Difference Between a Modem and a Router

What’s the Difference Between a Modem and a Router?

You may not generally give much thought to the hardware associated with your Internet connection.  That’s the beauty of today’s high-speed, always-on connections: you never have to think about them, just grab your device and get online.  But in case you’ve ever wondered about all those little boxes with flashing lights, here are the basics.

Most broadband connections (cable, DSL, satellite, etc.), use a modem.  The modem connects your computer to your ISP, and from there, to the Internet at large.  A basic modem does nothing more than that, and requires a computer to be plugged into it to use the connection.  More advanced modems may be a modem/router combination, and may offer WiFi as well.  You can find out what kind of modem you have with a simple call to your ISP.  Be aware that some broadband connections, like fixed wireless service, don’t use modems at all.

A router connects to your modem (if you have one) and shares your connection among all the computers and devices in your home.  A wireless router also provides WiFi connectivity for phones, tablets, and laptops.  For most people, multiple devices and WiFi are reason enough to get a router, but it can also add an extra layer of security.  Even if you only have one computer, a router acts as a hardware firewall, which helps protect your computer against viruses, malware, etc., without the vulnerabilities of software firewalls.  If your modem includes a router in it, you already have this protection without the second box.

Modems and routers are necessary parts of modern broadband Internet connections, so it’s good to be familiar with them.  If you’re looking for affordable high speed Internet service in your area, contact us today.