On the back of our router we have different connections, and one of them can be a USB port. Not all routers include it, but it is becoming more and more common to find it and it has different advantages. one may wonder what is this usb port for, when the important thing is that it provides us with a WiFi connection. Nevertheless, the USB port on a router can be very useful.
Here we explain different uses and devices that we can connect to the home router. Some of them may not work on all routers since, mainly those of operators, they usually come with limitations. In any case, we encourage you to check if your router has a USB port and keep in mind that you can get more out of it than is usually given to it.
If you don’t have a plug nearby, you can charge other devices
Today it is easy for us to have many connectors scattered around the house, but it is also common for many ports to be occupied. Being connected to the current, the USB ports of the routers also serve to charge devices. Let’s put from a smartwatch to headphones, even going through the mobile.
We do not expect the energy power to be very high, but it can be useful to keep in mind the USB port of the router as an emergency if we do not have any other at hand. Without forgetting the organization factor, since that USB port is usually better kept than others.
Connect an external hard drive and turn it into an emergency NAS
To access files in the cloud we can upload them to a server like Google Drive or have our own Network Attached Storage (NAS). And the USB port of the router will help us to create one easily. We only need an external hard drive or a USB memory. By connecting it to the router we can access it through the WiFi network itself.
From the router configuration page we can access external memory files via FTP. Also from this page we can set the security level, with read and write permissions. If we don’t want to spend a lot of money on a more complete and faster NAS, this trick with the router’s USB is as simple as it is practical.
And who says a NAS, says a multimedia server
Having a hard drive in the cloud also allows us to access multimedia content, from photos to videos. In some routers we can also connect an external hard drive and be able to watch movies or the videos that are in that memory on another device connected to the home WiFi network, ideally the television.
De facto we are transforming the NAS connected to the USB of the router into a multimedia server. Here we recommend installing applications like Kodi on the TV and selecting this external hard drive connected to the router to be able to have an interesting multimedia library in the cloud in a few steps.
Or a data recovery system
Another option with an external hard drive is to use it as a data recovery system. By connecting a USB or hard drive we can automatically make a backup copy and upload it to that drive. For this we can simply use a USB that we are not using and configure the system to make a backup periodically.
In Windows we can do it through the ‘Backup with File History’ function, while in MacOS we can do it with Time Machine.
Use a dongle with 4G
Not all routers can take advantage of this idea, but a 4G dongle can be connected to many. A USB modem with a data connection that can replace the WiFi network. If for example our internet company is having problems, through the USB port we can connect a 4G modem and create a home network from it. We only have to be careful with the data consumed, but it can get us out of a major jam.
Directly connect a printer
Of the USB devices that we can connect to a router, perhaps the most common beyond the hard drive is a printer. It is a very common function, since it allows have a wireless printer even if the base does not have that option.
By connecting the printer through the USB port, we can access it from the software configuration page and it will be as if we had connected it directly to the computer, with the difference of being able to send the files to print wirelessly.
Install firmware and update the router
Routers usually update automatically, but sometimes we can do it manually to install the firmware we want through a USB stick. That is useful if we want to go back to a previous version or install a specific version. At this point, it is important to be careful and watch that we are not going to install software that causes incompatibilities, since it could render the router unusable.
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