Wednesday, December 6

What’s the Difference Between a Router and a Modem?

Today, a world without the internet seems unimaginable. In fact, everything is connected to this tool. Education, entertainment, gaming, sports, and even business. With greater access to the internet, especially through Spectrum internet cable, there’s also an increase in modems and routers. These are devices that transmit and ensure signals to your devices. 

However, with steady growth in the types and varieties of such devices, confusion is also rising. Most people today aren’t aware of the differences between modems and routers. In fact, a large number of users believe that these are the same and can be used interchangeably. However, modems and routers are very different. Here are the main differences.

Modem and Its Functionality

A cable modem’s basic function is to connect you to the internet. In order to connect any device to your internet service provider, it makes use of a coax cable. Moreover, modems work by modifying digital information into analog signals. This is important for transmission and for translating information back to data your computer can comprehend. Modems are of many kinds. Most of these devices consist of two ports. One port is an Ethernet jack that allows users to connect to routers or computers.

 The other connects you to the external world. The most common types of modems include analog or dial-up modems and cable modems or digital subscriber line (DSL). In most cases, internet service providers (ISP) provide users with modems. However, these are typically rented and can cost you extra money. Buying your own device can help you save a significant amount of money.

What’s a Router and What Does It Do?

The core function of a router is connecting to the internet and then dispensing the connection to a number of devices. A cable modem router, also known as a gateway, connects to a port on the router and all other devices connect to another port. The former port is usually referred to as “Wide Area Network,” or “WAN”. The type of router you want to buy depends on your preferences and utility. For greater freedom, it’s always a good idea to buy your own router.

This way, you’ll be able to adjust all kinds of settings according to your personal preferences. However, when you use a router that’s already provided by your internet service provider, you gain access to additional benefits that include troubleshooting and technicians.

Modem vs. Router

The central difference between a modem and a router is in their distribution of internet. Simply put, a modem works by connecting you to the internet while a router distributes this connection to other devices. It’s easy to get confused between the two tools because internet providers usually provide users with a single box that serves as both a router and modem. However, these two use different technologies and have different functions. In order to connect your devices to the internet, you need to have both devices present.

 Moreover, modems can be distinguished from routers by the number of ports. Generally, modems have a lesser number of Ethernet ports. In addition to this, they also typically make use of a wide area network (WAN). Modems also have a public IP address. In contrast, routers have private IP addresses. Instead of a WAN, they distribute the internet on LAN or local area network.

Why Is It Easy to Get Confused Between the Two?

It’s no surprise that modems and routers cause a lot of confusion. Most people cannot tell them apart because of some similarities that they share. Apart from looking similar and having similar functions, they both have indicator lights that cause confusion when distinguishing. Apart from this, both modems and routers have ethernet ports at the back instead of the front. They also serve to distribute data. The most common types of modems are cable, DSL, Fiber, and dial-up modems. However, routers come in much more variety. Here are some popular router types: 

Asus RT-AC3200 

D-Link DIR-878 

TP-Link Archer C7 AC1750

Trendnet AC2600 

Nighthawk Netgear X4S 

Netgear Nighthawk R7000P

In a Nutshell

If you want to know what kind of router or modem to buy, consider factors like location, internet usage, and size. However, if you use both a modem and a router, you’ll ensure a stable wireless internet connection. If you’re an internet user who enjoys customized and personalized settings, you might want to consider purchasing your own devices. This way, you can choose whatever security settings you want. You can even have a separate modem and router if you want minimal adjustments.