Technically, a router is not required but a modem is. Windows still supports protocols that are used by routers for account validation. (The PC could also act as a wifi access point using a wifi card or motherboard with wifi.) However, that's a really, really bad idea since it is significantly less secure than using a dedicated router with a built in firewall. Even better is to use a dedicated, standalone firewall since some routers are poorly supported or not supported at all which can make them insecure. Some makes of routers are updated faster and for a longer time than others. The open source software used for dedicated routers is usually updated quickly when security vulnerabilities are found.
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