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School supplies, made easy
The success of your students starts with the right supplies. Whether you’re a parent or caregiver with one or more kids in school, or a teacher responsible for an entire classroom, Staples is a one-stop shop for all the school supplies you need. From writing supplies and paper to school tech and furniture, we have everything on your back-to-school list.
Shop by grade
Staples makes it easy to get exactly what your students need by organizing all the essentials by grade. Shop for preschool supplies like learning toys and rest mats, or elementary school supplies for everything your kids need from kindergarten through 5th grade. Our selection of middle school supplies includes more advanced items like planners and scientific calculators, and you can find everything you need for high school in our high school supplies section. Getting ready for college? From dorm essentials to laptops, get everything you need from our selection of college supplies.
All the essentials for school
Whether you want to shop by subject or are looking for furniture and supplies for learning at home, we’ve got the right selection. Browse classroom essentials including cleaning supplies, storage, classroom décor, snacks, and teacher supplies. For everything from school art supplies to calculators, binders, school backpacks, lunch boxes and more, we’ve got what your students need to succeed.
Take a seat
Whether you’re working from home or outfitting a space for gaming, your comfort is dependent on finding the best chair. At Staples, we provide a broad range of office chairs and seating, so you can find the right fit for you. Select from multifunctional task chairs, computer & desk chairs, drafting stools and more. If you will be using your new chair for multiple hours a day, make sure to get an ergonomic office chair to prevent unnecessary strain.
Comfort, all day long
Office furniture that is the proper size and height makes a big difference. When shopping for chairs, the height of the seat should be adjustable so that the user’s feet can sit flat on the floor with their knees at right angles. Likewise, the accompanying office desk should be at a height where the users’ elbows can sit comfortably at right angles at their sides while typing or writing. Browse our selection to find the combination that’s right for you. If size if a concern, check out our big & tall chairs which can support up to 500lbs.
If you’re a gamer, you know that a single gaming session can last all day or night. For the best and most comfortable gaming setup, Staples has gaming chairs in colors and styles for everyone. Make sure to match your new chair to an ergonomic gaming desk, the perfect complement for the high-tech gaming computer and accessories you’ve invested in.
Show seasonal allergies who’s boss
If you suffer from seasonal allergies, now is when they are at their worst. Stock up on allergy season’s most important products to keep your home, classroom, and office allergen-free. Start with an air purifier to strip the air of allergens like pollen and pet dander and replace existing air filters for improved air quality. Frequently dust, wipe down hard surfaces, and vacuum carpets and furniture to help eliminate pollen tracked in from outside and dander left behind by pets. When leaving the house, check the pollen count and bring a face mask to help filter the air you breath outside.
No matter what you do, it’s unlikely that the symptoms of seasonal allergies can be avoided entirely. Make sure to have over-the-counter cold and allergy medications on hand to battle symptoms, and stock up on facial tissues so you’ll always have one available when you need them.
Spring (Cleaning) is in the air
Spring cleaning and decluttering is a tradition meant to refresh our spaces for the year ahead. Staples has everything you need to clear out the clutter, store and organize your belongings, and all the right cleaning supplies.
Clear out the clutter
Start by preparing a checklist and make sure you have all the necessary supplies. Use storage bins and a label maker to make sorting and organizing easier. Prepare extra boxes for donations and trash bags for the things you no longer need. Look for decorative boxes & baskets that will compliment your home’s décor and use them to organize. You can also use closet organizers and storage drawers anywhere they are needed.
Start with the basics
An all-purpose cleaner, cleaning brush and microfiber cloths will clean most surfaces. Use a duster to remove unwanted dirt and furniture polish to revitalize wood surfaces. Upgrade your broom, dustpan, wet mop, and vacuum to make cleaning any type of flooring a breeze.
The nitty gritty
Spring cleaning doesn’t stop there. There’s so much you can do to reset your home:
- Improve air quality and eliminate pollen and pet dander with a new air purifier and an air freshener with a scent you love.
- On a sunny day, take the opportunity to clean your windows – you’ll need glass cleaner, a bucket, a squeegee, and paper towels.
- Have a step stool or ladder on hand to access hard-to-reach places like the tops of cabinets and overhead lighting.
- Replace broken light bulbs and check the batteries in your smoke detectors.
- Use drain cleaner to clear up sink and bathtub drains.
Up your printing game with a Supertank Printer
Looking for a printer with more print capacity that’s better for the environment and your wallet? Shop Staples selection of Supertank Printers for all the benefits of an inkjet printer with the convenience and savings of replacement ink bottles that last longer and cost less per page than standard inkjet printer cartridges.
