You would need a router at both ends if you plan to have a leased line connection between your warden's office and hostels.
If you plan to use any dial-up connection dialing to wardens office using PSTN than you don't need a router. Just a server, which can authenticate you, but the speed will be less.
You can also have an ISDN connection where you get more speed, at a slightly higher cost but would certainly be very less than leased line connections.
Another option you can look for is to check if any service provider in your area provides Ethernet to home that way you can have Ethernet services on subscription basis without investing in any electronics.
This was first published in February 2004