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A cable modem router combines the functions of a cable modem and a wireless router in one device and is useful for sharing an Internet connection and home network with multiple devices. Many cable modem routers support both wired and wireless connections so computers without wireless adapters can also connect to the network. Not all cable modem routers are alike, however, so you will need to find the one that's right for your networking environment. You should consider compatibility, the types of connections and features when you choose a cable modem router.
Compatibility is probably the most important factor when you choose a cable modem router. If the device is not compatible with your Internet service provider (ISP) or with the operating system on your computer, then its features will become irrelevant. Some routers list on the box the kinds of ISPs it supports, but you should also check with your provider before you make the purchase. Many routers are compatible with the most common operating systems, but you should also check the packaging or the router manufacturer's website before choosing a device.
You should also consider the cable modem router's ports and connections when you're deciding what to purchase. If your home network has computers that do not have wireless cards, you should look for a model that has enough Ethernet ports to support the wired portion of your network. Even if all the computers on your network have wireless cards, you should verify the connection speeds that each supports. Some very old wireless cards use a networking standard that is considerably slower than the latest standards. If you find out your computer has a slow wireless or wired network card, you might consider upgrading so you can get the best performance.
Additional features are also an important factor when you choose the best cable modem router. Many routers have additional security features that can help protect your network by requiring a password, blocking specific device addresses, having a built-in hardware firewall and using port forwarding. These features are more important if your network involves sending private or confidential data between devices, but the password protection feature is a useful feature for most basic home users. Networks that use multiplayer gaming also might benefit from router models that have tools for getting the best network performance with the least amount of lag.
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