network, they receive traffic from outside and distribute it between user devices.
Why you need a router in your apartment
Before, when there was only one computer connected to the Internet in the house, there was no need to use a router. The cable from the provider was connected directly to the PC network card and the Internet came directly. But today, more than one device is used very often in an apartment. It can be a desktop PC and a laptop. And also a smartphone or tablet that you also want to connect to the Internet. In addition, for example, modern TV set-top boxes also use an Internet connection. The cable from the provider is one. In addition, the provider usually provides only one IP address. And this means that only one device to which this address is assigned can connect to the Internet. You can, of course, get additional addresses, but they will have to be paid additionally.
To solve the problem with connecting several devices at the same time, a router is used. It is assigned an IP address issued by the provider and, using it, the router connects to the Internet. And it assigns internal IP addresses to devices on the home network and redirects the received traffic to these addresses.
In addition, the router allows you to share access to network resources. If you have a printer, there is no need to carry print files from computer to computer on a USB flash drive. The printer can be connected directly to the router, if possible, or simply allow printing over the network on the PC to which it is connected. Now you can print a document from any device on your home network, no matter if it connects to the router via cable or Wi-Fi. In the same way, you can share files, such as a movie folder on your computer, and view them over the network without having to copy them to your laptop or tablet.
In a word, if you have more than one computer at home, and you want them to be able to connect to the Internet at the same time, you cannot do without a router.
How the router works
Why do we need a Wi-Fi router in the apartment, we figured it out. Now let’s find out how it works.
So, the provider brought a cable to your apartment and issued an external IP address. It will look, for example, like this: 126.96.36.199. But, most likely, the address will be dynamic – that is, each time you connect, you will be assigned a new one. These numbers are your address on the Internet. When you send a request, it goes to the network from this address and a response comes to the same address.
If you try to connect two computers using the same IP to the network at the same time, there will be a conflict of IP addresses – servers on the Internet will not know which of the two computers you need to transfer data to. It turns out that the request was sent by one computer, and the server sent the data to another. As a result, it is impossible to open the site or download the file. Two devices with the same IP address cannot work on the network. This is about the same as if there were two houses with the same number on the street.
To solve this problem, we purchase a router and set up an Internet connection on it. The router will use the external IP provided by the ISP and communicate with servers on the Internet.
In order for your PC and other gadgets to be able to access the Internet, you will need to connect them to a router. Computers are usually connected to it via cable, and mobile devices and laptops via Wi-Fi. The router software is configured in such a way that each of these devices is assigned an internal network address. It usually looks like 192.168.0.2, 192.168.0.3 and so on. These addresses are not visible from the Internet, only your router sees them. In this case, he himself uses the address 192.168.0.1 within the network.
It turns out that the router has two addresses at the same time – internal and external . Using the internal address, your devices send requests to the router addressed to remote servers on the Internet. It remembers which internal address the request came from and passes it on using the external IP. The reply is sent to this address. Since the router remembers which computer within the network requested data, it immediately transmits the response to its destination. This process is called routing. Thus, the router makes it possible to simultaneously connect dozens of devices to the Internet using only one external connection.
How to use a router
Modern routers are easy to use. You only need to set up an Internet connection once and in the future, intervention in the operation of the device, most likely, will not be required. Unless sometimes you will need to reboot your router (with a special button or simply by turning it off for a short while). This may be required if the router is “frozen” or the Internet is not working.
In most cases, if your ISP uses standard connection settings, setting up your router will take less than a minute. When connecting for the first time, as soon as you enter the device control panel, the setup wizard will start. In the process, you will need to enter the login and password specified by the provider, after which you can already use the Internet. The LAN will also not need to be configured unless you need to change the default settings.
On modern routers, everything already works out of the box – you only need to set a password to protect your wireless connection and enter it on your devices. A password is not required for cable connection – it is enough to connect the PC network card with one of the LAN ports on the router using a wire.
More advanced settings may be required if your ISP requires additional settings. For example, if you use a PPPoE or L2TP connection. To do this, it is recommended to use the instructions that may be attached to your router. It can also be downloaded from the official website of the manufacturer. And you can easily find a detailed description of the setup procedure with screenshots on the Internet according to the model of your device or on our website.
concept for dummies, principles of operation, how to use
January 21, 2022
Router is one of the pillars of global communication. The most interesting thing is that most people use it without even suspecting its existence. Routers are much more common than you might think, as they are found in homes and businesses of all sizes. It is for this reason that all users should know some of the features of these devices. They can be very useful for improving your workflow, by extending the range of your router, or simply by making repairs in the event of a failure. So how does a router work? More on this later.
An example of a device
A router is what it is and what it is for
What is a Wi-Fi router (a concept for dummies) is a device designed to manage information traffic that circulates in a computer network. Even an ordinary computer can be turned into a router.
At present, the router can be used to share the Internet via cable, ADSL or Wi-Fi with other computers, provide firewall protection, quality of service monitoring and perform various other tasks, mainly in the field of security.
- Wireless or Wi-Fi router provides access to the local network and the Internet for any device, be it a laptop, tablet, printer.
