What Can You Add to Your Router?


We discussed recently that you can plug your printer into your router and voila… wireless printing!  Did you know there are other things you can plug into your router as well?

Cloud Storage

Most routers sold these days have at least one USB port.  The port is there so you can plug an external hard drive directly into the router.  Connecting an external hard drive to your router gives you a central spot that all of the other computers on the network can access.  It’s the perfect place to store backups of your computers, music that you want to share with all the devices in the house, or other files that need to be accessible from all of the computers in your house.

Utilizing cloud storage in this way (where the files aren’t actually uploaded to the internet) gives you a super private way to store and access files.  It would definitely be a perfect location for scans of personal documents like birth certificates and bank statements.


The USB port could also be used as a charger!  If your router is in a spot where a lot of technology resides, maybe there isn’t an extra spot for a power cable.  In this case you can take the USB cord and plug it into the router, and voila…. charging!

Personal Media Server

One thing I have directly plugged into my router is my Plex server (there will be a whole post forthcoming about how and why I created my Plex server).  What I’ve done is taken a Lenovo ThinkCentre Tiny and plugged the ethernet cable directly into my router.  Before I did this I was running my Plex server on a desktop that was upstairs connected through the wifi network.  When I would load up Plex on my Roku the quality was horrible and it would continue to pause as it loaded the videos across the wifi network.  Having the small computer plugged directly in has VASTLY improved my Plex playback.  I can stream my ripped bluray movies in FULL HD without any pausing or lagging.


I have ALSO set that machine up to be a Minecraft server for my kids and their cousins.  Again, this offloads any of the other computers in the house from having to run as the server while the kids are playing, and makes the game play go much more smoothly.

Since the machine does not have a keyboard, mouse or monitor plugged into it, I manage it through remote control on any of my other computers.  It’s also a great solution if you have a Chromebook and need additional features from time to time that a full Windows operating system can offer you.

I also have my DirecTV Genie Go plugged directly into my router.  This allows me to watch any of my DVR’d shows from any device in my house, or even on my mobile devices AWAY from my house!

Security Cameras

The last thing I have plugged into my router is the hub for our security cameras in the house.  We use Netgear’s Vuezone cameras, which I adore.  All of the cameras are completely wireless, which allows you to place the camera anywhere you want!  You can purchase additional cameras and have them all over your house.  You don’t need to plop down a ton of money on a complicated security system when you can just place the cameras and go!  I can even view the live cameras from my computer or my mobile phone away from my house.

So have a little fun with your router, and see just how much you can do with it!

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About the author

Sarah Werle Kimmel

Sarah Werle Kimmel is a digital parenting coach and family tech expert. She has spent the last 20 years of her career working as a Microsoft Certified IT Manager supporting over 100 small businesses. During that time she started Family Tech LLC to help families understand and manage the technology in their home. She has regularly appeared as a family tech expert on local NBC, CBS, ABC and FOX news affiliates, BYUtv and Studio 5, and has been invited all over the world from tech companies like Lenovo, Verizon, Microsoft, Dell, and Samsung. Find out more on her website SarahKimmel.com

1 Comment

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  • how about plugging a wifi adapter into a router. I’m running out of usb ports again and don’t feel like buying another hub.