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The purpose of a wireless router & a USB adapter

Updated July 19, 2017

Wireless routers are devices that allow computers to communicate over a network, while USB (Universal Serial Bus) adaptors are usually devices that connect to a USB port on your computer.

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Wireless Router Basics

Wireless routers connect a local area network of computers without needing to string Ethernet cables through walls or down hallways. This router can connect to a broadband modem and allow all computers on the network to use the Internet simultaneously.

USB Adapter Types

USB connections are popular for many external devices, such as printers, hard drives, flash drives and network connection adaptors.

USB and Wireless Routers

You can connect to some wireless routers with a USB cable instead of over-the-air. Other wireless routers come in a portable variety and establish network connectivity by plugging into a nearby computer's USB port.

Common Uses

The most common combination of a wireless router and USB adaptor is using a USB port to connect an external wireless network adaptor over-the-air to a wireless router.


If your computer has an internal wireless network card, you won't need a wireless networking USB adaptor to connect to a wireless router.

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About the Author

Thomas McNamara is a technology and entertainment writer whose work has appeared in several magazines and websites over the years, including PC Gamer, Maximum PC, IGN, Yahoo! Games, and GamePro. He currently lives in the San Francisco bay area. He enjoys long walks on the beach and rocking to the sounds of rock.

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