The Difference between modems and routers

2 min


If you have internet service in your home, then you’ve probably heard about modems and routers. However, you might not know exactly what each one does when it comes to delivering the internet throughout your home to each device that’s used. The device that connects the internet source to your home is the modem. In order for the devices that you have in your home to access the internet, you need a router. You’ll usually receive a device that acts as both a modem and a router when you connect to an internet provider. Even though they might be on the same device, the modem and router do different tasks, and if you want wireless internet in your home, then you’ll likely need the router more than anything else.

Separating the Two

If at all possible, try to use a separate modem and router as it can make the process of connecting each one a bit easier. It can also make troubleshooting in the event of an issue that arises with your internet service a bit easier as well instead of trying to determine if the connection is with the modem or the router. Most of the time, a modem will last for quite some time. However, you might need a new router if your want faster speeds or if you want better internet coverage in your home. When you add more devices or your router is older, it might not be able to keep up with the demand in your home, which would mean updating the device. A way that you can save money on your internet bill is if you purchase your own modem and router instead of using the one provided by the internet service provider company.

What is a Modem?

When a signal is sent through a phone line or a cable, the modem modulates that signal. In simpler terms, the digital signal that is sent is then transformed into a signal that can be transmitted through wires and then back to a form that your computer and other devices in your home will comprehend. There are usually two ports on a modem. One connects to the exterior internet source while the other connects to a router or your computer. You’ll usually see an additional fee on your monthly internet statement if you use the modem provided by the company, which is why you should consider purchasing your own instead.

What is a Router?

Think of a router as a highway in your home. It acts as a roadway for the internet signal to be delivered to your computer, your phone, or even a gaming device so that you can play games online. When you put the router and devices together, it’s often known as your home network. You’ll connect the router to your modem through a port that’s usually labeled “WAN.” Your devices can then connect wirelessly through the Wi-Fi network. You want to think about the size of your home and how many devices will be connected in your home before deciding on what kind of router to purchase. If you live in a smaller home, then you can usually get by with a small router. However, if you live in a multi-story home or if there are several devices that will be connected at one time, then you want to look into a larger router that can handle the traffic.

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