I bet you need a router. Not the 20,000-rpm D-handled kind, though -- the bits you'll chuck through this router will be digital, not carbide. A network router (a.k.a. "residential gateway" or "proxy server") is a device you plug in between your computers and the Internet. Depending on what features you buy, it will let you create or supplement a small network, either wired or wireless. That will allow everyone to access the Internet, share a printer, and even safely access the files and folders on your office PC from outside your office -- from a job site, for example. For under $200 (basic models start at $65), today's all-in-one routers let you create a setup that just a couple of years ago would have taken an army of geeks and a wheelbarrow full of separate components to pull off.

Router jargon can be more confusing than the latest building code, so here's an attempt to make sense of the alphabet soup. You won't find all these features on all models, but it's a good bet someone is making a unit that will fit your situation. A good strategy is to decide on the three or four core features you need and then find a device...

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