A wireless router can provide local network services without the Internet, but it does require an active Internet connection to provide online access. For example, a wireless router can direct signals between a laptop and wireless printer without an Internet service provider, but that laptop cannot access the Internet.
A wireless router connects to the Internet through a broadband modem or similar device and distributes data between devices via Wi-Fi signals or a wired connection. Some units have modems bundled in with the router. Wireless routers often provide additional data security features through firewalls and security updates. Some models also offer additional features, such as parental controls.