What is the Difference between a Router and a Modem?

The words ‘Routers’ and ‘Modem’ are often confused with each other.

Many people use one word in place of the other without knowing what they mean.

Let’s first learn what does a router and a modem means.

What are Routers?

In simple words, routers are hardware used to connect multiple devices to the same network. For example, take your own home internet network. You connect your smartphones, your computers, and many other devices. These can be either wired (ethernet) or wireless (WiFi) connections. Your devices actually connect to the router.

The router manages the data that is to be sent to the devices that are connected to it. It is also the first line of security for your network. So keeping your router software updated is a good idea to protect yourself.

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A router has a number of ports for various connections. It can also connect to devices wirelessly. Any device that connects to the internet is given a unique IP address. This differentiates different devices in the network. A router assigns a local IP address to each device connected to it to differentiate between them. A router in itself does not provide internet connection. This is where the modem comes in. Usually, routers work along with a modem to let you connect to the internet.

What is a Modem?

A modem is a middleman in a connection between a computer and the internet. It connects the internet source such as your ISP (Internet Service Provider) and the device that needs access to the internet. This device can be a computer or a router.

As explained above, a router basically lets multiple devices share a common network. When the router is connected to a modem, all devices connected to the router have access to the internet provided by the modem.

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Modems come in different types. There is the dial-up modem that connects through the telephone line in your home. Nowadays, broadband modems are used which are much faster. They connect through other means like fiber optic cables or coaxial cables that carry digital signals. Since the signals don’t have to be analog like in a telephone line, your connections are much faster.

What is the Difference Between a Router and Modem?

Modems and routers are used together almost every time. So they might have the same meaning to most. You can answer this question yourself now that you know what they are separate. There are combo devices available that act as both modem and router and they are becoming popular now a days. These hybrid devices make the mean the differences won’t matter much in the future.

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