What Is the Difference Between a Router and a Modem?[ A Complete Comparison]

For an internet user, it is obvious to come across the terms route and modem. As most of the time, these two devices are confused with each other, it is important to know about them. Both devices have a basic difference in network connections. The router connects your system with your home network whereas the modem does this connection with the internet.

While using the WiFi network you can connect with the router which acts as an intermediate interface between your system and the internet. It sends data packets to and fro. You can find several manufacturers who provide a combined device working both as a modem as well as a router. Such a device performs both the functions. Here you can clarify the difference between router and modem with below key points. Go through these major differences to know the device’s purposes.

router vs modem

1. What Does the Device Serve?

Router

The router manages traffic between multiple networks. When you connect your system with the router, the device establishes one connection with your system and another with the internet. Routers having an inbuilt switch helps you connect with the wired devices. You can also connect with the WiFi settings. We can simply conclude that router is the interface between your home network and internet connection.

Modem

The modem is the device that acts as a bridge between the internet connection and your private network. Its main task is to modulate and demodulate. A modem modulates telephone line signals into digital form for encoding and demodulates on the other end.

2. Primary Functions of the Device

Router

The router serves two primary functions which are as follows.

  • Creating a local area network and maintaining it.
  • Managing entry and exit of data packets in the network.

A router helps in handling multiple networks by managing routes for the data packets. It mainly takes care of traffic in the network.

Modem

The modem has two primary functions which are as follows.

  • It modulates signals of the telephone line and converts these signals into digital information.
  • It demodulates digital information back into analog signals.

Modem helps in connecting devices that work on different signals i.e. analog and digital. It does encode and decoding to make communication easier.

If you want to learn more about Where Should a Wi-Fi Router be Placed in a Two-Story House, check out our article.

3. Types of Device

Router

There are five types of routers used widely 

Router TypeRouter Uses
Bridge Router It is also called Brouter which works as a router as well as a bridge in the network. This type of router allows an ATM interface to connect with the network.
Wireless RouterThis type of router connects base stations with the wired switches.
Modem RouterIt is used to connect one DSL line with multiple computers.
Distribution RouterThis router assures service quality for WAN. It routes traffic from multiple routers.
Core Router This router works on the internet backbone.

Modem

There are eight types of modem in the market.

Modem TypeModem Uses
DSL ModemThis type of modem used listed pair cable for signal transmission. It covers more distance than the dialup modems.
Dialup ModemThis modem used the analog signal from the telephone line for connecting it to a personal computer.
Cable ModemThis type of modem is configured for converting signals into compatible forms. It can carry radio and television signals.
Mobile Broadband ModemThis modem used telephone lines like UMTS, GRPS, etc. These modems are built-in with the laptops.
Two-wire ModemIt uses two wires each one for incoming and outgoing of the signals.
Four-wire ModemThis modem has a separate pair of wire for signal transmission.
Half-Duplex ModemHere at a single instant, you can transmit a signal in one direction only.
Full-Duplex ModemYou can use this modem for transmission in both directions.

4. Functions Performed

Router

Functions of the Router

  • Helps in creating Local Area Network.
  • Router splits the internet service to multiple devices.
  • It runs a firewall for network security and safety.
  • It finds the route from source to destination.
  • Helps in connecting the VPN.
  • Forwards the data packets.
  • Filters the packet and switches them to the destination.
  • Ensure that the appropriate packet reaches its destination.

Modem

Functions of modem

  • Converts the signals into compatible form.
  • Perform the line of control.
  • Protects the network from line overload.
  • Send the dialing signals without much interference from the user.

5. Advantages of the Device

Advantages of Router

  1. You can share your network connection with multiple systems using a router. This increases the usability and productivity of the network. 
  2. You can assure a reliable network connection with the router. 
  3. A router helps in the transmission of data packets in the most organized manner. This helps to lower the data load on the network.
  4. Router finds the best router for the data packet. It helps in searching for an alternative path in case of system failure.

Advantages of Modem

  1. This device is useful in connecting a local area network with the internet. 
  2. You can get higher speed by spending more cost. 
  3. Modems are useful in data communication roadways.

6. Disadvantages of the Device

Disadvantages of Router

  1. When you connect multiple systems with a single router, you may experience a slower connection while using the network. It can be referred to as a connection wait issue. 
  2. You can connect multiple computers to the same network using the router. This connection lowers internet speed. 

Disadvantages of Modem

  1. Modems serve slower speeds than the hub. 
  2. The modem works as a mediator between the internet and the local area network. It does not offer traffic maintenance.

Conclusion

You can now understand the functionalities of the router and modem to know the difference between them. With the knowledge of device purpose and their use, it becomes easy to select and buy the appropriate device. You can make the best use of your device with its function knowledge. You can refer to this article and get in-depth knowledge about the difference between the router and the modem.