Date: 30 July 21, 06:29 AM
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 Modem vs. Router


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A modem establishes and maintains the internet connection from the Internet Service Provider (ISP). A modem connects a single computer (or device) to the internet. Think of the modem as the middleman that allows your computer to interact with the internet. Users on DSL will require a DSL modem. Users on cable will require a cable modem.


A router creates a network in the home and allows multiple devices (computers, laptops, TV's, tablets, etc.) to access the internet connection from the modem. Routers manage traffic by assigning a unique identifier to each piece of hardware within its network. A router also allows computers within the network to share printers and files. In effect, the router is the middleman that allows devices to communicate with each other, and with the modem.

The router shares the internet connection by plugging the modem's Ethernet cable into the router's internet data port, instead of to the computer. Computers and other devices then connect to the router either via Ethernet cable (wired) or via wireless. Most consumer routers allow for 4 each Ethernet cable connections and multiple wireless connections.

For example, you would need a router to share your internet connection with your TV. You establish a connection from your TV to your router either via Ethernet cable (LAN) or via wireless (WiFi). You can then surf the net on your computer while someone else watches Netflix on a television in another room. Just be aware that simultaneous connections to your internet connection is equivalent to multiple people taking a shower at the same time. A low-end internet connection is equivalent to low water pressure.

Modems and routers are not interchangeable. In other words, you cannot replace your modem with a router and expect a connection. However, modem/router combinations are available, normally from the ISP.

Not all ISP's require a modem, such as in my case. My setup does not require or support a modem. My ISP uses a fixed wireless signal that is converted at the dish-like antenna outside my home. The Ethernet cable that comes into my household plugs directly into a single computer, or to a router. I choose to use a router to share the signal within my home.

If you add a wireless router in your home, make sure you use a good, solid password and NEVER share your connection with your neighbors. I cannot stress this enough. Automatically assume that your neighbor will download kiddy porn and that you'll be arrested with him. Sharing an internet connection with neighbors is moronic beyond words. Doing so places you at a high risk for both civil and criminal prosecution.