What is the difference between a router and a modem?


Although both modems and routers are related to internet, each device offers a separate function with the internet connection. For those unfamiliar with modems and routers, one may not, at a glance, know the difference. Both devices are small, box shaped with holes referred to as ports. Wireless internet networks are more common than not in today’s homes and offices, the below will explain the basic functions of the two devices required to not only have internet connection but also for wireless capability.

A modem is a small box that connects to either a cable outlet or telephone outlet in order to provide an internet connection through your service provider. Modems are therefore the essential device in order to have internet in your home or office. A modem is required to get the internet connection from your service provider, using a cord from the wall jack to your computer will not provide the computer with internet.

A router, on the other hand, is a device used to take the internet that is coming through your modem from for your ISP (internet service provider) and allow you to set up a wireless network. This is done by having the router directly to your modem. By having a router, you enable multiple computers to connect to your internet without being plugged into an outlet.

When you are connecting to internet through plugging in to a wall jack, be it for cable or DSL (telephone) internet, your connection is simply to the service you are being provided. When using a router, you are able to name your network to personalize it. When using a router for your network, you are given the ability to password protect the network which only enables those you provide the password to access to your network. This password should ease the minds those who would be concerned with the security of having a wireless internet network.

Internet connections give the computers on them what is called an IP address. When using a router to allow 2 or more computers or devices connection to the network, each device that is connecting will have its own IP address.

When installing internet, some internet service providers will provide dual devices that are a modem and a router in one. Having both devices in one box, the process of creating a wireless network can be made slightly easier. The dual modem and router are a good option for those who have limited space for extra devices or cables. When the devices are contained in one box, there is no need to have two boxes connected to a power outlet and also to each other by an Ethernet cable.

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