What is the USB Port on my Router For?

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Updated August 8, 2022

If you are shopping for new wireless connectivity devices, you may wonder what a USB port on a router is used for. Many of the best routers, after all, include USB ports, LAN ports, ethernet ports, and related connection options. Keep reading to learn all about USB ports and wireless routers.


  • If your router features a USB port or two, you will find it useful in a wide variety of scenarios to attach a USB device.
  • Use the port to connect a USB storage device for backing up files or for creating an ad hoc media server.
  • You can also print via the port, which comes in handy when using older printers that lack wireless connectivity and require a USB connection.

Routers and USB Port Uses

Like all USB ports, a router-based port is used to connect external devices to the router during use. This has plenty of uses and unplugging devices from the USB port can be a good first step when trying to figure out why a router keeps disconnecting. Alternatively, they won’t be very useful if your router has a red light, which can indicate a problem.

Insider Tip

The USB port is handy for charging your smartphone when no other options are available.

Here are some nifty things you can do with your Internet router’s USB port.


Most modern printers include wi-fi features of some kind, allowing for wireless printing tasks. However, what do you do if you have an older model that lacks these wireless features? You can always plug it directly into the USB port on your router and use it to print up copies of documents and the like. As an added bonus, that will be one less device wirelessly connected to the router, if you are wondering how to remove devices from a router.

Attach a Hard Drive as a Media Server

You can connect a USB hard drive to your router via the USB port to create a quick and easy media server. Any computer connected to your network will be able to download or stream any files stored on the hard drive. This is great for watching movies, the latest streaming TV shows, or even listening to music.

Attach a Hard Drive for Backing Up

You can also connect a USB hard drive for the purpose of backing up files, which is something we should all do more often.

Firmware Updates

One of the easiest ways to update the firmware software on your router is to download the file to a computer, transfer the file to a USB stick, and then plug the USB stick into your router via the USB port. In the amount of time it takes to microwave some eggs, you can have an up-to-date router operating system.


The port can also be used to charge certain devices, though your results may vary.


How to connect the router USB port or external storage device?

To connect a USB device, including a USB storage device, simply plug it into the USB port. This process may vary depending on your USB drive and the design of your wifi router.

Can I use the USB port on my router to have a wired connection to my Xbox?

You should be able to connect the Xbox via the USB port, but your bandwidth will be severely hampered. For better results, connect the gaming console via ethernet cable to an ethernet port. That will free up the USB port for an external drive.

How do I connect my router to my computer?

If you are having issues with a wireless connection, you may be able to use a USB cable to connect your computer to the router, for the purpose of accessing any diagnostic software.

STAT: You can set up authentication for your USB device so that network clients will be required to enter a username and password when accessing the USB disk. (source)

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