What is the Difference Between Modem and Router?

Difference Between Modem And Router


You need to be looking for some information related to modem and router, the difference between modem and router and much more information related to these topics. No doubt you will get all that here.

Some of the points discussed in this article are:

  • Modem
  • For what purpose it is used for.
  • Router and its functions
  • Modem router combo
  • Modem vs. router
  • Default gateway

What is a Modem and How Does it Work?

what does a modem do

  • It is a device that is used in the modulation of a digital signal for transmission and then it demodulates the transmission signal again at the receiving end so that the information is decoded.
  • It is referred to as input and output device because it does both, i.e., sends and receives information.
  • The amount of data each of them transmit vary from one another. It is measured mostly in bits per second. Some of them also measure the data in baud. Baud is the number of signals per second.

Use of Modem:

It is used because the signals received from telephone and cable lines are analogue and as we know computer operates digital signals, so it converts those analogue signal into digital ones that are understandable by the computer.

They are classified as dial-up, cable and DSL.

Cable Modem:

cable modem

It uses cable for establishing a connection. The cable is a coaxial cable.

DSL Modem:

It builds a connection with an external one. It allows you go online even when you are using the telephone.

Dial-Up Modem:

It works quite slowly. You won’t be able to use Internet and phone at a time with it.


It is measured mostly in bps or kbps (kilobyte per second). A 50 kbps – 60 kbps is considered as the one with good speed.

What Does the Modem do and How it Functions?

Its role can be seen from its name, i.e, modulation-demodulation. It is meant for connecting internet users.

It modulates the signal in the form of a sine wave. Thus the signal travels with ease over telephone lines. Then it comes to a place called IT hub. After that what comes in action is the demodulation of this modulated signal.

This whole process is done with a breakneck speed.

If you want to increase this speed more then you might do it by the process of data compression. It also has auto answer service.

Do You Need a Modem for WiFi?

The answer is definitely yes. You will need it because it establishes a connection to internet called WAN (wide area network).

Network Router Definition:

modem versus router

It is an electronic device that connects devices. It is located at a place where 2 or more systems are in connection with each other. In some case, it can be software on a device.

What Does a Router do?

What Does a Router do

As told earlier their purpose is to connect 2 or more devices.

It receives information via modem and then transfers it to you. In this process, it tries it’s best to choose the shortest possible path for the purpose so that you may get the information quickly.

Not much data filtering is done in this process. Thus it also decides which information to send and where to send.

It maintains a directory of routes available for forwarding a packet of data. It uses some algorithm in the completion of this process. The packet doesn’t reach directly at the desired portion; it passes through some network layers.

There are many types of them. Wireless one is discussed here in this article.

 Wireless Router Definition:

It works in creating a connection with the modem for the purpose of making a wireless signal in your house so that other wireless devices may connect to your network.

It also plays its role in providing a private network connection. It works for both wired and wireless connection.

There are some security issues with this one. For this purpose you should do the settings from the configuration menu.

Do I Need a Router?

Its use is not mandatory for establishing an online connection because you can create an internet connection of a single PC without it quite easily.

What is My IP Address for my Router?

There are 2 IP addresses associated with it. One for wireless connection and the other for wired ones.

Using the ipconfig command, you can find it easily. It is default gateway in the connection. You can also find it from the control panel.

Follow these steps to do so:

  1. Open control panel
  2. Under network and the internet go to view system area
  3. From the network and sharing area open your network.
  4. Then go to Ethernet stats and click on details to get detailed information
  5. Here you will find the information you need i.e., IP address that appears as the default gateway.

What Kind of Router do I have?

So you intend to get your router’s info. You can do it from the command prompt.

You just need to open the command prompt and type a simple command ipconfig/all. Thus your desired information will be viewed by you.

What do a Modem and a Router Look Like?

They both are almost identical physically. This is because they both have plugs and are of almost identical size. Both of them have jacks. They both have lights which keep blinking.

By the advent of new technologies, their appearance may also change. Modems are also available in the form of chips.

In some cases, you might see both of them combined in the shape of one device.

Router and Modem Combo:

This refers to a modem that has a built-in router with it, that is wireless. Thus it provides both functions. Although it gives you much benefit let me aware you of the fact that using separate ones will be much more flexible.

One more advice from my side is that always use the best quality device for such purpose.

What is the Difference Between a Modem and a Router?

The two devices although look same but are quite different from each other.

  • First one holds the responsibility of modulation and demodulation of signals so that it becomes easy for digital communication while the other one is responsible for connecting two networks and managing traffic between them.
  • The first one is a part of ISP (internet service provider) while the second one can be thought of a device for your home networks.
  • The first one is needed for establishing a connection while the use of the second one is not mandatory, this is because it is used for creating a connection between 2 or more networks.
  • Although router is not compulsory for establishing a connection, it provides security measures which modem does not.

Modem vs. Router:

The Difference Between a Router with a Modem and without Modem:

Without it, you would be able to connect to LAN. To build an internet connection, you will surely need it.This because a router is used to network two or more computers, so you will surely need a modem.

The Difference between Router and Modem and Switch:

The difference between router and modem has been explained earlier. The function of the switch is that it provides you with the ports.

Default Gateway Definition:

definition of default gateway

It is a node that plays an essential role in forwarding packets to other networks. A device that intends to go online will send the packet to the default gateway. The packet then passes through the layers.

How to Find your Default Gateway?

Having knowledge about it will help you when you need to troubleshoot any internet connection. You can find it easily in network settings.

Follow these steps to find it:

  1. Open control panel
  2. Then go to network and the Internet
  3. Then network and sharing area
  4. From connections, area open the link whose details you want
  5. Click on the detail option to view the detailed information.

You can also find it using the command prompt. For this purpose, you just need to type a simple command ‘ipconfig’

Final Words:

Thus the Modem vs. router debate is interesting. You will get to know much of you go deeper.  Their physical appearance is although identical, but they work differently.

Both of them play a significant role in creating an online connection.

I hope that the difference between modem and router is quite clear to you by now. If you have any more queries, you can leave your questions in comments.