Routers help facilitate the sharing of documents between laptop and desktop computers. Routers also enable computers, such as HP laptops, to split the Internet connection. This allows multiple users to browse the Internet, check e-mail, watch videos or play online games. Routers are common in home and business environments because of their convenience.
The manufacturer and type of computer bears little significance on router compatibility unless the router is to be used with the internal, dial-up modem. Consumers can use routers from multiple vendors, including LinkSys, Netgear and Belkin, with their HP laptop computers, as well as laptops from other companies. Simple local area networks that use routers require only an Ethernet port for a wired connection or a wireless adapter that is standard with HP laptops and notebooks.
When purchasing a modem for use with a portable computer such as an HP laptop, consumers should determine whether they want to connect to the network wirelessly or via an Ethernet cable. Wireless routers will allow both methods, while a wired router creates only a small network that requires networking cables to interface with any device that the user wishes to connect to the network.
While consumers can use a variety of routers with their HP laptops, the wireless adapter may be compatible only with some routers because of the specific wireless standard that the router or adapter uses. As of February 2011, current standards include wireless B, G and N -- the fastest of the wireless protocols. A wireless N router is backward-compatible with both B and G protocols on HP laptops. However, a router may be incompatible with the computer if either device supports only the wireless B or G standard. However, consumers can purchase USB or Bluetooth wireless adapters for use with incompatible routers or if the default adapter in the HP laptop doesn't work correctly. Wired routers aren't affected by wireless standards.
Some cables and DSL modems serve as both a modem and router. If the user wishes to connect a third-party router -- for example, when the user wants a wireless instead of a wired network -- to the modem, she'll have to edit the settings to allow this. The user should consult the modem manual or the website of the Internet service provider or modem to determine how to perform this action, which is known as bridging the modem. Without taking these steps, the user will not be able to connect her HP laptop to the network or Internet with a router.
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