Modem Vs Router: A Complete Guide

modem vs router

Modem Vs Router: What is the difference between a modem and a router?

Router vs Modem: As far as I know, these above-listed questions are pretty much common or frequently asked by people.

Let’s get started,

There is a small difference between these two devices, how?

What Does a Modem Do?


Well, what modems do? They allow you to connect to the internet; a modem doesn’t require a router. In another way, a modem can work without a router. It is an independent device. lol

A modem connects to your internet service provider (ISPs) and to make a connection we need an ethernet cable that can be plugged into the back of your modem.

It doesn’t matter which cable provider you use like Comcast, time warner cable, Cox, Direct Tv, etc.

However, there are different types of cables available too including phone line cable or (DSL cable), DOCSIS, FIber, etc. It depends on your ISPs, which kind of connectivity they are providing you.

After connecting to the ISPs, it shares a connection with your router or a computer by using an ethernet cable.

Generally, Modem’s companies make modems according to the internet connection you have.

Suppose, you have a DOCSIS cable connection then you’ll need any DOCSIS approved cable modem, and if you have DSL, then you’ll need a DSL one.

Sometimes, you see your ISPs offer both Cable/Dsl and fiber, So choose a modem according to your internet connection.

If you don’t know which modem should you buy? Then better to make a call to your ISPs and let them tell you which modem is correct you. Also, I have written an article about “best cable Modems to buy” along with the guide.

Note: Now, you know a modem can provide one wired connection only or allows you to connect with a single device.

I know, Now you might have thought that what about wireless devices? How shall go wireless then? Well, the answer is “Router.”

What does a router do?


Then, what Routers do? They allow your wireless devices to connect to wifi. But a router can’t work without Modem; it requires a modem. You can say It is a dependable device.

A router is a small networking device which lets your modem to share a connection with all wireless devices.

Modern routers also have inbuilt ethernet switches that allow you to connect multiple wired devices. Many even come with WI-FI radios for connecting wireless devices.

Next question in your mind would be –

How to Connect a router With a modem?

attach router with modem

Correct? Okay, you can connect your router to a modem via an ethernet cable, then let your router spread that internet connection on the other devices wirelessly over a WI-FI network.

Now, What if you have a device that can perform both functions? Sounds great na? Yes, There are many internet service providers (ISPs) offer a combo device or combined router/modem unit.

Let’s Point out some points which clear out the main difference between a modem and a router?


  1. Modems convert analog signals to digital signals and vice versa.
  2. A modem is a bridge between your internet and your local network.
  3. It connects you to the internet service provider via ethernet cable.
  4. You can attach a modem with only one single device.


  1. It allows your modem to pass internet connection wirelessly or via an ethernet cable.
  2. A router works as an intermediate between the local network and your internet connection.
  3. A router works on digital signals, for that you need a device that can convert analog signals to digital and Modem does this work.

What are Modem/Router Combos?

modem router combo

As it name clears up, it must be a device which has an inbuilt router and can function both as a router and a modem. Consider it an all in one device that looks like standard modems.

This combo devices can be beneficial, but it depends on how you manage your network with it.

It is a better option to have a combo device which usually called cable modem router combos. By the way, there is no name for these types of devices officially.

For Larger homes, there is also a network called “Mesh network.” Let me explain about this Mesh network too.

What Is Mesh Network? How does it work?

mesh network

For a Mesh network, you need at least two units which can perform like a mesh network. Let’s talk about Netgear’s Orbi; It is a two identical units set which company offers to you, with this set you can create a mesh network.

But the question is, how does it work?

Simple, first unit works as a router which includes all features as you get from a separate stand-alone router.

The second unit works like a satellite. But there is no repetition between signals.

We need this mesh device only if we have larger homes. But if you have a small house then there is no use of this network or a mesh device, go with combo or a wireless router.