What is the Difference Between a Router and Modem?

When it comes to setting up internet connection at our home or offices, we get to hear about two terms – Router and Modem. And a lot of us think that both of them are the same thing. However, it is not true. Instead, both a router and a modem are two separate devices for two different reasons. So the question is, what is the difference between a router and modem?

modem vs router: what is the difference between router and modem

Modem vs Router: What’s the Difference?

In simple words, a modem connects you to a wide area network or WAN or the internet. While a router connects your devices to your local area network or LAN or a wifi network. Also, a router is responsible for letting your device communicate with each other wirelessly.

In other words, you can say that a modem is a gateway to the internet while the router is a hub for all your devices. And it provides internet to your devices.

What is a Modem?

A modem is a device that receives analog signals from your ISP or internet service provider. And then, it translates the signal into a digital signal that your devices can understand and vice versa. The modem is responsible for sending and receiving data over the internet.

what is a modem

In other words, you can say that a modem works as a translator, and it translates signals coming from your ISP and then turn into an internet connection that your router broadcasts to your devices. On a basic level, the modem is the device that gives you access to the web.

How does a modem work?

Your modem first receives information from your ISP using phone lines, optical fiber, or cables in your home or office. And then, it turns the signals into a digital signal.

After that, a router pushes the signal out to connected devices connected through wired Ethernet cables or Wifi. So every device connected to your router gets access to the internet.

However, the router as a device cant function as a modem. Because it cannot communicate directly with your ISP because they transmit different signal types. As a result, you will need a modem in between to enjoy internet connection.

What is a router?

A router is basically a device that connects two or more packet switched networks or subnetworks. It has two primary functions. One is to manage traffic between these networks by forwarding data packets to their intended IP addresses. And the other job is to allow multiple devices to use the same internet connection simultaneously.

what is a router

Also, there are several types of routers available out there. However, most routers pass data between LANs or WANs.

How does the router work?

You can consider a router as an air traffic controller. And data packets as aircraft headed to different aircraft or networks. Just like every plan has a unique destination and it follows a unique router.

Each packet also needs to be guided to its destination as efficiently as possible. And a router helps direct data packets to their destination IP addresses.

Moreover, a router uses an internal routing table to direct packets effectively. It sort of has a list of paths to various network destinations.

So once the router reads a packet’s header finds out where it is going. Then the router consults the routing table of offers an efficient path to the destination.

Do you Need a Modem or a Router?

You will need both a router and a modem only if you want to use wifi or connect multiple devices. Most modems come with one LAN Ethernet port which you can connect to one computer at a time. But the only drawback is that it doesn’t provide the same security that a router does.

A router is an essential device if you want to connect multiple devices to the internet. But the router will not help you to access the internet alone. But you will also need to have a modem alongside it.

Luckily, you are getting a router and modem combo devices these days, which only requires you to have one device. But it should be compatible with your internet service provider. Also, check out How to Fix Asus Router Login Not Working Error?

Final Words:

So that was a quick answer to your what is the difference between the router and modem question. I hope this has helped you to get enough idea of what two devices are for and how they work. In case if there is anything else you want to ask, then do comment below.

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