What is a Router and How to Protect It?

A router is a device in computer networking that forwards data packets to their destinations based on their addresses.

The router functions as an information manager between the internet and all devices that go online. This also makes your router the first line of defence for protecting your home network from malicious online attacks.

What Does a Router Do?

Handing traffic is the work of your router. For example, to read this post, data packages coding for this website have to transit from our server, through various nodes on the internet, and finally through your router to arrive on your device. The browser on your device decodes those data packages to display the article you’re currently reading.

Since a typical household has more than one device that connects to the internet, you need a router to manage the incoming network signals. In other words, your router ensures that the data packages coding for a website you want to view on your computer aren’t sent to your phone. It does that by using your device’s MAC address.

While your router has a unique (external) IP address to receive data packages from servers worldwide, every device on your home network also carries a unique MAC address. When you try to access information online, your router maintains a table to keep track of which device requested information from where. Based on this table, your router distributes incoming data packages to the correct recipient.

What is the Difference Between Modems and Routers?

A modem turns the proprietary network signal of your ISP (internet service provider) into a standard network signal. In theory, you can choose between multiple ISPs; some may use the same delivery route. Your modem knows which signals to read and translate.

The kind of modem your ISP will provide you with depends on how you’re connecting to the internet. For example, a DSL modem requires different technology than a cable or fibre-optic broadband modem. That’s because one uses the copper wiring of your telephone line, while the others use a coaxial or a fibre optic cable, respectively.

The DSL modem has to filter and read both the low frequencies that phone and voice data produce, as well as the high frequencies of internet data. Cable modems, on the other hand, have to differentiate between television and internet signals, which are transmitted on different channels, rather than different frequencies. Finally, fibre optic uses pulses of light to transmit information. The modem has to decode these signals into standard data packages.

Once the modem has turned the ISP’s network signal into data packages, the router can distribute them to the target device.

How to Protect Your Router from Cyberattacks?

Strong password creation

One common mistake people make is using easily guessable information, like birthdays or pet names. Instead, consider using a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters to enhance the complexity of your router’s password.

Enable firewall protection

Enabling firewall protection is like having a security guard stationed at the entrance of your digital fortress. It acts as a barrier against malicious cyber threats trying to gain unauthorised access to your network. By setting up a strong firewall, you can filter incoming and outgoing traffic, blocking potential threats before they even reach your devices.

Regular firmware updates

Manufacturers often release updates to patch security flaws and enhance the performance of the device. By staying up to date with firmware updates, you can ensure that your router is equipped with the latest security measures to safeguard against potential attacks.

Neglecting firmware updates can leave your router vulnerable to exploitation by hackers and malware. Hackers constantly evolve their tactics, so it’s essential to stay proactive in updating your device’s firmware. Additionally, regular updates can improve the overall stability and speed of your router, providing a better user experience while maintaining a secure network environment.

Use VPN for secure connections

VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is a powerful tool for securing your online connections. By encrypting your data and routing it through remote servers, VPNs protect your privacy and anonymity while browsing the internet. This extra layer of security is particularly valuable when using public Wi-Fi networks, where cyber threats are more prevalent.

Disable remote management features

While remote management features can be convenient for accessing router settings from anywhere, they also pose a security risk. Hackers often target remote management interfaces as potential entry points for unauthorised access to the network. By disabling remote management, you limit the avenues through which cyberattackers can exploit vulnerabilities in your system.

Furthermore, disabling remote management can help prevent instances of unauthorised users making changes to your router’s settings without your knowledge. This extra layer of protection ensures that only authorised individuals with physical access to the router can make any necessary configurations or adjustments.


In conclusion, securing your router is a crucial step in enhancing the overall protection of your network. By taking proactive measures such as changing default passwords, enabling encryption protocols, and regularly updating firmware, you can significantly reduce the risk of cyber threats and unauthorised access. Additionally, implementing strong firewall settings and disabling remote management features are effective ways to fortify your router’s defences against potential attacks.

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Raj Maurya

Raj Maurya is the founder of Digital Gyan. He is a technical content writer on Fiverr and freelancer.com. When not working, he plays Valorant.

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