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The difference between a modem and a router

Although a modem and a router look like similar devices, each functions differently. A modem is not the same as a router, and if you need a reliable Internet connection, it's good to know the differences between these devices. In this article, we will clarify how a modem and a router differ from each other.

What is a modem?

A modem serves as a connection between the Internet and the computer. It is responsible for translating or converting signals, it modulates and demodulates the internet signal. It converts the digital signal from the computer into an analogue one, which travels through a cable connection and on the other side it converts it back into a digital signal, i.e. ones and zeros.

The modem connects to any type of infrastructure - cable, telephone, satellite or fibre.

A wireless modem allows you to connect to the Internet wirelessly, without the need for cables. This type of modem is also often called a WiFi modem.

A cable modem allows you to connect to the Internet via a cable.

Combined with other devices such as routers, modems can create an overall functioning and connected network that allows us to communicate and access the Internet.

What is a router?

A router is a device that connects multiple networks and it directs the network traffic between them. It is located between the Internet connection and the local network.

It allows multiple devices to be connected to the Internet through a single physical connection. The connected devices can communicate with each other using a local network. A router monitors what traffic goes to a specific device on the network and assigns an IP address to each device.

Comparison of what each device does

• A modem is responsible for the signal translation and the router is responsible for the signal broadcast, arrival and security.

• A modem can work independently, while the router relies on the modem to work efficiently.

• A router connects a device to the Internet only when the modem is active.

• A modem connects only one device to the Internet using an Ethernet cable or an USB interface. However, if you need to connect more devices, you must use a router.

• A modem transmits data as it receives it from the Internet without checking it.

• A router is in most cases equipped with firewalls that screen data and examine data packets.

Robustel router

Two in one

Nowadays, we don't have to look for two separate devices, but manufacturers can implement the modem directly into the router.

We will be happy to advise you on choosing a suitable modem or router. Contact us at

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