Find a Supertank printer from your favorite top printer brand including:
- HP Smart Tank & Neverstop Printers
- Brother INKVestment Tank Printers
- Canon MegaTank Printers
- Epson EcoTank Printers
And don’t forget to browse Staples Ink and Toner Finder to find the right replacement ink for your new printer. No matter what printer you have, enter the brand, cartridge or printer model into the easy-to-use Ink and Toner Finder, and browse for compatible ink.
Rest assured it arrives safely & securely
Whether you are sending business documents or customer products, shipping and mailroom supplies from Staples make the process seamless.
Keep packing supplies ready for easy shipping. Padded envelopes and bubble mailers are perfect for shipping small, non-fragile items. Pack larger items in shipping boxes that are slightly larger than the item, and use packing peanuts, bubble roll, or other packing materials to keep objects from moving in the box during transport. Choose the right packing tape to ensure your packages will stay sealed. Staples carries clear acrylic packing tape for everyday shipping and reinforced or water activated tape for packages that require a heavier duty seal.
Manage the day-to-day office correspondence smoothly with a wide selection of business envelopes, inter-office envelopes, and catalog envelopes in the mailroom. Have finger pads and envelope moisteners on hand for speedy document collation and a quick seal. Choose security envelopes for confidential office correspondence and inter-office communications. If your office or organization sends out large mailings, consider a paper folding machine and self-sealing envelopes to increase efficiency.
Modem vs. Router: What’s the Difference?
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Photo: Kyle Fitzgerald
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While both a modem and a router help your devices connect to the internet, they have separate (and complementary) functions. A modem is a box that connects your home network to your internet service provider, or ISP. A router is a box that lets all of your wired and wireless devices use that internet connection at once and allows them to talk to one another directly. Often, your internet service provider will give you a device typically referred to as a gateway, a single box that serves as both modem and router, but these are still different technologies. You need the features of both a modem and a router, integrated or not, in order to have an internet connection for all of the devices in your home.
For people who have internet access provided by a cable company (and who don’t have gigabit or higher internet speeds), we recommend using a separate modem and router if possible. Modem technology changes slowly, and you can usually use a modem for years until it breaks. But you might need to replace a router because you want better coverage, because you’ve added more devices to your network and your old router isn’t keeping up, or because you want to take advantage of the latest improvements in Wi-Fi technology, which can change more often than modem standards do. Typically you can save $5 to $15 on your monthly internet bill if you use your own modem and router instead of the equipment your cable provider offers.
If you have a DSL or fiber internet connection, your ISP is likely to require you to use its provided modem, which usually serves as a gateway and router as well, and the situation is more complicated if you also get phone service from your ISP.
Photo: Michael Hession
A modem transforms digital information from your computer into analog signals that can transmit over wires (and vice versa) by modulating and demodulating electrical impulses sent through phone lines, coaxial cables, or other types of wiring. Most standalone modems have just two ports: one that connects to the outside world, and an Ethernet jack that connects to a computer or a router.
If you use a cable internet service, your ISP probably gave you a modem (or gateway) when it set up your service. But if you look at your bill, you’re likely to discover that you’re paying a monthly fee (typically around $10) for that equipment.
Compatible with the most ISPs, the MB7621 supports internet plans up to 600 Mbps. It’s widely supported, it has a two-year warranty, and it pays for itself in about eight months.
That’s one reason we recommend that cable internet users buy their own modems.1 Good ones such as the Motorola MB7621 cost between $60 and $80; the modem will pay for itself after a few months and will last for years, even if you change cable providers.
If you use DSL or fiber internet (such as Verizon’s Fios service), your choices are more limited. These ISPs usually provide a gateway and may not allow you to use your own modem even if you can find a compatible one to use with their service in the first place. In many cases you can turn off the router features of a gateway and use it as a standalone modem, which lets you add your own router, but how you do so (and whether adding a router is supported at all) differs depending on your service provider and the type of internet connection you have.
Photo: Sarah Kobos
The term “home network,” as we’re using it here, refers collectively to the system of interconnected devices in your home plus your router itself. Your router’s primary responsibility is to direct, or route, data between devices in your home, as well as between those devices and the wider internet. Your modem connects to one port on the router—usually but not always labeled “Wide Area Network” or “WAN”—and all of your devices connect to the other ports, or wirelessly over the Wi-Fi standard.
TP-Link Archer AX50
The TP-Link Archer AX50 creates a speedy, responsive network that works well in a medium-size house. You have to spend a lot more on a router—or a mesh kit if you have a very large home—to get anything even a little better. It’s our first WI-Fi 6 (802.11ax) router pick.
$99* from Walmart
*At the time of publishing, the price was $150.
