I tried to translate Zwangsrouter to English, but couldn't think of a proper translation. Ideas which I had were:

  1. forced router
    sounds somewhat wrong to me, as if the router itself was forced to do sth.
  2. obliged router
  3. obligated router

..? Is one of those terms a proper translation? Google revelas only 6 results for the 2nd term, and 16 for the 3rd. Thank you in advance.


This question was closed on german se. A "Zwangsrouter" is a router which was given to the customer by the ISP and is not optional. Usually all routers by ISPs are optional if you have the login data for your voice over ip connection and your dsl connection. But some ISPs won't give you the login data, just a preconfigured router which you are forced to use. You cannot update the router (usually), may have to rent it for a fee and are still in charge for security risks (german law) as it stands in your household. Also, this device (not owned by you) takes space and power you have to pay for despite the fact you didn't want this router (just the line). This is why this router is called "Zwangsrouter" - you are being forced to use it.

  • 1
    mandated router? required router? obligatory router?
    – deadrat
    Commented Sep 2, 2015 at 7:38
  • 1
    Mandated doesn't seem to fit too well. Required does actually, but a router is required anyway - it doesn't reflect the full meaning of my description and is not immediate to those who are not familiar with the concecpt. obligatory router sounds better to me. Commented Sep 2, 2015 at 8:51
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    I take your point on "required." "Mandated" means enforced by command, so I think it fits quite well. Perhaps "obligatory, provider-supplied router."
    – deadrat
    Commented Sep 2, 2015 at 8:55
  • There can be provider-supplied routers which you are not forced to use. Mandet doesn't express the force (no alternatives) too well, but might be suited. Why not post as an answer and discuss the answer? It doesn't seem wrong either. Provider-forced router perhaps? Commented Sep 2, 2015 at 8:58
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    Sure, I have one of the damned things, so it's provider-supplied but it's not obligatory that I use the one supplied. "Mandated" means ordered or directed by an authority, so I'm not sure why you think there's no force involved. "Provider-forced" strikes me as having all of the drawbacks of just "forced" plus the ambiguity of what the provider is forcing. It's really a router forced upon the subscriber, but there's no mellifluous way to say that. (I haven't posted these ruminations as an answer because I'm not really satisfied with them.)
    – deadrat
    Commented Sep 2, 2015 at 9:05

3 Answers 3


It's not an exclusively German phenomenon. Is there anything wrong about the established English term compulsory router? I am not surprised this was closed at German SE.

Here is how to find the translation if you don't know where to look for information about the problem in English:

  • Look up Zwang at dict.leo.org. One of the translations is compulsion.
  • Since English often prefers adjectives to nouns as the first component in a compound noun, look for adjectives (such as compulsory) corresponding to the nouns you find, and try them before "router".
  • Find lots of web pages about "compulsory routers".
  • This is probably the best answer there is. As for ‘well-established’, I'll readily admit that (like several other native speakers in the comments above) I'd never heard the English term before, though the concept itself is common around here too. So I’d say if Zwangsrouter is a commonly known term in German, it's more well-established there than in English. Commented Sep 5, 2015 at 12:34
  • Thanks, I wonder dict.leo.org didn't hat "Zwangsrouter" as a translated term. I also found fsfe.org/activities/routers/routers.en.html. Thanks a lot! Commented Sep 7, 2015 at 6:44

Perhaps “locked router“ would be appropriate. I.e. some mobiles are locked in to the network provider, which is essentially the same concept.


I believe forced router is a fine translation for this purpose.

The term is being used around in the given sense: see here and here, and although the meaning is not immediate to those who are not familiar with the concept, it is quite natural and mirrors the German term well.

To compare, consider e.g. the term forced vaccination: the vaccination is being forced onto someone (it is not the case that the vaccination itself is forced to do something).

  • Your first link seems to be to a machine translated text, the second is to a text apparently from Germany with no clear authorship.
    – Carsten S
    Commented Sep 2, 2015 at 8:16
  • If "forced router" is an English term of art, then it needs no explanation, but the OP is right to feel some discomfort. In any process X that has an agent performing X and possibly a target on which the agent performs X, then a "forced X" means that one or the other has to do X. So a forced vaccination is one in which the target must accept a vaccination. A forced march is one in which the agent marcher must march. If X is already an agent, X is required to do the associated action, e.g, a forced runner in baseball. The force in forced router, though, has nothing to do with routing.
    – deadrat
    Commented Sep 2, 2015 at 8:18
  • I'd like to see a translation where the term "zwang" is emphasized, like in "forced". I also like the explanation of @deadrat. So I'm still not 100% confident. Commented Sep 2, 2015 at 8:53
  • @deadrat But "forced" need not imply a process or agents. Consider "forced air" or "forced advertisement". The implication is, I believe, that something is being forced onto a recipient. It little matters that the thing is actually a router.
    – anemone
    Commented Sep 2, 2015 at 9:32
  • @anemone It's true that "forced" need imply a process or agents, which is why I said "any process X that has an agent," which would apply to "router," which is itself an agent of the process of routing. And yes, the point here is that the router is forced upon the subscriber, but I'm claiming that with agent-process-target words, the forcing has to do with the process.
    – deadrat
    Commented Sep 2, 2015 at 9:39

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