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What's the Difference Between a Modem and a Router? Do You Need Both?

Do you ever feel like technology is speaking a different language? It can be really confusing, especially regarding modems and routers. What's the difference between a modem and a router? Do you need both? Don't worry; we're here to help! This article will define the differences between a modem and a router and explain what each one does. We'll also give you some tips on choosing the best modem or router for your needs.

Moedm and router

1.What Is a Modem and What Does it Do?

A modem is a piece of equipment that connects the Internet to your home network. It receives information through cable or telephone lines and then sends it to your computer via an Ethernet cable. The difference between a modem and a router is that while modems transmit data over phone lines, wireless routers distribute data within local area networks(LANs). If you have no modem, there is no way to access the Internet.

A modem router can also refer to any device that converts analog signals into a digital format, such as an AM radio or television broadcast signal. Modems are commonly used in homes and businesses alike. While they may seem like one-trick ponies on their own, modems are an essential part of the internet connection process.

Modem work

The modem has an automatically assigned public IP address that is used to identify it on the Internet. Most modems have only three ports, one connected to the Internet, one connected to the wireless router, and one connected to the power supply. Older modems connect to the Internet via telephone lines, while newer modems use a cable or fiber-optic connection. Modem Pros and cons: The modem will also have at least one Ethernet port to connect to a wireless router or computer.


  • Can Connects to an ISP (Internet Service Provider).
  • Compatible specifically with the ISP (Internet Service Provider).
  • Converts the signal from the ISP (Internet Service Provider) to a universal one that a computer can use.



  • Can't create a local network.
  • Doesn't run the wireless network.
  • Doesn't connect multiple devices to the Internet.
  • Only support cable internet

2.What Is a Router and What Does it Do?

A router is a piece of internet equipment that helps connect multiple devices to a single network. It can be used in both home, and office settings and usually comes with several Ethernet ports for wired connections. If you want to connect to Wi-Fi, you need to have a router. Routers allow you to share files, printers, and Internet access between all of your connected devices. They also help protect your WiFi network from unauthorized access by creating firewalls.

The main function of a router is to connect wireless devices and distribute your internet traffic. The router creates a local area network (LAN) within your house, allowing your devices to share files and peripherals like printers. It connects your modem and computer by creating a local area network (LAN).


In other words, it allows computers in the same house or office building to communicate with one another over an Internet connection. A router receives data from the modem and distributes it to connected devices like computers, printers, smart TVs, and Receives information through cable or telephone lines.

Router Pros and cons:


  • Shares files, printers, and Internet access between devices.
  • Creates firewalls for security protection.
  • Provide Wi-Fi connection


  • Can't connect to an ISP.
  • Only works with Ethernet cables.

3.How are Modems and Routers Different?

The main difference between a modem and a router is that routers distribute data within local area networks (LANs), while modems transmit data over phone lines. Modems are also essential for translating analog signals into digital formats, while routers help connect multiple devices to the Internet. Finally, routers come with several Ethernet ports for wired connections, while most modems only have one.

router connect to modem

LANs and WANs are the two most dominant and well-known types of area networks, while others have emerged as technology has advanced. A residence typically uses a LAN that connects to the Internet WAN through an Internet Service Provider (ISP) using a broadband modem. the ISP provides the modem with a WAN IP address, and all computers on the home network use the LAN IP address (also called a private IP address).

All computers on the home LAN can communicate directly with each other, but must pass through a central network gateway, usually a broadband router, to reach the ISP and other locations.

A router is a necessary device for you to use your wireless connection. The modem can provide a WiFi connection. It only needs to ensure that it can connect to the Internet. A good router should support a large number of devices without slowing down the network. 

Traditionally limited routers have a limited signal range and connect relatively few devices. If you have a larger home or need to connect more mobile devices and smart home devices, a mesh router is a more suitable router device.

4.Do You Need Both, or Can You Just Have One?

In the days before smartphones were commonplace, most people only needed a modem because many families had only one computer that needed to be connected to the Internet.

router and moedem

In today's Internet era, more and more intelligent devices and mobile devices are owned by each family; a router is essential. However, you can't access the Internet with a router alone. The router needs to be connected to a modem to distribute the Internet connection to your devices.

If you want to use WiFi or connect multiple devices, you need both a modem and a router. Most modems only have one LAN Ethernet port. Therefore, you can only connect to one computer at a time. It won't provide the security that a router does.

5.How to Set Up a Modem and Router for Your Home Network

If you want to set up your modem and router yourself, you can follow the steps below:

To connect a modem and router to your computer using an Ethernet cable, you need the following items.

  • Modem
  • Router
  • Two Ethernet cables
  • Coaxial cable
  • Modem and router power cords

Once you have prepared the above items, you can follow these steps to complete the modulator connection.

Set up router

  1. Connect one end of the coaxial cable to the wall cable outlet and connect the other to the modem.
  2. Connect the modem power cable to the power outlet, then connect the other end to the modem.
  3. Connect one end of an Ethernet cable to the back of the modem, and then connect the other end to the router's wide area network (WAN) port.
  4. Connect the router's power cable to a power outlet, then connect the other end to the router.
  5. Connect the second Ethernet cable to port 1 of the router and then connect the other end to the back of the computer.
  6. Check the modem and router lights to ensure they have power and are connected to the network and your computer.

6. Choose The Best Router For Your Home Network

A modem is just a network device that connects to your ISP, but it is your router that interacts with your network daily, as it is essential to pick the right one.

You can check "Boost Your WiFi Speed" to fix your network when you have issues with your network. For example, suppose your home internet connection has a blind spot in the network signal. In that case, the Internet speed drops due to too many Internet devices, or the Wi-Fi signal is often lacking, you need to upgrade your router to a mesh network.

mesh router

A mesh network is a type of LAN that uses more than one router to extend your Wi-Fi beyond traditional bounds. Meshforce M7 Tri-band Gigabit Mesh Routers, Have excellent Seamless High Performance, up to 7+ Rooms and 75+ Devices. In the Internet age, this is one of the handy devices to make your home network a reality.