The best router for you depends on the size of your home, how many devices you connect to your network, and where the router is in your home. Most one- or two-bedroom apartments with a couple dozen devices can be covered by a standalone Wi-Fi router. Good ones like the TP-Link Archer AX20 are available for around $80, but great ones like the TP-Link Archer AX50 cost closer to $120. These models function best if you can place them near the center of your home and give all of your devices the best wireless connection possible; even one or two devices with a weak connection can reduce performance for all the other wireless devices on the network.
The mesh-based Eero 6 covers large spaces better than a single router. It was consistently fast in a variety of tests, surpassing more expensive options. It’s also easier to set up than other models we tested.
If you have a larger home, if you have lots of smart devices in addition to your computers and phones and streaming boxes, or if your router has to sit far away from the center of your home, a Wi-Fi mesh-networking kit is a better fit than a single router or your ISP’s provided gateway. Good ones like the Eero 6 kit run for around $200, and great ones like the Asus ZenWiFi AX kit typically cost somewhere between $300 and $400. These kits usually come with two or three pieces, including one piece that functions like a standalone router—where your modem connects to your home network—and one or more satellite pieces. Each satellite acts as a go-between for your router and an area of your home with a poor Wi-Fi signal, increasing the range and improving the quality of your entire wireless network.
Photo: Michael Murtaugh
Unlike traditional Wi-Fi extenders, which don’t coordinate with your router, these mesh Wi-Fi systems are developed to work together; they make sure that each of your devices is connected to the router or satellite that provides the best, strongest signal. You can add more satellites to the network later if you’re still unhappy with the coverage in certain parts of your home or if you move to a bigger place.
If you want to know more about the way your router does its job, this summary of common networking terminology is a good place to start.
Troubleshooting and maintaining your router or gateway
Routers are complicated pieces of technology, and we can’t tell you everything you’d need to know to fix every networking problem you might run into. But these common troubleshooting and maintenance tips should help you keep your network running as smoothly and securely as possible.
- Make sure to position it well: A standalone router or gateway should sit as close to the center of your home as possible and out in the open, but all routers and satellites should have as few obstructions around them as possible (especially metal ones). Try not to stick them inside a desk, behind your computer monitor, or way back in a corner.
- Update the firmware: New firmware updates can improve your router’s performance, add features, and, most important, fix security problems. Many recent routers install firmware updates automatically, but others don’t, so consult your router’s manual for instructions on how to check for updates and install them. If your router hasn’t received a firmware update in more than a year or two, it may be time to consider a replacement.
- Change the default passwords: This means changing both the WPA2 or WPA3 passkey you use to connect new devices to the router and the administrative password you use to adjust settings and install firmware updates. The default passwords for each are usually printed on a label on the bottom of the router, and changing both reduces the risk of someone hopping on your network and using your internet or changing the settings without your permission.
- Reboot your router and modem: If your router or gateway regularly drops connections or can’t access the internet at all, turn it off or unplug it, wait 10 seconds, and then turn it back on (do the same with your modem, if you have a separate one). It’s totally normal to need to do this every once in a while, but if you’re doing it every day, your router or modem may need to be repaired or replaced.
1. One possible exception is if you have a cable bundle that also includes landline phone service. “Telephony” or eMTA modems cost more than regular modems and are less widely compatible, and your ISP is unlikely to allow you to bring your own anyway.
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What is the difference between routers, modems and routers: features and principle of operation
6 minutes of reading
Even people far from high technology are familiar with the words “router”, “modem” and “router”. Moreover, if you have accessed the Internet at least once from a computer or laptop, at least one of these devices was used. But what exactly? Let’s try to figure it out, and at the same time find out what the Internet distributes in your home.
What is a router and why is it needed
Router, router and modem are designed to transmit Internet signals to users’ devices. They just do it in different ways. Let’s start with the router – it creates a network that combines several devices. Such a network can be local or with Internet access. If we are talking about a household router, then its task is to distribute the incoming signal between several consumers: computers, laptops, tablets and other gadgets. These devices are connected both in a wired way (via an Ethernet cable) and over a radio channel – via Wi-Fi.
How the router works
Where does the router get its signal from? It is provided by the Internet provider with which you have entered into an agreement. It is the provider who owns the cable that enters the room from the street and connects to a special connector on the router (blue WAN port). The router plays the role of an intermediary: it receives an incoming signal from one source and distributes it to several consumers. It does this according to a strictly defined principle, using a routing table. The routing table is stored in the router’s memory and contains a list of network addresses and a number of other parameters that are important in the network (masks, gateway addresses, interfaces, metrics). This table is something like an address book – the paths to the devices connected to the router are registered there. Addresses are selected in such a way as to provide the shortest possible path to the device whose presence on the network is checked at a specified interval. Internet data packets are transmitted only to active consumers. That is, if you turn off your computer or smartphone (as an option, turn off data transfer in them), very soon the router will “learn” about this and stop transmitting data to the address that this device corresponds to.
