Definition: In a home computer network, firmware is embedded software inside a router. Both wired routers and wireless routers contain firmware. The firmware implements a portion of the network protocols, security mechanisms and administrative capabilities of the hardware device.
Router manufacturers initially install firmware at the factory. However, this firmware is designed to be freely upgraded by homeowners later as enhancements become available. Updating a router’s firmware can increase its performance, security and/or reliability depending on the nature of the enhancements provided. Firmware upgrades generally need to be done infrequently, however.