The best uses you can give to the USB port of your router
Surely you have ever seen that your router has a USB port on the back, and you do not know for sure what tasks you can perform with it. Well, today we are going to give you the answer with several uses that you can give to said connector.
The use that can be given to the USB that many routers bring (in some cases even more than one) may be a little mystery for many people, since they will not be very clear about what they can use it for.
Before seeing what this port can do for us, it is very important to know if our router can use it, since there are times when it cannot be used for all the functions that we will see below.
This is all going to depend on the features the router manufacturer has chosen to implement. Some types of features require more powerful hardware than a less expensive router will have.
There may be cases in which the USB is up to the task, but it is blocked, which can be resolved if it is compatible with custom firmware such as DD-WRT, although we must warn you that this always carries a risk of damaging the router, since its internal system is modified. It is best to be completely sure what we are doing before modifying the firmware.
Let’s see how we can use the USB of a router that is fully operational:
USB hard drive
If we want to share a hard disk with a wide network, that is to say, that many computers are going to be used, it is best to use a NAS device.
But if we are going to be few who use it, we can do it with the home router No problem.
Within the menus of our router, we will surely have one or more options to share the unit. Possibly, it will open before us two posibilities such as mapping the drive in our operating system or adding the drive as an FTP source.
To find out how to do it, we must go to the website of the router that we have installed and access the area where it explains how this whole process is carried out.
There are some routers with the option of act as a media serverwhich means that from the media player devices that are connected to the network (physical or in the form of a program) they can detect and play content.
In this case, all the potency and feasibility Of all this process will depend on the processors, that is, which one looks better or worse will depend on the speed of the devices, although it should be more than enough for transmission to a couple of smart TVs.
Right now what is taking are WiFi printers that already connect wirelessly to computers or mobile terminals to print, being inexpensive devices.
But if you already have a printer and it doesn’t incorporate this ability, your router may have the ability to act as a print serverallowing anyone on the network to print from anywhere.
The only drawback we can have is that the computer must be on for the printer to work.
how to modem
Our router is going to be ADSL or fiber, but it is true that these systems sometimes suffer cuts, something that can be fatal if you work from home. You may also need to ensure that the connection reaches the outside for remote desktop purposes, if we put in the USB a modem with SIM card.
This function is not something that is very normal to use, so there are only a few modems that are capable of performing this function, which is my interest to never lose the connection of our devices.
The USB ports can also be used to update our router to the latest firmware that the brand has released, since it may happen that this is the way to introduce new updates.
They are downloaded from the manufacturer’s website or it is the manufacturer who, by email, sends us a link where we can get the new firmware every time we need it, if we have registered the device on the corresponding page.
charge other devices
These USB could also be used to charge one or several devices, all depending on the number of ports and if it has enough power to be able to send power grid to charge all kinds of devices.
Having many devices at home, the truth is that keeping them all charged and having chargers can be complicated, so we can use the USB ports that the router has to charge those that do not need a huge amount of energy.
Backups are always good, since it protects us from possible errors or failures that could be accidental or intentional due to some type of virus or malware.
We can connect to one of the router’s USB ports, for example, a hard drive, and then install software on your computer that does a daily backupin order to have everything well stored and that there is nothing that can escape, in case at any given moment we have to restart the entire system.
In this way, and since it was not in the computer, this hard drive will not only not be infected or affected by any type of error, but also will keep the backup intact to be able to restore it when our computer is in perfect condition.
In this way, the device will be as before, with everything we had, without missing anything, but completely clean of problems or viruses that may affect the proper functioning of this product that we have.
These have been some of the utilities that can be given to the USB ports that our router has, as long as they are operational and there is no problem due to lack of power or for some other reason. They are much more necessary than you expected.
And if they are capable of fulfilling all the functions that we have exposed to you, the versatility could be added to all the characteristics that our router may already have.
13 thoughts on “The best uses you can give to the USB port of your router”
Well this is great, but who do I call when I need help setting all of this up? I doubt the phone company will be happy if I start messing with their router.
