If you have a cable modem or a DSL modem, you need to have another layer of inexpensive protection between you and the Internet. A cable/DSL router isolates your computer from direct connection to the Internet. Your computer can easily request your email, web pages, etc. through the router. The responses come back to the router and are smoothly routed to your computer. But, someone on the Internet side of the router can not initiate a connection to your computer — they can only respond to your request.
Even if you only have one computer to connect to your cable or DSL modem, I recommend that you purchase and use a cable/DSL router because of the protection it can give you against attempts to attack through some flaws in Windows itself.
A router isolates your local network, whether it is only one computer or several, from the Internet by actually making it a separate network. The router gets the "public" IP address and handles all your outbound communications and the responses to them. But, it blocks computers on the Internet side from being able to initiate communications with your computer! This will prevent you from falling prey to many worms that try to attack security holes in Windows itself.
For a wireless router, I have chosen the Cisco-Linksys E3000 High-Performance Wireless-N Router
. I’ve paired that with a couple Cisco-Linksys High-Performance Wireless-N USB 2.0 Adapters. Actually, I bought two of the refurbished ones.
If you don’t want wireless, I recommend the Linksys BEFSR41 wired router, which was my old choice. Either way, based on my experience, I recommend Linksys routers for price, reliability and Linksys’ habit of releasing updated firmware for their products.
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