Difference Between Modem and Router

modem router

In the world of the Internet, two terms keep repeating – the modem and the router. Without these two devices, access to the web would be impossible. However, it is quite easy to get confused because their functionality seems to be more or less the same. This is why we decided it would be a good idea to simplify them and help you understand their differences.

In this article, we shall speak about each of them individually, explaining their purpose and importance. Let’s begin.


Modem is short for modulator-demodulator. It is our key to the wider Internet. The ISP usually provides this device while setting up the connection.

  • A modem works to convert analog signal into a digital signal. This process is called modulation.
  • It also decodes the signal. This is called demodulation.


Modems have work to do at the transmitting end as well as the receiving end.

At the transmitting end, they convert the information into analog signals, send dialing signal, and perform line control. They also ensure that there is no overload or related problems. At the receiving end, they demodulate/decode the analog signal, protect against line overload, and control the line signaling.


There are multiple different types of modems on the market today. Let’s take a look at the most common ones:

  • Dial-up modem: These modems connect digital systems and analog systems such as a telephone line and a computer.
  • Cable modem: They carry TV and radio signals.
  • DSL modem: These modems are more reliable than dial-up modems because they work on higher frequencies. They also cover more distance.
  • Mobile broadband modem: GPRS, UMTS, etc. come under this category. These modems use these lines to access the Internet. Today, they are built-in, which is why you don’t need to buy an extra modem for your phone or laptop.


  • Very important for data communication
  • They connect LAN with the wider Internet
  • They are affordable in that their price depends on the speed you are looking for


Routers are more familiar to you, we are positive. These are devices that create a local network, enabling you to connect multiple devices to the Internet. They act as a medium between your electronic devices and the modem. Most routers today also have switches that let you connect wired devices.


With the help of a router, you can create a LAN or local area network and then get access to the Internet. But, that’s not all. Here are a few more functions of this neat device:

  • You can create a firewall
  • You can connect multiple devices with each other
  • You can split the Internet
  • You can also connect to a VPN


Just like the modem, there are quite a few types of routers. We shall speak about the common ones here:

  • Wireless router: This router has a wireless access point and multiple switches for wired devices.
  • Bridge router: This has dual functions. It works as a router as well as a bridge. You can use it with an asynchronous transfer mode network.
  • Modem router: Modem routers can connect multiple computers with a DSL. They work on network address translation.


  • It helps you access the Internet seamlessly using various devices
  • You can access a stable connection
  • It has alternate parts that come into action to provide Internet when the main part fails


While modem and router are devices that help us connect to the Internet, they play very specific and different roles. Thus, they cannot be used interchangeably.

We hope you now have a fair idea about these two man-made marvels. If you have any further doubts or questions, please leave a comment.

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