Aug 3, 2022

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

Nowadays, many people rely on the internet for information, and both routers and modems offer them access. These devices are essential internet tools that keep us connected to the internet.

Sometimes, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) provide a box that incorporates the services of both a router and a modem. However, these two devices have different technologies and function separately. Like many people, you may have no idea how these devices work.

Understanding the difference between both devices can help you make better choices regarding your internet connection. So, what's the difference between a router and a modem? Here's everything you need to know about both devices.

The Router

A router is a device used for networking that sends out data packets to and from connections to other computer networks, which means they also direct internet traffic. It transfers Wi-Fi signals across an area, making room for a wireless internet connection. There is the single band router and the dual band router.

A router is a go-to option when you have different devices requiring a network or wireless connection. You can easily connect your phone, computer, smartwatch, TV, and other gadgets to a router to access the internet at the same time.

Also, the router creates a local network within your home and manages data transmission across the modem and your devices. With this tool, you can establish a local area network (LAN) without internet access.

Although we have many types of routers, the two most common types are wired and wireless routers. The wired routers connect directly to your network devices, like computers, through a wired Ethernet cable. Most routers have various Ethernet ports to connect your devices. There's also an Ethernet port for connecting modems. Wired routers are reliable as they ensure minimal connectivity disruptions.

On the other hand, wireless routers connect directly to a modem or cable, ensuring the transfer of information from the internet to the router without the need to plug any wires. The router uses internal antennas to communicate with your Wi-Fi network, giving internet access to all connected devices within your home network.

With so many devices now being Wi-Fi compatibility, you will now most often find routers that handle both wired and wireless connectivity – to provide the greatest flexibility.

The Modem

Modem is short for modulator-demodulator. It is a network device that connects your home to an internet service provider. Previously, modems were used to convert telephone analog signals to allow digital data to be encoded and transferred before being demodulated and decoded. However, modern technology has changed this gadget’s working principle.

Every modem has an identifiable IP address for the internet. The modem translates signals from your service provider to understandable signals for your computer, mobile phones, and other local devices. In essence, it acts as a bridge between your computer network and the internet.

Many modems have three connection ports - one that connects to your local device or router and another port that connects to your service provider. The third port connects to the power source.

We have different types of modems. Some include DSL, dial-up, cable, half-duplex, full-duplex, and mobile broadband modems. The digital subscriber line (DSL) modem employs an intertwined cable pair for signal transmission. This modem radiates at higher frequencies and offers speed up to 2 Mbps, depending on the type and configuration.

The dial-up modem provides an interface between the analog and digital systems, whereas the cable modem uses a coax cable to connect your computer and internet service provider, carrying television and radio signals.

Differences Between a Router and a Modem at a Glance

What's the difference between a router and a modem? Even though both devices are often used together, they have their differences.

Now, let us pit modem vs router to identify the telling variations between these two devices. Also, we will look at their pros and cons.

1.   Function

The router transmits data between your modem and local devices. In contrast, the modem connects you to the internet through your ISP.

2.   Purpose

The router aims to connect different home devices to the home internet, whereas the modem brings the internet to your home.

3.   Security

Another difference between an internet router vs modem is the security of both devices. Routers have lesser chances of security threats because data packets are assessed. Meanwhile, modems have higher chances of security threats as data packets aren't accessed.

4.   Number of Connections

A router can simultaneously connect to different devices through Wi-Fi or an Ethernet cable. The modem can only connect a single device to the internet at a time.

5.   Dependency

Routers depend on modems to connect to the internet, while modems can function without routers.

6.   Necessity

Routers are not necessarily needed for internet connectivity, while modems are essential devices for connecting to the web.

Features of a Router

●       Uses a private IP address

●       Presence of more Ethernet ports as it connects multiple devices to the internet

●       Transmits data over a local area network (LAN)


●       Can connect to a VPN

●       Splits internet to several devices

●       Lesser chances of security threats

●       Can host a Wi-Fi


●       Cannot decode an ISP signal

●       Doesn't directly connect to the internet

Features of a Modem

●       Uses a public IP address

●       Has a wide area network

●       Presence of fewer Ethernet ports


●       Compatible with the internet service provider

●       Directly connects to an internet service provider

●       Converts ISP signal to a universal signal


●       Doesn't use Wi-Fi

●       Can't connect various devices to the internet

Modem or Router: Which One Is Better?

Even after figuring out what's the difference between a router and a modem, you may find it challenging to choose your most suitable option between an internet modem vs router or whether to get both devices.

A router is your best bet if you have multiple devices requiring an internet connection. However, this device alone will not be enough to access the internet. It should be connected to a modem to deliver the network signal across your computers, phones, and other local devices.

Also, you will need both devices if you want to connect to Wi-Fi or multiple devices. Many modems have a single local area network (LAN) port, meaning you can only link one computer at a time. It is worth noting that modems don't provide the same high level of security that routers offer.

In short, while it is important to know the difference between these two devices, the average home will need both to do all things we have become accustomed to using the internet for.

If you're looking for strong, speedy, and reliable internet services, Rango has great internet plans for you. Our amazing HiFi internet plans cover a range of speeds and capabilities to suit your different needs and we take the guesswork out of selecting your hardware by providing both a router and modem to customers.

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