A Quick Guide On Difference Between Modem and Router

A Quick Guide On Difference Between Modem and Router

Internet of Things

The entire world is using the Internet more than ever for online streaming, doing jobs, studying, playing games, etc. With that said terms like Modem and Router become very common. But only a few of us understand what they are and how they are different. In this tutorial, we will explain the difference between the Modem and Router.

In short, a modem is a translator between the public Internet and a computer network. It connects the computer to the Internet while the router connects a network between the computers in your home. This means when you use Wi-Fi, you’re using a router that forwards traffic between the Internet and your company. 

Comparison Chart Modem VS Router

Specifications Modem Router
Meaning A modem is short for modulator-demodulator; it allows connecting to the Internet. This means it modulates transmissions over telephone lines to receive and transmit data.  A router connects multiple networks. It serves two primary functions creating and maintaining local area networks & managing data transmitted and received data. In short, it routes data between home computers, between computers and the modem.
Work A modem converts data (0 s and 1 s) computer’s digital signals into analog signals of telephone line and vice-versa.  Router examines the data packet and determines the path allowing it to reach the destination computer.
Purpose Modem fetches requested information from the Internet to your network. Router distributes the requested information to your system.
Internet Modem is required to access the Internet as it connects the computer to ISP. The Internet can be used without using a router.
Layer Modem operates on a Data link layer. Router operates at the Physical Layer, Data Link Layer, Network Layer.
Security Modem does not examine data packets; hence, data is at risk. Router checks every data packet before forwarding; this helps stay safe from threats.
Placed A modem is placed between a telephone line and a router or directly to the computer. A router is placed between a modem and a computer network.
Registered Jack The modem connects to a router using RJ45 and to the telephone line using RJ11. The router connects to the computer network via RJ45.
Ports Minimum of two ports one for ISP and others to connect the router 2/4/5/8
Data Transmission form Packet Packet
Type of device Inter working Networking
Connections Can connect to one PC using Ethernet port Can connect to networking devices or multiple PC via Wi-Fi or Ethernet


What Does a Modem Do?

modem do

Modem a short form for modulator-demodulator works as a bridge between the local networks and the Internet. It provides access to the Internet and is used to modulate signals on telephone lines so that digital information can be encoded and transmitted over them and then demodulated and decoded to the other end. The modem connects to your ISP that characteristically provides DSL internet or cable service. 

The modem is used to connect both a single computer and entire home network to the Internet Service Provider (ISP) such as Comcast etc. 

To connect to a single computer, you don’t need a router. Modems have Ethernet ports; this means a computer can directly attack a modem’s ethernet port via Ethernet cable and go online. 

Also Read: How To Fix Laptop Keeps Disconnecting From Wi-fi

Types of Modem

Dial-up Modem – uses an analog telephone line to connect two devices by offering an interface between the digital system and an analog system. A dial-up modem modulates binary data into carrier signals of the phone line. 

Cable Modem – these modems have coaxial connections that you can find on a cable box or TV.

DSL Modem – these have telephone connectors known as RJ-11 jack. 

Mobile broadband Modems – popularly known as wireless modems are in-built in PC or a laptop and they use mobile phone lines like Wi-Max, GRPS, etc. In addition to this adding them inside USB ports is easy for internet access. 

Half Duplex Modem – allows sending signals in a single direction at a time. 

Full Duplex Modem – as the name explains transmits signals in both directions and consists of two carriers on the line.

Four Wire Modem – this type modem uses separate pair of wires for incoming and outgoing. 

Two-Wire Modem – for both incoming and outgoing uses a single pair of wires. 

Benefits of Modem

  • The modem can work without a router
  • Protects against overload problem
  • Perform line signal and control

What Does a Router Do?

router do

Router is a small device that connects multiple networks and distributed network traffic between them. It is physically connected to the modem allowing connected devices to connect to the Internet via modem and connect. 

In the case of a home, the router has one connection to the Internet & one connection to a private local network. In addition to this, different routers contain a built-in switch to connect multiple wired devices. Many also include wireless radios that let you connect Wi-Fi devices. 

Types of Router

  • Wireless Router – joins different wireless access point and numerous wired LAN switches. 
  • Modem Router – assists in connecting more than one computer with a single DSL line and it offers Network Address Translation (NAT).
  • Bridge Router – as the explains it works both as a bridge and router allowing interface with ATM (Asynchronous Transfer Mode)
  • Distribution Router – gathers traffic from several access routers, administering quality of service across WAN. 
  • Core Router – as the name explains it is designed to function in the internet core.

Benefits of Router

  • Protects your device from being exposed to the Internet 
  • Keeps track of what traffic goes to which device on your network
  • Forms a local area network (LAN)
  • Allows connecting different media/devices

Advantages and Disadvantages Modem and Router

Connects to an ISP
Compatible with ISP
Converts signal from ISP to universal that a computer can use
Helpful in connecting LAN with the Internet 
Speed depends on the cost
Widely uses data communication roadway
Unable to create a local network
Doesn’t support Wi-Fi
Unable to connect multiple devices to the Internet 
Slower in speed when equated with the hub
Offers reliable and steady connection between network hosts
Runs a Firewall
Uses alternative parts if the main parts fail during data transfer


Creates LAN
Splits internet connection to various devices
Hosts Wi-Fi
Delivers data packets in an organized way, to lower data load
Offers reliable and steady connection between network hosts
Runs a Firewall
Uses alternative parts if the main parts fail during data transfer
Connects a VPN
Can’t connect directly to the Internet
Unable to decode ISP signal
Connection slows down when multiple computers are connected to a network. 

Modem VS Routermodem vs router

Features Modem  Router
Cellular Connectivity Yes No
Wired broadband connectivity such as DSL, ADSL, cable, optical link Yes No
Layer 3 (IP) and above (TCP), DNS No Yes
Physical layer (layer-1 of OSI) and Mac layer (layer-2 of OSI) Yes No
IP server connectivity No Yes
Decodes signal from ISP Yes No
Creates and managed WI FI No Yes
Connects directly to the Internet  Yes No
 Connects multiple networks No Yes
Analyses packet to detect threats to your computer network No Yes

By far we’ve understood what a modem and a router is, its benefits, pros, and cons, and the key differences is. To sum up, we can say modem modulates analog signals, while routers are networking devices that manage that both receive and send data inside and outside the network. The modem operates on the Datalink layer, while Router can function at all three layers: Data Link Layer, Physical Layer & Network Layer.

Both modem and router work hand in hand formers collects demanded information while the latter distributes it. The modem does not offer data packet checking, while router implements a firewall and check data & to stay protected from threats. 

We hope you have understood the difference between modem and router and how it helps stay connected. Do share your comments in the box below.

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