modem vs router

When looking for internet service, you come across the terms modem and router. You’ve probably even seen what they look like but that’s what makes it so confusing.

Aren’t they the same thing? If they are different, then what is the difference between both?

All you know is that you have this one box-like device at your home with blinking lights and ethernet ports and some people refer to it as a modem while others say router.

Modem vs Router: What’s The Difference?

So, what really is it? Well, that is exactly what we’re here to clear out for you. Read on to find out!

What is a modem?

A hardware device that connects your devices to the internet through coaxial cables or fiber, depending on the broadband selected. This is all arranged and maintained by the internet service provider.

There are different types of modems like cable modem, fiber modem, digital subscriber line (DSL), dial-up modem, mobile broadband modem, half-duplex modem, full-duplex modem, four-wire modem, and two-wire modem.

The purpose of all modems is the same: to deliver bandwidth so users can get access to the internet. But their connections are different. To understand better, here are some details regarding the types of modems.

Cable Modem

A cable modem uses coaxial cables to deliver high-speed internet to your device. The cables are connected to the modem and go back to the service provider. It receives data or bandwidth and that is how you can connect to the internet.

Benefits of cable modem include fast and reliable internet connection. It is most commonly available. On the other hand, drawbacks include slow internet during peak times.

The installation charges of this type of broadband are not too expensive so it is a somewhat affordable and popular option.

Wave Internet offers high-speed internet services delivered to your home by a coaxial cable network. Their network covers over 600 ZIP codes in 140+ cities in Washington, California, and Oregon!

Fiber Modem

Popularly known as “Fiber Optic” or “Fiber Internet”, it offers a speedy internet connection as compared to other options. It requires the installation of fiber cables to deliver bandwidth.

Benefits include faster and more reliable internet connection. Drawbacks include expensive installation fees, separate wiring for bi-directional communication, and sensitive cables that are easily damaged.

The installation charges for this broadband are very high considering that the availability for this internet is low. As the fiber optic is fairly new to the market, there is not much availability.

DSL Modem

DSL uses the cable that is connected to your phone line. Thus, the benefits of DSL include landline services, no additional cable installation, and a fast internet connection.

Drawbacks include slow internet if your home is far from ISP’s office, slower data sending power as compared to receiving power, and availability issues.

DSL is not widely available like cable internet. Moreover, if you do not use a landline telephone, then you will have to pay installation fees for the cables.

Dial-up Modem

This modem uses the technique of combining the telephone line with two end devices like two computers.

It is similar to DSL in the fact that it uses telephone lines to send and receive data. But dial-up, as compared to DSL, is extremely slow, especially now that speedy internet demand has increased.

Mobile Broadband Modem

This type of modem uses mobile telephone lines and is also known as a wireless modem. They are usually built-in with any PC or laptop.

But, in other forms, they can be inserted like a USB into a USB port to use the internet.

Half-Duplex Modem

Just like the name hints, this modem can only do one thing at a time: send data or receive data.

When the modem is receiving data, then the sending point is alerted by an indicator light to stop sending data for a while. After the information is received, only then can the sending point function again.

Full-Duplex Modem

This modem can perform both functions at a time, sending and receiving data as it has two carriers. One for sending data, one for receiving data.

Four-Wire Modem

A separate pair of wires is used for both incoming and outgoing carriers. This means the same frequency is used for transmission for both things.

Two-Wire Modem

This modem uses a pair of wires for incoming and outgoing carriers. If we were using the half-duplex mode, then both wires will be used for one thing at a time.

What is a router?

A router, also known as a gateway, is connected to the internet through the modem and further distributes the internet connection wirelessly to multiple devices.

You can purchase this yourself or just rent one out from your service provider. While you won’t have to pay the monthly fee after you’ve bought the router, you won’t have access to technicians for it.

Renting it out from your service provider will at least give you access to technicians in case there is an issue with the router.

In addition to that, the technicians will be the ones to install the device in your home so you won’t have to worry about that. There are two types of routers: Wired and wireless routers.

What is the difference between them?

While both devices can look pretty much the same, their functionality is obviously different. One thing to note here is that some service providers give you one device, which functions as both a modem and a router.

While this is efficient, it is recommended to get a separate modem and router.

Modem technology is slow to change so while you can use a modem for quite some time before it is outdated, routers are easily replaced whenever they can’t keep up with the number of devices being used in your home.

So, to prevent this, you should get separate devices.

A modem provides you with internet and thus, it is important to have. It receives analog internet signals from the ISP and then turns them into digital internet signals.

These digital internet signals are then sent to the router. If you only need to connect one device to the internet, be it a laptop, or a computer, then a modem will suffice and you won’t need a router.

However, if you need to connect two or more devices to the internet, you will need a router. A router receives the digital internet signals and distributes them to your devices.

Because of this router, you can connect multiple devices to the internet at the same time. You also have the benefit of connecting to the internet wirelessly because of the router.

Conclusion

So, now that you know the basics and the difference between a modem and a router, you can easily identify between them and which one you want.

Although, routers have become as important as modems. Most people opt for modem + router hybrids but some even have separate ones.

Many ISPs already provide you with a modem and router so you don’t need to go get one for yourself.

BuyTVInternetPhone is a website where you can find multiple service providers that offer internet services and some even offer modems as a benefit to subscribing to their services.

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