Modem vs Router: What is The Difference Between a Modem and a Router? [Detailed Comparison]

A modem is a device that facilitates communication between a local area network and the larger Internet. A router is a device that enables your wired and wireless devices to share a single Internet connection and communicate with one another without resorting to the network’s Internet protocol (IP) address.

It’s common for ISPs to bundle a modem and router into a single device, but they are technically separate pieces of equipment. To connect all of your home’s devices to the web, you’ll need both types of routers, regardless of whether they’re integrated or not.

If at all possible, you should use a standalone modem in addition to a router. You can use a modem for years before it breaks, as technological advancements in modems happen slowly in comparison to routers. However, you may want to upgrade your router if you want to improve your network’s coverage, if you’ve added too many devices, or if you want to take advantage of the latest advancements in Wi-Fi technology.

You can often get a better monthly deal on your Internet service by purchasing your own modem and router rather than using the ones provided by your Internet service provider (ISP). However, this is typically only the case with cable Internet and not DSL or fiber, and the situation becomes more complicated if you also get your phone service from your ISP.


Modem vs Router

To put it another way, a modem takes digital information from your computer and converts it into analog signals that can travel over wires, and it takes analog information that has traveled over wires and converts it back into digital data that your computer can comprehend. The majority of standalone modems only provide two ports: an external modem port and an internal Ethernet jack.

Most Internet service providers (ISPs) will supply customers with a modem when they set up cable Internet service. It didn’t do this out of the goodness of its heart, though; if you check your statement, you’ll see that you’re being charged an additional amount every month (usually less than $10) for the service.

Limited options exist for those who rely on DSL or fiber Internet (such as Verizon’s Fios service). You may not be allowed to bring your own modem, even if you can find one to buy, and your Internet service provider (ISP) may supply a modem or modem/router combo.

Turning off the router characteristics of a combination modem/router and using it as a stand-alone modem allows you to add your own router; however, the procedure for doing so (and whether that is supported at all) varies depending on your service provider and the sort of Internet connection you have.

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Modem vs Router

One of the main functions of your router will be to forward data between your home network and the Internet. The term “home network” is used to refer to both the network of connected devices and the router itself. All of your devices connect to the router either through its physical ports or wirelessly using the Wi-Fi standard, and your modem goes into the router’s “Wide Area Network” (WAN) port.

Depending on the layout of your home, the number of devices you plan to connect to the network, and the location of the router, we propose one of two wireless router models. A single Wi-Fi router should be sufficient to cover a dozen or more devices in a one- or two-bedroom apartment.

These mesh Wi-Fi systems were designed to function together, unlike typical Wi-Fi extenders, which don’t coordinate with your router to ensure that all of your devices are connected to the router or satellite that gives them the best, strongest signal. If you’re not content with the network’s performance in some areas of your home, or if you decide to upgrade to a larger dwelling, you may always add more satellites to the network at a later date.

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The Advantages and Disadvantages of Modem


  • Establishes contact with an Internet service provider.
  • ISP-specific compatibility.
  • Adapts the Internet service provider’s signal so it can be received and processed by any machine.


  • There is no way to set up a private network.
  • Not Wi-Fi compatible.
  • Doesn’t allow for simultaneous internet access for several gadgets.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Routers


  • Builds a neighborhood network (LAN).
  • Shares a single network connection among multiple gadgets.
  • Wi-Fi hotspot.
  • Utilizes a firewall
  • Makes a VPN connection.


  • Accessing the web via a direct connection is currently unavailable.
  • Fails to decipher an Internet service provider’s signal

Should You Get A Modem And Router?

Modem vs Router

Establishing a private network at home necessitates the use of both a modem and a router. A modem is a sole device that may be used for a wired connection when only one computer is connected to the internet. Using only a router is not an option under any circumstances. A modem is always required to decode your Internet service provider’s signal.

The router is typically where your efforts to increase network speed should be concentrated. It regulates the amount of data transferred and broadcasts it to all of your gadgets. Your wireless LAN is generated and controlled by your router.

It’s rare that a modem would create a connection slowdown. Your internet service provider will typically provide you with one that is appropriate for your plan. Connecting your computer directly to the modem and conducting a speed test will reveal whether or not you are actually getting the maximum speed offered by your service provider. If that’s the case, talk to your internet service provider.

This could be due to your modem’s age or a problem with your internet connection. They might even replace it with a brand new version if this happens.

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Maintaining And Troubleshooting Your Router

Modem vs Router

We can’t provide you with all the information you’d need to troubleshoot every possible networking issue because routers are intricate bits of machinery. But with these standard preventative measures, you can keep your network up and operate as smoothly and safely as possible.

  • Put It In The Best Possible Spot:

The best placement for a standalone router is in a central, open area of your home, but you should keep all routers and satellites as far away from walls and other obstacles as possible (especially metal ones). Don’t bury them in the depths of your desk, hide them behind your screen, or push them to the farthest corner of your room.

  • Upgrade The System Software:

You may upgrade the firmware on your router to make it more efficient, add new capabilities, and (most importantly) address security flaws. Checking for and installing firmware updates can be done automatically by many new routers, but if yours isn’t among them, you need to refer to the manual to learn how to do so. If it’s been more than a year or two since your router’s firmware was updated, you might want to think about getting a new one.

  • Adjust The Factory Settings:

This includes the WPA2 or WPA3 passkey used to add devices to the network, as well as the administrator password used to make configuration changes and update the router’s firmware. You should change both of the default passwords that are written on a sticker on the bottom of the router to protect your network against unauthorized access and alterations.

  • The Router And Modem Must Be Rebooted:

Switch off or disconnect your router, wait 10 seconds, and then turn it on again if it keeps dropping connections or can’t connect to the Internet at all (do the same with your modem, if you have a separate one). It’s perfectly normal to have to do this occasionally, but if you’re doing it every day, it could be time to get a new router or modem.

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If you have a cable package that also includes landline phone service, you may be an exception to this rule. Telephony, or eMTA, modems are more expensive and less generally compatible than standard modems; also, your Internet service provider probably won’t let you use your own.
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