What is the USB for on a Router

What is the USB for on a Router

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A USB router is a device used to share a broadband Internet connection between multiple computers. It is designed primarily for use with cable services where the modem does not have an Ethernet connection. It is also possible to use a USB router for mobile broadband devices.

The most common configuration in which a USB router is used is when a home user receives their broadband services from a cable company. In such a situation, they would get internet access through the main fiber optic cable instead of the standard phone line. This requires a cable modem, which connects and transfers data between the computer and the fiber optic cable, often filtering the data from the cable television signal.

However, in some cases, the cable modem will only provide a USB connection. This will work fine if the user just wants to connect to a computer and is satisfied with the wired connection. If the user wants to use multiple machines or needs a wireless connection, then a USB-only cable modem will not be sufficient. 

How can you benefit from the router’s USB port?

  • Thanks to a router with a USB port, your hard drive is always waiting for you in the cloud. Now your hard drive can be used as a media server. You can stream movies directly from storage. This is the easiest way to create your router’s USB access point
  • Not only this, many family members can use it simultaneously. No more waiting for hard drives. You can enable USB drive sharing by going to the router’s URL settings, such as 192.168.X.X. In this way, you can enable file sharing.

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Storage of the USB for on a Router

When you want to share files with someone at home or work, you can send the file via email or you can copy and distribute the files on one of these USB flash drives. If the files are large, you can also upload them to Google Drive or dropbox and let the person download the files to your computer.

In its simplest form, a NAS is a large hard drive that connects to your network. You can then store your files on the NAS and share them with people on your network. Your router software will allow you to set security levels so that only those with the correct access can view or edit files.

Connect an external hard drive or large flash drive to your router and you have your NAS in no time. Note that this is fine for most households; however, if you really want to restrict access and store large files, you need a “real” NAS.

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Using a USB port on your router

Most modern printers come with clear built-in functions that allow printing over Wi-Fi. So you can print it anywhere on the Wi-Fi network. But what if you have one of the really cool printers, but it’s old? And the only way to print it is to physically connect it to a computer. Sometimes it can be a real headache.

What you can do is connect your old printer to your router’s USB port. Then go to your router settings and add that printer, and how you have added the printer to your network. You just made that old printer useful again. Anyone on the web can print it.

Low power load

You will not be able to charge high-power devices that require large power inputs; However, the router’s USB port can be used to charge your phone, for example.

This can be useful when you don’t necessarily want to plug the charger into an electrical outlet or as a precaution to avoid overcharging the appliance.

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You can use this to change the firmware

Normally the router will query the update server every time it updates its firmware. If you want to manually update the firmware or install a new one, you can do it through the USB port.

This is easy to do: put the firmware you want on the router’s USB stick. Use the router’s instructions to access and run the firmware, and you’re all set.

Connect the dongle

“Some routers” allow the dongle to connect like a Tata Photon so that in the event of a loss of a wired Internet connection, you can access the Internet from the dongle. Please check whether the specification of the USB router can be worked with the dongle before you buy it. The D-Link DWR-116 4G LTE WI-Fi Router is the best router with wired internet connectivity with USB dongle connectivity.

Share the USB drive with the wi-fi router

Choose the hard drive or flash drive you want to use; You can use external or portable hard drives, anything with a USB connection.

Plug it into the USB port on the back of your Wi-Fi router, and then you will need admin access to your router. From your networked computer, open the browser, enter the IP of your router in the browser and enter your password; these will be the IP addresses and passwords that you initially used when setting up your Wi-Fi router.

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Multimedia server

Some other router software will turn NAS into a media server. This basically means that when you upload photos, music, or videos, they will be available on devices like your smart TV, computer, and other devices on your network.

How do you really do it? Just plug an external hard drive into the back of your router. Then go to your router software, set up external storage, and you’re done.

Get a good external drive

Any good external storage device, i.e. a desktop or portable (portable) USB drive, will work. You do not need to get a specific drive from the NAS.

So if you want the fastest speed, get a fast SSD-based portable drive on this list. However, keep in mind that performance depends on the processing power of the network connection or router.

That said, a faster external storage device doesn’t always translate to better performance. In most cases, an inexpensive hard-drive-based portable drive like the WD My Passport or G-Tech Mobile will suffice.

Typically, a router’s USB port has enough power to power a bus-powered drive. But you can also use external desktop drives that have their own power adapter. In this case, you can use one with each USB port on the router.

When it comes to storage space, more fusion, so get a drive with the highest capacity you can afford. If you’re serious about your data, you can also choose a redundant drive, such as a dual-drive RAID 1 external storage device, such as the WD My Book Duo.

Cellular connection

Connecting a cellular-based USB modem to a router allows you to share a mobile Internet connection with your entire home network.

In my opinion, this is not a very useful case for USB ports these days, as broadband internet services are reliable, although it can be useful if you really can’t live without an internet connection.

If your broadband service fails for any reason, it is a cable failure or a service problem, a cellular connection provided by a USB key can be an excellent backup solution.

It’s worth noting that not all routers will support this feature, and even those that do support it will only support some cellular modems, so be sure to check your router manufacturer or manual if this is a feature you want to use.

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What are the characteristics of the router’s USB port?

You can connect USB storage devices such as external hard drives or USB drives to your router’s USB 2.0 port (external hard drives provide faster read/write speeds). After inserting the USB storage device, you can do the following:

Media sharing (DLNA)

Multimedia files such as pictures, music, and videos on a USB storage device connected to a router can be played directly on a multimedia device that supports the DLNA protocol, such as a phone or tablet.

File sharing

Home computers (via hard drive wizard, network share directory, or my network location), tablets, and phones can safely and easily access data from a USB storage device connected to a router to share files easily.


The USB port on the router essentially allows you to share a particular device on your network, allowing access to multiple users or devices at the same time.

The performance will vary depending on many factors: your router, network traffic, file size, and more. If you have a new router with a USB 3.0 port, you may want to use a compatible USB 3.0 for the best performance.

There are many makes and models to choose from, but when shopping for a new router, make sure you have at least one USB 2.0 port onboard for easy file sharing at home.

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About Author
An engineer and MBA, who is a technology and a gadget freak. I write about smart home solutions and gadgets like all wireless devices, technology brands like Apple. Love to follow the latest trends in the technology space and write about latest developments.