What Does a Router Plug Into?

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Updated August 9, 2022

If you are learning about wireless networks for the first time, you may wonder what does a router plug into. The best routers, after all, seem to plug into a variety of devices via various ports and cables. Keep reading to learn all about the many ways a wireless router connects with other gadgets.


  • Routers plug into the cable modem via an Ethernet cable, for providing an Internet connection for your wireless network.
  • Routers also plug into a standard power outlet to receive power so they can send a signal to your wireless devices via your wi-fi network.
  • Modern routers also tend to include multiple Ethernet ports, for offering a wired connection, and USB ports.

What Do Routers Connect To?

Internet routers are primarily known for sending out wireless Internet signals and are not exactly known for plugging into anything. However, modern routers plug into some things by necessity and others by choice for added functionality. Here are a few things routers plug into.

Insider Tip

Make sure you have functional power cords, Ethernet cables, and USB cables for your varied router connections.

Cable Modem

You won’t like the answer if you are looking to understand how to use a router without a modem. The cable modem is almost always a necessity for a useful router, as it supplies the device with an Internet signal. Generally speaking, the Internet travels via coaxial cable to the modem, and then Ethernet cable from the modem to the router. The router accepts this cable to something called the WAN port, otherwise known as the Internet port. Although, you can use a modem and router combo that will work with your ISP.

Power Cable

Of course, routers must receive power via normal means. The vast majority of Internet routers include a standard power outlet that can be plugged into a wall outlet, an extension cord, a surge protector, or just about anywhere else that accepts this regular plug.

Ethernet Ports

Modern routers tend to include at least four active Ethernet ports, which connect the router to various devices, such as gaming consoles and UHD televisions. This creates a wired connection that allows for higher speeds and more stability than a wireless connection. If you are looking to learn what to do with old routers, you can also connect them this way to give yourself even more Ethernet ports. Alternatively, you can have more than one router to boost your wireless signal.

USB Ports

Your router also likely features a number of standard USB ports. Just like the USB ports on your computer, they are used to connect other devices to the router. What are the uses for these USB connections? You can plug in a printer for network printing or an external hard drive or related storage device to create an ad hoc network storage library. The sky is really the limit here.


How do I connect my tablet or other wireless devices to the Internet?

Get a wif-fi connection going with these devices via your current router and wireless network. Once the wifi router has connected, you should be able to surf the net.

What do Ethernet cables look like?

An Ethernet cable is square and multi-pronged and hard to miss. You have likely used them before to connect to LAN ports and the like.

Do you need a coax cable for Internet?

You will likely need both a coaxial cable and an Ethernet cable in order to receive Internet, but your Internet service provider should give you both.

STAT: A modem is a device that connects your home, usually through a coax cable connection, to your Internet service provider (ISP). (source)

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