Modem vs Router: How do they differ?

Modem vs Router

Modem and Router both are really important in our daily life. Both devices are used to connect to the internet. Both devices have different functions but many people find it hard to differentiate between modem and router. So, I decided to write an article on Modem vs Router to give you an idea of how Modem and Router differ.

If I tell you in short, a Router makes a local network to connect devices while a modem connects this local network to the internet. Here is a table for knowing a quick difference.

Modem vs Router

Modem connects directly to the InternetRouter connects to the modem
Modem cannot set up a local networkRouter sets up a local network
Modem decodes the signal from an ISP.Router doesn’t decode the signal from an ISP
Has public IP addressAssigns local IP addresses

Now I will explain both the terms in detail.


The router is a networking device that created a network to connect multiple devices. This local network could be a wireless network, wired network or both. The router also contains a port to connect to the modem for serving internet connectivity to connected devices. Without the modem, the router can still make a local network where you can share information between computers but there won’t be any internet connectivity.

Now almost all of the routers come with LAN ports for wired networks and wifi antenna for the wireless network.

The router assigns a local IP address to each device connected to the network. It manages the network traffic. The router also offers firewall or parental control features.


A modem connects your device or local network to ISP for internet connectivity. The router connects to the modem using an Ethernet cable. The term “Modem” is the short form of Modulator-demodulator. In the early days, this device was used to modulate the signals on the telephone and then demodulate at the other end to decode and access. Modern modems don’t work in the same way, but we still call them modems.

Integrated Modem and Router

Now there is a device that combines the outer and modem into a single unit. So, it features the functions of both model and router. These devices are called a gateway. That means the gateway can create a network and get data from ISP to distribute in the network.

The biggest advantage of the gateway is that you will be having just one device, so less clutter in your home or office. But having a different modem and router gives you more flexibility. You can choose the best quality devices you can use as a modem or a router.

Wrap Up

Now you know how modem and router differ. You now know what is the use of a modem and why we use routers. I have also added a few words about the gateway that offers features of both modem and router. While writing this article, I tried to use simple words to make it easy to understand. If you still have anything to ask, you can ask using the comments section.


Deepanker Verma is the founder of Nerdy Guides. He is a tech blogger, software developer, and gadget freak. He also runs TheWPGuides, and Techlomedia

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