Difference Between Modem and Router: Know Your Networks

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Difference Between Modem & Router

We have spent the better part of our lives connected to the Internet and still, most people don’t know the basic difference between modem & router. Yes, they all help in providing your internet connection, but what if one day your internet runs out and you have to do the troubleshooting yourself? How will you figure out why you are not getting connected to the Internet? The basic knowledge helps you go a long way.

Knowing how the blinking boxes on your wall work may help you save a lot of money. If you know about them, then you can fix them. Voila, no need to pay the technician now.

What Is a Modem?

A modem is a device that connects your home to your local internet solutions provider (ISP). The modem takes signals from your local internet service provider and transmits them to your home. Modem takes the signals from the broadband service provider and turns them into networks your devices can use. The connection between your house and the Internet service provider is known as a wide area network (WAN). Every single modem is assigned an IP address to identify it over the web. Few of the best Wi-Fi Modems can receive and send signals up to a very long distance.

What Is a Router?

A router helps your devices connect to the Internet and to the modem. The router connects directly into your modem and then connects to your devices via Ethernet cable or Wi-Fi signals. It creates a Local Area Network (LAN) in your house, allowing your devices to share files between devices. Router also manages all the information going out from the devices, and the modem makes sure the information ends up in the right spot. A router isn’t entirely dependent on Modem, you can create a LAN but it won’t have internet access. Basically, your router:

  • Assigns a local Internet protocol (IP) address to each device
  • Manages the traffic and the information on your network
  • Allows you to put up parental controls
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Do I Need a Modem And a Router?

While the Modem is your network translator, a router allows your devices to connect with the translated signals. A router keeps everything safe, secures the information you share over the Internet. You require both a modem and a router to access the Internet. Your modem connects you to your local internet solution provider and your modem connected router disperse these signals in all directions for your devices to connect to the internet.

However, technology has improved in recent times. Most of the major internet service providers now offer you a combined gadget known as Wi-Fi Gateway. It’s a single device comprising both router and modem. If you’ve bought an internet plan in recent times with Xfinity or AT&T, then you must have seen this Wi-Fi gateway. These gateways are fast and powerful and allow you to go about your daily Internet routine with no issues.

What Are Mesh Networks?

Sometimes, a single Wi-Fi router isn’t enough to cover an entire home or office because of the vast area. There may be multiple floors or complicated building structures that may cause dead spots. Most people use a network extended in this case to expand the reach of the primary router. But this also results in a slower network near the extenders, as they take a long time to translate the information. A better solution is to invest in a mesh network.

A Wi-Fi mesh network comprises one primary router and multiple satellites and nodes. These satellites and nodes relay the wireless signal onto the other like a chain. This allows the user to receive the same network speed as standing right next to the primary router. With a Wi-Fi Mesh network, you can say goodbye to Dead spots forever. There’s no limit to how many nodes you can set up, and the best part is that you can manage them with your smartphone.

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What to Choose, Modem or Router?

As stated above, you’ll always need a Modem and a router if you are setting up an Internet connection for your home. However, if you are just setting up a desktop with an Ethernet cord then you can just use a modem. Keep in mind that there’s a possible case where you can just use a router without a modem, as a modem is required to translate the wireless signals you receive from your broadband internet provider.

So investing in both modem and a router is the right choice if you want to increase your Internet experience. 

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