Most folks do not know the difference between a modem and a router, and that is not a surprise. You see, these devices make up the backbone of our home broadband internet connection. They go hand-in-hand at all times, hence their immense importance in making sure you can read this article and watch cat videos on YouTube.
Each device plays a role, therefore, we’ve decided to explain what these devices are and how they differ because they are not one and the same, as some folks might summarize.
Difference between a Modem and a Router
Modems and routers, for the most part, are two different things. If you want to learn more about them, then keep reading.
- What is a modem
- What is a router
- Modem and Router combined
1] What is a Modem
OK, so when it comes down to the differences between a modem a router, we should make it clear that a modem is designed to read data coming from your ISP. From there, the data is converted into a format your computer and other devices will understand.
We should point out that computer information is stored digitally, while data carried over telephone lines is spread in the form of analog waves. A modem, then, will convert between these two forms.
Now, usually, an ethernet cable is used to connect the modem and the router in order to provide a wired or wireless internet connection to a household. It’s quite straightforward if you ask us, and the tech won’t change any time soon unless 5G becomes something capable of dethroning home broadband.
2] What is a Router
As for the router, well, it acts as a distributor as it collects the data from the modem and sends it to your Windows 10 computer and other devices. Not only that, but the router is also capable of receiving information from connected devices, and send everything back to the modem, which in turn, travels to the ISP.
Most routers contain multiple switches that allow for connecting several devices that will share the internet connection provided by the modem. Furthermore, routers today come packed with Wi-Fi technology to deliver wireless internet connection throughout the home or business.
Now, for the best experience, most connected devices in your home will use both the modem and router. This is because the modem deals with the connection between your home and the ISP, while the router handles the communication between your home and the connected devices within it.
Of course, there are a few exceptions to the rule, but for the majority of cases, this is how people of the world connect to the web.
3] Modem and Router combined
In some cases, an ISP might provide a single box that acts as a modem and a router all-in-one. This is becoming very common as it uses less space in a home or office. However, having the modem and the router as separate devices can offer more flexibility for those who want to do more with their network.
Overall, we prefer the idea of having separate devices, which is why we suggest that if your ISP gives you a modem and router combination hardware, be sure to have a third-party router on-hand. The majority of internet users will be fine with what their ISP has given them, but for us who enjoy a little bit of freedom, it’s just not enough.