Modem vs Router

What’s the Difference?

How your modem and router work together


Once the modem is receiving its signal, and the router is set up with all of the devices, an Ethernet cable connecting the modem to the router allows every computer to now get onto the Internet. The router handles all of the information flowing back and forth through the network so the various signals don’t get confused.


There is software on the router that allows some level of security to the network to be applied. Computers outside of the network can’t get in and some devices within the network may be restricted. You can also monitor what devices are connected to the network.


Combination modem/router devices can be purchased that perform both roles in one piece of hardware. The disadvantage is if one part of the device fails, the whole unit may not be operational until the unit is replaced.


Also available is a wireless router. Instead of using Ethernet cables to connect to devices, a wireless signal is used. Devices with a wireless modem can connect to the router. This is a useful feature as more devices are being made that have no Ethernet connection. Tablet computers, eBook readers and smartphones can all connect to a network through a wireless router.