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Key Differences Between Routers and Modems

You must have come across the term routers and modems. These are network devices which many people think of as the same device. However, these are two distinct devices with different functions. The key differences between modems and routers are provided below:

Basic Function

The basic function of routers is to provide internet connectivity to your devices. Routers connect your devices through ethernet cables or wi-fi connections. Using a router, you can create a local area network (LAN) in your premises and connect multiple devices to it. The router manages all the devices and the information going to them. Modems are devices which provide internet connectivity to your home. It receives signals from your ISP and translates them into signals which can be easily understood by your device for getting internet connection. Each modem has a uniquely assigned public IP address which is used to identify it on the internet.


Security is another key differentiator between modems and routers. Modems are not capable of analyzing the incoming data packets. It is unable to screen the data which it encodes or decodes. This can lead to security issues if the incoming data packet is malicious or spammy in nature. Routers though have the capability of analyzing and rerouting data packets. They can analyze the nature of incoming data packets and can block them if found malicious by using the router firewall. Router firewall comes inbuilt with most routers and need to be enabled during installation to use this feature.

Connectivity Options

The connectivity options provided by modems and routers are different. A modem can only connect one device to the internet. However, routers can connect multiple devices to the internet. They can provide connectivity to multiple devices on a network by either using ethernet cables or wi-fi connection.

Integrated Devices

With technological advancements, there are devices designed now which can act as both modems and routers. These devices are supported by few ISPs. These integrated devices can communicate with the ISP and act as a modem. At the same time, it can create a home network or LAN and act as a router. You can also use VoIP functions through these integrated devices if you have internet, cable, or phone packages. Such devices are very thoughtful and eliminate the need for purchasing two different devices- modem and routers-separately. However, they also have their drawbacks as in case of any malfunctioning, you lose both the modem and router functions.

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