Differences between Routers and Modems
Man people use the terms router and modem, but what are they? And what are the differences between them? What are their functions?
Modems and routers are considered one of the most important computer accessories especially for internet connectivity. There is no doubt that there are differences between the two devices, but service providers companies are now offering devices that combines the functions of modems and routers together.
It is wrong to presume that modems and routers are devices performing the same tasks as they are two completely separate devices; each with its own functions and tasks. If you use the internet, then you will need a modem and a router, but what are the main functions of these devices?
In the late 1990’s, internet started playing a huge part of our daily life, and companies providing internet tries their best to supply users with the best services, and so modems and routers were created! These devices have improved greatly over the course of the past ten years: since being connected to the internet required connecting the modem inside the computer directly to the landline, and all the way to reaching unique technologies like wireless connection through a sim card.
The modem is a device connecting you to the service provider that supplies you with internet connection. Modems can be divided into two types: the first is the cable model which is connected by cable to the internet service provider. This type is widely used in Europe and America, but is still entering the Arab market (most internet connectivity in the region requires a landline).
The second type of modems is the DSL and this modem connects you to the internet through a landline.
Despite the different types, modems are the devices that connect you to the internet regardless of how the service is provided: cable, landline, satellite, or fiber. The modem receives the signal or service from the internet provider company and converts it to be used on a computer. The modem can be connected to a router to wirelessly distribute the signal.
To summarize, a modem connects you to the internet by converting digital signals to analog signals and vice versa. A Digital signal is the language used in computers, while the analog signals are the ones transmitted through phones to exchange data and information with the computer, the internet, and other computers.
Once you send something from your computer to another one through the internet, the modem converts the data you are sending from digital signals to analog, sends it through the telephone line to the another computer, which its modem converts the signal from analog to digital and sends the information to the computer to be displayed in a comprehensive way, and so on.
Unlike modems, routers are responsible for distributing internet signals received by the modem to more than one device within a certain geographic rage, wirelessly. It can also be used to create a small local network between devices connected to it within the same geographic range the router covers.
So, routers cannot connect devices to the internet through it, but it distributes internet signals from modems to various devices (smartphones, tablets, computers, laptops, smart televisions, etc…) and creates local networks for a small number of devices.
We must point that routers can also link two or more networks together, and it is sometimes referred to as wireless distributors.
Nowadays, service providers are supplying their users with a device that combines the functions of a modem and a router together. You can check a guide we wrote before on how to select a router in our guides section to know the most important specifications you need to check before purchasing a router.
At first, the normal user may not see the difference between a modem and a router. But explaining the functions of each is enough to clarify the main differences between the two devices, which strictly rely on their functions and tasks.
The most important things you need to remember are: modem connects the device to the internet and it converts digital signals to analog and vice versa. A router is a device used to distribute the internet signal coming from the modem to devices connected to it within a certain geographic range, but it does not connect the device to the internet directly. Meaning: internet connection requires a modem and not a router, but distributing internet signals coming from the internet around the house requires a router.
Remember that most new routers have a built in modem, but that is not a certain thing and you need to check the product before making a purchase.
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Be smart before making a purchase.