Try to imagine if I told you with some flower, butter, eggs, sugar and milk you can bake a number of wonderful things. So get yourself a bowl and have at it.
When you write, “we can do it with the home router No problem”. Somehow I see a number of problems.
For starters if you use the router provided by your cable company or phone company at all when you have a choice of buying one at the price of 4 of rhe payments they add to your bill for using theirs then that’s on you because we replaced our mediacom 1 gb modem router with the best modem that actually would go fast if we needed it and lots of headroom for our current 1gb cable connect. The modem was 109 which was more than paid if with the 29.50 charge they removed when we sent their modem back and in fact that also paid back the 30 dollars for a ubiquity router we use for routing amd wireless though our wireless use is going to get its own router soon. The routers that you’re worried about are usually found by looking on the package because it’s a selling point that makers want you to know. The manufacturer will have info on doing all these things usually in their support section of their website. And if not then there’s other places to check like the dd-wrt and routers section at reddit. Not going to make the hyperlink because the internet and all us computer nerds that think this stuff is handy have decided that “acting like things are hard without trying them” is on the “douche” track of saying someone’s hard work thinking about the articles subject, asking questions about it, finding the info and typing the article wasn’t good enough for you. The article wasn’t to teach you to do it it was to tell you what could be possibly done and for you to search and learn from those of us that have done it. Easily in most cases. I’d start with manufacturer, then research wdd-rt routers, then go to reddit and “router usb” as a search. Not everything is nor should be a cakewalk to set up. Some of my hardest tech thing that I have worked on in the end are my most satisfying to have accomplished. Try it.
Nice rant. No one probably read this 5-thumb scrolls of preaching but I really do appreciate this. I managed to skim 2 scrolls worth before I realized it serves no real purpose. Know your audience… This person has the idea to bother the “phone company” about inserting a thumb drive as opposed to just googling something. You know that they likely double click EVERYTHING. Oh crap I’m ranting too! But really, not everyone gets satisfaction from this kind of thing, they just want easy results.
Most routers have a reset switch, or a reset hole, where you insert a needle to reset it. Besides, assuming you own a router from a reputable brand, you need not worry, as you’ll have many guides for your specific router models. It’s impossible to “give you the directions” of how it’s done in this post, as this is a generic post. This post describes what you can do, not how you should do it. You’ll get detailed tutorials of how to do it on forums, YouTube, Reddit etc. Also, those settings are quite niche, and nothing usually gets messed up, If it does, there’s the reset button to get you back to square one.
Most of the things recommended here don’t require doing anything to reconfigure the router. If your router supports a printer, hard drive, or anything like that in that USB port, then it should be as simple as plugging the device in and letting plug-and-play compatibility do the rest. Pretty much all of them support that. I think about it this way, if your router wasn’t able to do anything with the USB port, why would it have the USB port? At the very least, you should be able to charge devices off of it, because USB doesn’t require meaningful data transfer for charging.
Can usually plug in phone as tether.
Some TV tuners might work.
USB port provides 5v power supply for a tplink 5 port switch, for extra wired connections.
I bought a pair of fans, already supplied with a USB power plug, and set them under the router facing up. The CPU temperature (graphed using OpenWRT) is MUCH lower.
What a wonderful idea! A great application that requires practical no skill with almost no chance of damaging anything.
Custom firmware is a great way to re-use old routers with USB ports. Something like a simple file sharing server is relatively easy to setup even for beginners. Other use cases may require more in-depth knowledge of Linux.
I have used a USB port on a pretty ancient TP-Link 3G modem compatible router to convert it to a transparent SoftEther VPN gateway. All it needed was a custom build of OpenWRT, an old 4GB flash drive and some custom shell trickery from my side. Performance was about 30 mbits or so, not bad for an old box with only 32MB of RAM and 4MB of internal flash.
Great way to pretend I’m at home when travelling. The gateway is completely transparent and requires only a WiFi connection to work.