You probably use both a modem and a router when you use the Internet. But what are they, and how do they work in conjunction? Simply stated, the modem is the Internet door and the internet (and its traffic) is controlled by the router. If you choose to set up your network or fix issues with your internet service, it is necessary to know the difference between modem and router. The main difference between the two devices is that you can connect to the Internet via a modem, while a router distributes this to various devices. Often people confuse a modem with a router, and vice versa, as they look the same. Both have backward indicator lights and Ethernet ports, and many specific roles are shared. The two transfer data packets or data units sent to a destination from a source. Most of the ISPs charge additional for these devices while you’re signing up for the Internet services, however, there are a few ISPs like Charter Communications that offer a free of cost modem to the customers who sign up for Spectrum Internet. Now to avoid any confusion, let’s find out the differences between a modem and a router.
By converting an analog internet signal into a digital signal, a modem transmits a signal from your internet provider (for example Charter, Comcast, AT&T) to your home or office. It is your portal to the outside world that connects your network to the wider internet. The word modem is made up by combining the terms “modulation” and “demodulation”, and is being used since the modems used to convert the analog signal to digital signals from telephone lines. More advanced technology is currently being used to do the same. But the short-term modem has stuck and people are still using it today.
Modem types include DSL, analog, ISDN, and Cable.
- DSL uses your telephone line, but outside of the frequencies for voice calls, the transmission is made. This lets you use the phone and the internet simultaneously.
- To connect to your ISP, analog modems also use the telephone line of your phone and you can’t make calls while surfing the internet
- ISDN often operates via radio, but from a circuit switch or a particular cable, messages are sent by a copper telephone wire.
- The cable modem works in the same way, connected via a coaxial cable and a Cat 5 (Ethernet) cord to a router or computer only.
What does a Modem do?
A modem is a cross-networking device that encodes and decodes signals to your devices from your ISP, and vice versa. It modulates the transmitter information and then demodulates the recipient data. It works as a translator of the network that can transform the ISP ‘s patented signals into a common signal, the devices may use. Modems also compress information, correct mistakes, and manage data flow. A modem accelerates the transfer by grouping and submitting data in one go, based on a set of rules. Error correction is associated with data compression. The modem here verifies that the information sent to your computer matches certain values. If not, it will return the data.
A router is a networking device that delivers your internet from your modem (or routes) into all your devices, including laptops, mobile phones, smart TVs, and desktop computers. This allows all of them to simultaneously connect to the Internet. A router enables various devices to connect across the network with each other. Many forms of routers exist, but two of the most common are wired and wireless. Wired routers must physically be connected to a modem and a cable device. Compared to other devices on your WiFi-network, wireless routers use integrated antennas. But, the physical connection of a wireless router to your modem with a cable is still required to send and obtain information on the web.
What does a Router do?
A router is mainly responsible for traffic between different networked devices and keeps track of MAC addresses to ensure the correct transmission of information. E.g., your router makes sure that your computer gets the video content, not your smartphone attached to the same network when you try to view a video on your computer. Besides, a router enables users to share network resources. It can include folders, files, drives, and peripherals such as fax machine, scanner, & printer.
A router also includes security features to protect you from hackers and other unauthorized people, seeking network access. One of the most important things you can do to secure your network is to give it a password. You may configure it using the settings of your router. From here you can also activate the firewall, prevent other websites, and more from being available, limit access to devices with a specific MAC address.
You can connect a computer with a modem using a cable if you only have to link one computer to the internet. But, in case you need to connect several devices to the internet wirelessly, you will need a router. Moreover, you can connect your device to the internet with WiFi if you have a wireless router.