What Is the Difference Between a Modem and a Router?

What’s the difference between a router and a modem? If you’re not sure, don’t worry because they can be a bit confusing. The good news is that the difference between them isn’t too hard to grasp.

The task that each device has is simple, and even if you’re not very tech-savvy, you can still understand it fairly easily.

What Is a Modem?

What a modem does is connect you to your Internet Service Provider. That can be either through a DSL Internet service or a cable. It’s like a bridge between the Internet and your local network.

The way a modem connects to your network will depend on the type of connection you have. For example, the modem can be connected to either fiber, phone, satellite or cable that you might have.

Your modem will have an Ethernet cable output that can be plugged into a router. (That’s the device that gets you online.) You can’t just use any type of modem; you’ll need one that can work with your Internet Service Provider’s framework.

What Is a Router?

A router is a device that connects you to the Internet. It can join multiple networks (usually LAN or WAN) together through a wireless or wired connection and serves as a gateway. When you say that your devices are connected to the WiFi network, you are actually saying that your devices are connected to the router via WiFi connection.


If you have a broadband router, it can also be used as a phone connection. A router forwards data packets and uses forwarding tables and headers, so it can find the best path when forwarding those packets.

Modem and Router in One Single Device

Just because a modem and a router do two different things, it doesn’t mean that you have to have two separate devices. These kinds of modems/routers feature the necessary software and hardware to offer the 2-in-1 feature.

Having this kind of device isn’t always a good idea since it doesn’t give you as much flexibility. Having two separate devices gives you more advantages when it comes to what you can do with your network.


You don’t have to shove your old router into a drawer since you can still connect it to one of the Ethernet ports of the 2-in-1 device. By doing this you get things such as parental control settings, and it also performs better.

This is possible if the router you have is more advanced in comparison to the Router/Modem from your Internet Service Provider.

How a Router and Modem Differ

While a router can connect to various devices, a modem can only connect to one. You can connect a modem to your computer or to a router but not both. When a modem receives information, it will pass it through without filtering it.

The router, on the other hand, features firewalls that will analyze the data packets it gets. A modem can also feature two ports that can be used to connect to your computer and to the Internet, so it can easily be used to get you online without the use of a Router.


When you do your homework on the difference between a router and a modem, you can see how different they are. You can also see that it’s not hard at all to understand how they work. How would you explain the difference between the two? Leave a comment and let us know.

Fabio Buckell

Just a simple guy that can't enough of Technology in general and is always surrounded by at least one Android and iOS device. I'm a Pizza addict as well.


  1. In order for devices on the network to connect to the Internet, the router must be connected to a modem. most routers have a specific Ethernet port that is designed to connect to the Ethernet port of a cable or DSL modem. and for the printer wifi router visit the and get the help.

  2. Once I used modem but nowadays I am using the router. For me, a router is better. BTW nice post.

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