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

Modem Vs Router
Img Source- Hightechwhizz

A router is different than a modem in terms of the functions they perform.  Modems are used to connect you to the internet. A router is used to connect all your devices to the home network or LAN (Local Area Network) or Wi-Fi so that your devices can communicate wirelessly with other devices. Routers cannot connect to the internet by themselves so they need a modem in order to function. 

Let’s find all the differences between a modem and a router in this post below. 


Modems are used to connect your home to the provider and convert the digital signals from your provider so the computer may understand them, says ScienceABC. Modems mainly consist of two ports: one that connects you to the ISP and another that connects your computer to the router. 

Modems come in different types: dial-up (analog modems), cable modems, or DSL modems. Cable modems use a coax cable to connect devices with your ISP. 

The ISPs provide a modem to their customers on a rental basis each month. This comes with some benefits such as troubleshooting and support. You may purchase or buy a modem to save yourself from spending every month on the rent. For instance, Wave broadband provides a modem with its services for $10 a month, but also offers the customers a chance to purchase once and for all to avoid paying each month. 

Being a wired connection, modems give a more reliable connection. Also, if you want to connect other devices wirelessly simultaneously, then you will need a router as well. 

The traditional appearance of a modem is a small, slim, square box in black. They frequently have two to four antennae, but not all models come with an external antenna. You may get a fair idea of what a modem looks like from the photographs at the top of this article, although each manufacturer employs a distinct design.

Additionally, modems will include one to two USB ports, and two to four Ethernet connectors, with dimensions of six to nine inches, wide by six to eleven inches, and roughly two to three inches high.


A router is connected to the modem to create a private network in an office or home. When a device is connected to Wi-Fi, it is connected to the local router. All the smart devices are connected to the internet through routers including smartphones, tabs, laptops, Alexa, etc. 

Without the need for wires, wireless routers may stream video to laptops and mobile devices via Netflix, Hulu, and comparable services.

A few ISPs provide router rentals. It’s worthwhile to acquire one if you want the newest technologies. When you purchase a wireless router, you can select the model that is most appropriate for your house or workplace or, if necessary, has sophisticated functions for gaming and other activities.

One wireless router may not always be enough to cover a large place, one with a convoluted layout, numerous floors, or impenetrable walls, such as a home or office. Buy range extenders that connect to the router and extend its range to avoid dead zones. The areas close to the extenders will often have reduced bandwidth as a result.

A Wi-Fi mesh network is made up of one main router and numerous satellites, or nodes, that act as a chained relay for the wireless signal. Mesh network nodes communicate with one another without losing bandwidth, unlike extenders that only connect to the router. The signal is just as strong as if you were standing right next to the main router. You are not restricted in how many nodes you can set up, and a smartphone can be used to administer it.

The size of the area and the amount of bandwidth needed will determine whether you need a mesh network or a range extender.

Do I need a router and modem?

To set up a home network, you require a modem and a router. You can only use a modem to wired link a single computer to the internet. There is never a situation when a router will suffice. A modem is always required to decode the ISP signal.

The router is typically where you want to concentrate your efforts when trying to speed up your network. It distributes the signal to all of your devices and has bandwidth constraints. Your Wi-Fi is created and controlled by your router.

Usually, the modem is not to blame for a slow connection. In most cases, your ISP will provide you with one that is appropriate for your subscription.

Footnotes: Router and Modem Combos

There are also modems with built-in routers that can serve as both devices. You can either buy these modems outright or rent them from your ISP. If you have a cable, internet, and phone bundle, these combo devices may offer a VoIP feature.

Combination gadgets aren’t always your best bet. You cannot upgrade one gadget at a time if one part fails, rendering the entire system worthless. Nonetheless, purchasing a modem and router combo is practical if you don’t want the newest and finest technology.

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