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What Is The Difference Between A Modem And A Router?

People often make the mistake of confusing a modem with a router and vice versa because both of these things have a lot of features in common, like ethernet ports on the back and indicator lights that blink. 

Nevertheless, it is essential to understand the difference between a modem and a router if you want to set up your internet connection. Other than some similarities, there are many differences between these two devices. 

The main difference between a modem and a router is that a router distributes a connection to various devices. In contrast, a modem enables you to connect to the link. A modem comes with a public IP address. On the other hand, a router comes with a private IP address. 

Below we have mentioned other important facts that you would need to know to understand the difference between a modem and a router. We will also take a look at their specific functions, when they are likely to be used, and their types. Let’s get started.  

What is a modem, and what does it do? 

Let us first start by understanding what these devices are, their purpose, and if they have different types. The word modem comes from the combination of ‘modulation’ and ‘demodulation.’ The fundamental function of a modem is to convert an analog signal into a digital signal. Here are some prominent features of a modem:

  • A modem connects your internet connection to the outside link, and by doing that, it works as a gateway to your internet connection. But as technology got more advanced, the same thing is done with cutting-edge technology. 
  • After signing up for your internet plan, you can get a modem from your ISP. 
  • An analog modem connects to your ISP by using your telephone’s line. But with an analog modem, you can not use your phone while browsing the web. If you want to use both, then you will have to get a DSL.  You can choose any modem according to your needs. 

What are the different types of modems?

There are a number of different types of modems available, each having particular specifications and characteristics. Here is a list of some popular types of modems:

  • Cable modems
  • Mobile-broadband modems
  • Dial-up modems
  • Full-duplex modems
  • Half-duplex modems 
  • DSL modems
  • Two-wire modems
  • Four-wire modems

Why do you need a modem?

As the name suggests, a modem is used to modulate and demodulate the signal from your ISP to your device and vice versa. Your device can not use the proprietary signals; hence a modem works as a network’s translator. A modem converts a direct signal that it receives from your ISP to a standard call. 

There are other uses of a modem as well. It controls the flow of information, corrects errors, and compresses the data. A modem helps speed up the transmission by submitting all the data in one go. 

What is a router, and what does it do? 

We have come to understand more about modems. Let us now shift our focus to routers. Unlike a modem, a router is a device that distributes your internet connection to all of your electronic devices, such as laptops, mobile phones, desktops, and smart televisions. Routers have specific details about them that we have listed below for you:

  • With the help of a router, all of these devices are connected to the internet simultaneously, and these electronic devices can communicate with each other also. 
  • If you are looking for a router that is good for your business, then you should go for enterprise routers because these routers will help your business to increase its productivity. 
  • For a wired router, you need to connect it physically to a modem, while that is not required with a wireless router. 

What are the different types of routers?

Similar to modems, you will find various types of routers which pertain to particular purposes. Here is a list of some popular types of routers:

  • Modem routers
  • Wireless routers 
  • Distribution routers
  • Bridge routers
  • Core routers 

Why do you need a router?

When you have many devices at the same time, then it cannot be easy to handle the traffic. A router can help you with that by keeping track of their MAC (media access control) address. If you are using your laptop, then a router makes sure that the data is being transferred to the computer, not the phone. 

Since a router will connect all of your electronic devices, you can transfer folders and files back and forth among the connected devices. A router is also essential for safety purposes; hence, it saves your devices from being hacked.  

A combination device of modem and router

You can also ask your ISP for a modem router combo. This will save you from the trouble of dealing with too many wires and cables for the setup. However, if you are looking for flexibility, then you should buy both of these devices separately. 

It would help if you always go for a third-party router because it gives you more control over the network, and you can use the same router even if you change your ISP. Some ISPs charge a lot of rental money for a modem, so it would be better if you buy your modem. Before purchasing a modem, you must tell your ISP that it is the right modem for your internet connection. 

In conclusion

It is easy to confuse a modem and a router in a not so technically aware situation. However, with this article, you will now be able to tell the difference between both. As we have understood, both have some similar features, which causes confusion. However, they both play different roles, carry out different tasks, and have different types. 

However, despite their differences, they can be combined and used together in a particular situation. Therefore, make sure you know which device will best suit your needs with the help of this article. 

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Subrata Das

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