Modem vs Router: Know the Actual Working & Difference

In this article, we will discuss the difference between modem and router because a lot of people think that a modem and a router are the same things, but they are not. They are different from two separate roles on a network. So here, we’ll have a Modem vs Router explanation of their functions and roles in the internet and networking.

What is a Modem?

Now if you want the internet inside your home or business, you have to have a modem. A modem is what brings the internet into your home or business.

A modem establishes and maintains a dedicated connection to your internet service provider to give you access to the Internet.

Now the reason why you have to have a modem is because of the two different types of signals that are used on a computer and on the Internet. A computer only read digital signals,  while signals out on the internet are analog. As the analog data comes in from the internet, the modem demodulates the incoming analog signals into a digital signal so that a computer can understand it,  and a modem also modulates outgoing digital signals from a computer into analog signals as it goes out on the Internet.

This is where we get the word modem. the word Modem means modulator-demodulator which is exactly what a modem does. It modulates outgoing data from a computer and demodulates incoming data from the internet.

What is a Router?

Now a router comes in after the modem.

There are different types of routers. There are routers that are used in businesses and larger organizations and there are smaller routers that are used in homes and small businesses, but they basically do the same thing.

In this article, we’ll consider a small office/home office router that most of us are familiar with.

Now, a router is what routes or passes your internet connection to your devices in your home or business. It directs over all of your computers, tablets, phones, and someone so that those devices can access the internet.

A typical small office/home office router has a built-in switch with multiple ports so that you can connect multiple devices using an ethernet cable connection and it also functions as a wireless access point so that wireless devices such as tablets and laptops can have internet access.

Modem vs Router: Functions and Roles

Technically you really don’t need a router if you only want one of your devices to access the internet. you can just plug-in that device network cable directly into the modem and then you be able to access the internet.

However, like most homes and businesses you’re going to have multiple devices that need access to the internet and in that case you will need a router.

There are also different types of modems, two of the most common types are cables and DSL modems.

So depending upon what type of internet you going to use you need to use the correct type of modem. cable modems are connected to your home using a coaxial cable. The cable is typically provided by the same company that provides you with cable television  DSL modem are connected using a typical phone.

Now a lot of times you internet service provider when they send you a modem or if you want to buy one at the store, the modem might be a modem-router combination so it would be a modem with a built-in wireless router in one physical device.

Here is an example of several different networks on how they connect to the internet. For example, this network here on the picture shown below is using a cable modem and it is using a small office/home office router so that each computer and the tablet can have internet access.

In the following picture below we have another network and this network is using a DSL modem and it is also using a small office/home office router so that each computer, the laptop, and the tablet can access the internet.

Again on the below, we have an example of a business network and it is using a cable modem and it is using a business router so we can connect its computer and its server.

And finally, we have a network here which only has one device that needs internet access. So it doesn’t need to use a router. I can just directly connect to the modem because only one device needs internet access.

Now if you are wondering how hubs and switches relate to router and modems, well,  keep in mind that most routers will have a built-in switch inside of them. so there is no need to have a switch if you already have a router that has a switch built into it.

So for example, if a router may have a 4 ports integrated switch so that you can connect 4 Ethernet cables for your wired devices. The only time you may need to add a switch to this network is if you need a  more wired connection for your devices. You can just connect a switch to your router and then add more connections to the switch.

We have the internet with all of its routers, then internet routed into this private network, it first reaches the modem, then it goes from the modem to the router with integrated switch and then it passes to all of the computers.

If you like this article of Modem vs Router, then you can express your thoughts here on the comment box.

You can also read our other Computer Networking related articles.

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