How does a switch help a router

The small 1x1 of network hardware

WLAN adapter: For the connection to the WLAN, network devices need network adapters that support the same wireless standard as the access point or WLAN router. Internal PCI cards that lead their antenna (s) out of the back of the PC case are well suited for stationary PCs. For mobile computers, on the other hand, the USB adapter design is the best choice.

When do you need a WiFi adapter: WLAN adapters are standard in mobile devices such as notebooks. However, adapters purchased additionally or at a later date are a good way of making PCs and older notebooks fit for newer WLAN standards. In addition, many Ultrabooks with aluminum alloy housings have the problem that the internal WLAN antennas are too heavily shielded. In this case, a USB WLAN adapter is a cheap way to improve reception quality. PC cards are available from 15 euros, USB adapters from 10 euros.

Tip: With PCI WLAN cards, make sure that the antennas are socketed so that a longer antenna cable can be connected if necessary. Connect the WLAN adapter to notebooks using a USB cable. This prevents the often bulky WLAN dongle from bending when handled roughly or even tearing the USB port off the circuit board .

Splitter and NTBA

The first device that belongs to your home network is the splitter on the telephone socket. With DSL, a free frequency range of the analog telephone line is used, and the splitter is a switch that separates the two signals. The telephone cable and DSL modem are then connected to the DSL splitter. With All-IP connections, a splitter is usually no longer necessary.

An NTBA ("network terminator basic connection" in Telekom vocabulary) is part of ISDN technology and is an active network termination. It connects its own ISDN devices to the public exchange via the S0 bus. The NTBA is connected to the telephone socket. With service providers who offer DSL together with ISDN, it comes to the telephone output of the DSL splitter. Due to the forced switch to All-IP, ISDN is now gradually being abolished.

With the cable providers Kabel Deutschland and Unitymedia, your connection consists of a cable connection socket or multimedia socket to which either the router is attached via coaxial cable or a cable modem, which is then followed by the router.

When you need a splitter or an NTBA: The components mentioned are always made available by the Internet provider. As a rule, everything remains in the property of the provider and is theoretically returned to the provider after the end of the contract. In reality, the providers have no interest in the mostly outdated devices. Nevertheless, it would be wise to handle the devices carefully and to report defects in good time.

Tip: Many splitters work with both analog lines and ISDN. If the splitter is supplied for self-assembly, make sure to set the splitter to analog or ISDN using the switch on the housing. Last generation splitters already do this automatically. The NTBA has a power supply unit to supply the domestic S0 bus with power. If only ISDN terminal devices with their own power supply are attached, such as telephone systems, then the NTBA's own power connection is not absolutely necessary.


The device connects its own local network to the Internet provider's network and regulates the data traffic between the two networks - called LAN and WAN. Routers have to do more than passive network hardware. Because network packets are appropriately delivered and routed based on their IP address in the header. This is why routers are not protocol-independent like switches, but can only mediate between networks whose protocols they understand. In the home network, the router also takes on the tasks of the WLAN access point and usually also integrates a DSL modem. A router is usually made available by DSL providers for the duration of the contract.

When do you need a wireless router: The router is indispensable and a new purchase may be advisable if the device supplied by the Internet provider no longer meets your requirements after a few years or does not offer newer WLAN standards such as 802.11ac (or at least 802.11n). If your Internet connection is made via a cable provider using a cable modem, you save the surcharge for a router with an integrated DSL modem. If the cable modem already has router properties, then a simple access point is sufficient. Note that you are not allowed to install unofficial firmware on the provider's loaner devices, even if this does not affect the functionality. In the case of routers for home use, there is an enormous price range between 20 and 200 euros for each wireless standard and integrated server functions.

By the way: With the abolition of the router compulsory, you are no longer tied to certain manufacturer routers, but can choose freely. The provider must now provide you with the access data that were previously often withheld.