How devices interact with the router
Wired devices – and most often these are PCs without their own Wi-Fi module – are connected to the router via cable, through LAN ports, which are highlighted in yellow for clarity. Devices that have a wireless module – these are almost all laptops, smartphones, tablets and some TVs – are connected via radio (via Wi-Fi). The number of connections available for one router is limited. However, for home use at 90% of cases, a fairly simple and inexpensive router model. But the wireless connection has another important limitation – speed. It is determined by the power of the antenna and the supported Wi-Fi standard, but external factors also affect it – for example, the presence of thick walls between the router and the Internet consumer device can reduce the data transfer rate.
What else the router can do
The router does not only distribute the Internet to several consumer devices. In modern models, there are other equally useful and interesting features. For example, some routers perform the function of firewalls – “firewalls”. These “screens” check data packets for belonging to an existing connection. If the router sees a discrepancy, then a virus breaks into the network, masquerading as a harmless service. For routers from well-known manufacturers – Asus, D-Link, TP-Link and others – this function is called SPI (Stateful Packet Inspection). To configure the router, a web interface is used, in which any user with basic knowledge of working with a PC can easily set the desired network operation parameters. USB ports on the body of this device are needed to connect a printer or an external drive. In the first case, it will be a full-fledged network printer, and in the second, it will be a network disk storage. Place files on an external drive and they will be available to all devices on the network, or arrange for downloading files from the network to it (for example, on torrent services).
Router and router are the same
Anyone who has carefully read the previous text will probably notice the phrase “routing table” there. It was said above that the router is engaged in its construction. Therefore, it received another name – a router. And the router is a transliteration of the name of this device (router in English). Both words are used with about the same frequency by technical specialists, and ordinary Internet users prefer the word “router”.
What is a modem and how is it different from a router
If the modem were another name for a router/router, the article could be finished. But the modem is a device of a different plan, although it is also a network one. Those users who were born before 1990 must have heard the characteristic sounds that ADSL modems signaled about a successful connection to the Internet. Such devices for accessing the network were used by everyone who had no access to cable networks – at the junction of the 90s and 2000s, they were an unheard of luxury. ADSL modems were connected to the telephone line in order to convert the analog (in this case, telephone) signal into a digital one that a computer or laptop could understand.
Converting a signal from one type to another – this is the main function of the modem. Unlike a router, it transmits a signal to only one device – for example, a PC or laptop. In this case, the modem is not assigned its own IP address (unlike a router), and the computer is identified on the network by the address of its network card. If ADSL modems are already worthy of becoming museum exhibits, then mobile (3G and 4G) modems, on the contrary, are in great demand. Instead of a telephone line, they use the mobile signal of a cellular operator. And they connect to computers and laptops via USB connectors on the case. Mobile modems are compact and this is a big plus: they can be used not only at home, but also in the park, in transport – wherever there is coverage of the selected cellular operator. By the way, we encounter modems much more often than one might think. Today there are hybrid devices – modems with the function of a router. They not only distribute the incoming signal among several devices, but also pre-convert it.
Also, routers and modems sometimes work in tandem. For example, if there is a USB port on the router case, you can connect a mobile modem for 3G / 4G networks to it. Since the latter is not physically capable of distributing the Internet to several devices at the same time, the router will take over this task. This is convenient when it is impossible to organize the usual cable connection or there is no desire to get tangled in the wires laid around the office or apartment.
What kind of device distributes the Internet in your home?
We are sure that you have already received the answer to this question yourself, but just in case, we will voice it again. If an external cable is connected to this device, it is either a classic router or a modem with a router function. If the signal enters the building wirelessly, and the Internet connection is used on one device, this is a classic mobile modem for 3G or 4G networks. Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) will provide you with more accurate information about your network equipment. You can also find out from him which device is suitable for servicing the number of devices that you have at home. It is not uncommon for a family of 3-4 to own the same number of smartphones, a couple of tablets, and one laptop or PC. TV also needs the Internet and some smart kitchen gadget is about to need it – for example, Samsung and LG are already releasing smart refrigerators with Wi-Fi!
By the way, this article describes the common features of network devices and how to identify them. Seeing how technologies develop in the digital world, we will not be surprised if in 2-3 years the concept changes and new hybrid devices serve Internet consumers.
Important about routers, routers and modems
- Router and router are two names for the same device.
- The router distributes the signal between network participants, and the modem only decrypts it and transmits it to one device.
- The router has its own IP address, but the modem does not.
- The router is a multifunctional device that supports fine-tuning, the modem performs one function.
- Routers (routers) and mobile modems can work together, distributing the Internet to several devices.
Text: Svetlana Soboleva
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