A modem router is a device that communicates between the internet and the devices in your home that connect to the internet. As its name implies, it “routes” traffic between the devices and the internet.

A typical home has a range of internet-connected devices — personal computers, tablets, smartphones, printers, thermostats, smart TVs, and more. Your router enables them to form a network, either a LAN (Local Area Network) or a W-LAN (Wireless Local Area Network). Without a router, you could only connect one device to your internet.

But the router does more: It directs incoming and outgoing internet traffic on that network in the fastest and most efficient way. When you are looking up a website in the internet the router makes sure the information is delivered quickly and to the correct device. The more devices (smart Internet of things) you add the bigger gets the task of your router.

Your router and your devices aren’t the only components on your home network. Routers use a modem such as a cable, fiber, or DSL modem to allow communication between other devices and the internet. Today most modern routers have a modem integrated.