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Difference between a modem and router; Why you should use a router

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  • 4 min read

Often hear the words modem and router interchangeably and don’t know the exact difference between the two or the fact that they are different entities altogether? Read on to better understand their distinct functionalities.


The word Modem is derived from the combination of Modulator and Demodulator. It is used to connect your device to the internet.

The computer sends out signals in digital format whereas the signals from the internet are analogue. The modem acts as a translator between the two that converts the digital signal to analogue and vice versa to facilitate better communication between the two.

Also read: What is a VPN and 5 other questions answered


A router is used to connect multiple devices to a single internet source or the modem. All the devices connected to the router will share the same IP address with different host IDs. It uses different routing protocols to pass internet to all of the devices.

Modem versus Router

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The main difference between router and modem is that the modem is actually responsible for connecting a single device to the internet from the Internet Service Provider (ISP).

Routers are responsible for connecting multiple devices – laptops, PCs, tabs, mobiles, smart home gadgets — to the internet with the help of the modem acting as a bridge between them. Once multiple devices are connected together using the router, we can also facilitate inter-communication between them via LAN.

Most of the modems that are available in the market today come with a router integrated to it, commonly referred to as ‘Modem Routers’. This is why, many people use the two interchangeably, but in reality, they are completely different entities altogether.

If you aren’t using a ‘modem router’, following might give you an insight into why you should.

Also read: 10 best free VPN Services you can use to surf the internet freely

Why use a router?

Considering how the modem is the actual agent by which we are connected to the internet, you might wonder why the router is used at all! Read on to know the router’s importance in your network.

Secure your network

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When you use the modem to connect your device to the internet, your device is completely vulnerable as it is exposed to the probability of various kinds of attacks. Of course, you can use firewalls and anti-viruses that will better secure the overall communication on the software level, but it isn’t as reliable as the hardware firewall provided by a router.

The router privatises your network by assigning different (private) IP address as opposed to what is assigned by the internet as public IP, thus isolating your system altogether from it.

Also read: What is encryption? 5 types of encryptions explained

Connecting multiple devices at once to the net

The router lets you connect to multiple devices at one time as opposed to the modem where only one device is allowed to connect. Also, the router lets you facilitate communication between each of these devices and share files, images, movies, music over the local network.

The modem can be connected via an Ethernet cable to only one device. But with the router you can connect the devices wirelessly as well, thus making the experience even more user-friendly and hassle-free.

Also, with the advancement in smart home technology, routers will become increasingly necessary in order to provide a seamless intra-connectivity for your smart home.

Also read: 5 reasons why you should avoid using Public WiFi

Featured image by Misha Feshchak

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Parinita Haldar

Parinita Haldar