What Does a Router Look Like? A Visual Guide to Networking Hardware

When it comes to routers, many people may not know what they actually look like. Routers are devices that connect different computer networks together, allowing for communication and data transfer between them. In this article, we’ll go over what a router typically looks like and what you can expect to see when you encounter one.

Step by Step Tutorial: What Does a Router Look Like

Before we get into the nitty-gritty details, let’s first establish what a typical router looks like.

Step 1: Identify the shape

Most routers are rectangular or square-shaped boxes.

Routers come in various sizes, but their shape is generally consistent. They can be as small as a paperback book or as large as a shoebox, depending on their capabilities and the needs they serve.

Step 2: Look for antennas

Many routers have antennas protruding from the top or sides.

While not all routers have visible antennas, many do. These antennas help to strengthen the signal that the router emits, which in turn can provide a better wireless connection for devices.

Step 3: Notice the LED lights

On the front of the router, you will usually find a series of LED lights.

These lights can indicate a variety of things, such as power, connectivity status, and data transfer. They can be especially helpful when troubleshooting network issues.

Step 4: Check for ports

On the back of the router, there will be several ports for connecting cables.

These ports are how the router connects to the internet and to other devices in the network. You’ll typically find an Ethernet port for the internet connection, as well as several other Ethernet ports for wired devices.

After you’ve gone through these steps and familiarized yourself with what a router looks like, you’ll be able to identify one more easily in the future.

Tips: Identifying a Router

  • Look for the brand name or logo on the router, as this can help you distinguish it from other devices.
  • Routers often have a matte or glossy finish and can come in a variety of colors, although black and white are most common.
  • If you’re still unsure, check the device for a model number and look it up online.
  • Routers typically have ventilation holes or slits to prevent overheating, which is another distinguishing feature.
  • Don’t confuse a router with a modem, which may look similar but serves a different function in a network.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a router and a modem?

A modem connects your home network to the internet, while a router connects multiple devices to the modem.

Can routers work without antennas?

Yes, some routers have internal antennas, so you may not always see them.

Do all routers have LED lights?

Most do, but there are some models that may not have them or have them in a different location.

Is it better to have more antennas on a router?

More antennas can lead to better signal strength and range, but it also depends on the quality of the router.

Can I paint my router to match my home decor?

While you technically could, it’s not recommended as it could interfere with the signal or cause overheating.


  1. Identify the shape of the router, typically rectangular or square.
  2. Look for antennas, which many routers have.
  3. Notice the LED lights on the front.
  4. Check for ports on the back.


In conclusion, routers are essential devices that serve as the backbone of our home networks. They come in various shapes and sizes, but generally, you’ll find them to be boxy devices with antennas, LED lights, and multiple ports. Knowing what a router looks like can come in handy when setting up a new network or troubleshooting an existing one. As our reliance on technology continues to grow, it’s important to have a basic understanding of the devices that keep us connected. So, the next time you come across a router, take a moment to appreciate the little box that does so much to keep your digital life running smoothly.