- Through it, drives or smartphones that are in the signal coverage area enter the grid.
A home Wi-Fi router or small business device is usually equipped with 4 ports for a wired local area network (LAN) and an Ethernet port for connecting an Internet modem (WLAN port).
You can grant permissions via the physical network address (MAC address), configure access ports for VNC, Spotify, and download software. Also, if a parent thinks their kids shouldn’t go online at dawn, the router has controls to prevent browsing at certain times.
Internet and network management is at the disposal of the router administrator. And all this is done through the web interface, on the device itself.
Communication takes place at high speeds
How it works
router has a very simple operating principle. A router is a device responsible for distributing the Internet to one or more devices using a network cable or Wi-Fi network.
It can also connect devices on the internal network to each other, allowing data to be exchanged internally, even without a public internet connection.
This is because the router assigns an IP address to every computer or mobile phone connected to the network, and it is through them that you can access other devices and exchange files with them – that’s what the router does.
How it works and the actual purpose
Router is a device that allows you to connect one computer network to another.
It provides packet routing between two networks, that is, it determines the route along which information should go in one direction or another.
When the user accesses the URL, the web client (browser) accesses the domain name server, which specifies the IP address of the desired device. The workstation sends a request to the nearest router, that is, the default gateway of the network in which it is located.
Router in access point mode
This router will therefore determine the next computer to which data will be sent in order to choose the best possible path for transmitting information.
For this purpose, routing tables are designated in the device, which are real route maps that can be followed to reach the destination address. There are many protocols devoted to this task.
Having found out how a Wi-Fi router works, you can better understand how it differs from other devices.
Are there any differences between router and router
Some users are wondering what is a router on a laptop and where is it located, does Wi-Fi need wires or not.
Although a Wi-Fi router performs the same functions as a router, it is ideal for mobile devices without the need to connect via cable to the Internet. Also, the number of devices that can be connected is not limited by the number of ports on the router.
An example of a modem
What is the difference between a modem and a router, in simple terms
Why you need a router in an apartment is easy to understand, but some people need constant access to Wi-Fi in the country or in the village. In this case, the choice is usually made in favor of the modem.
The modem and router are similar devices, but they have very distinct differences in operation.
A router is a device that provides access to the Internet in the house and, by default, takes care of distributing information to external devices.
The modem is usually provided by Internet service providers such as MegaFon, but it can also be purchased separately if the user is familiar with the technology of their home Internet network. Therefore, a compatible model is needed. The modem receives a signal to one device and does not distribute it to others.
For home users, a modem router, provided by some telephone and Internet companies, is a device that does both the job of receiving an Internet signal and controlling all connected devices, distributing it to everyone through Wi-Fi antennas.
Wi-Fi Keenetic 4G KN-1210
If the user has a large home or office and uses computers that need fast Internet access, a modem with a router may not be the best option. These devices are usually quite simple and may have a short range depending on where and how they are installed.
In this case, you need to purchase a high-performance router and configure the device to work only as a modem. If the house is small and there are not many Wi-Fi devices (or if a cable connection is used), a modem with a router is the best option due to space and power savings.
Operating modes and connection options
The Wi-Fi signal travels through the router on radio bands that act as invisible backbones. Each lane is an independent path storing data for individual traces to prevent congestion.
Since some devices require more bandwidth than others, the efficiency of a router depends on the number of bands it operates on: single-band, dual-band, or tri-band.
A three-lane backbone (or in this case a tri-band router) consists of one 2.4 GHz channel and two 5 GHz channels to serve more users simultaneously. This is a big advantage for families with eight or more devices that have high throughput.
How Wi-Fi is used also determines which router best suits your needs.
For example, a tri-band router is a great option if the user regularly streams movies or series on multiple TVs, the family has an avid gamer, or needs to work from home and have a dedicated lane for home office traffic.
On the other hand, if you use the Internet in a very formal way, primarily to send email or check social networks, a dual-band router will be more than enough.
Antennas are very important
Number and types of antennas
Currently, you can find routers with 1 to 8 antennas. Choosing the right device should be based on network connection parameters and user needs.
- 2-antenna router can receive and transmit signals simultaneously thanks to MIMO technology. The data transfer rate of these routers reaches 144 Mbps.
- Three Antenna Router provides data rates up to 216 Mbps with MIMO technology.
- Devices with 4 antennas will only show their potential if the manufacturer offers 1 Gbps.
Router antennas are omnidirectional, but have longer horizontal range.
Once you know what a router is for and how antennas affect it, you can move on to the next question.
Antenna location is important to ensure a good connection. If you plan to send a signal to only one level or floor, it is best to hold the antennas vertically at an angle of 90°.
On the other hand, if a signal is needed on other floors, it is recommended to position the antennas of the router at an angle of 30°.
Before using a router, you need to learn more about what can affect communication.
Location matters most
How to use your router
Having understood why you need a router, you need to properly configure it. Ideally, you should look for a place as central as possible, and place the device in a slightly elevated position (for example, on a table) and without obstruction.
Wi-Fi waves are donut shaped and move with a slight downward effect, so placing the router in a low position is a bad idea.
Obstacles significantly reduce signal strength.