Every piece of hardware is different and has a different set of functions that make it stand out. Tech savvy users usually don’t have trouble differentiating one or the other but for common users, it isn’t as easy. When it comes to the world of internet technology, there are a few everyday terms that you’ve probably heard a lot but don’t really know the exact purpose of the device. Modem and router are two terms that most people think are for the same thing, but contrary to this belief, these words are often thrown around without really knowing the difference between them. This article helps you understand what makes a modem different from a router and why.
In layman terms, the router basically creates a network between the devices at your home, and the modem connects this network to the internet, in turn also connecting the devices to the internet. Most Internet Service Providers offer a set of both a modem and a router.
So talking about routers, they can connect multiple networks and basically route network traffic between them. The router you own has one connection to the internet and one to your private local network. Most routers are also capable of letting you connect multiple wired devices with the help of ports that are present at the back of the router. The router is a medium between your Internet connection and your local network. These devices are not only connected to the internet, but also with each other on this local network. But the router also makes sure that your devices aren’t exposed and handles all the traffic that runs between them and the internet, and hence allocating it accordingly to each device. But you cannot connect directly to the internet with just a router, you will need a modem which basically transmits your traffic over the type of internet you have.
A modem was previously known as a modulator-demodulator, because they were used to modulate signals on a telephone so that they were modulated or encoded on one end and decoded on the other. It serves as a medium between your local network and the internet. The modem connects to your ISP which usually provides a cable. By connecting your modem to a router, all devices can connect to the internet over the local network. It gives you a standard Ethernet Cable which in most cases is connected to the WAN port in a router, but can also be directly connected to any device that has the port. In modern days, some ISPs offer a modem and a router in a single device, which acts as a modem that connects with the ISP and also as a router to create the local area network for your home. However, using separate devices offers more flexibility and gives you better control over your home network. Make sure that any modem you buy is approved and works with your ISP.