Is a modem and a router the same thing?
Although both have huge similarities in appearance, routers and modems do not perform the same actions. While the two devices may look similar, they each serve a very different purpose.
A router is a piece of hardware that provides the means for users to join a network, whereas a modem is a device that provides access to the World Wide Web. A router provides Wi-Fi capabilities that allow a network to be established wirelessly and will communicate with the modem in order to obtain a connection to the internet for those connected to the network via their wireless devices.
The modem allows connection to the Internet Service Provider (ISP) and is the first point of contact for internet traffic flowing in your office or home network. Cable modems have a coaxial connection, which connects to a cable port on the wall. DSL modems have a telephone connector, also called an RJ-11 jack, which connects to a socket in the wall designed for landline telephone system.
Wireless routers more often than not feature two (sometimes 3 or 4) moveable antennas on the sides, though some models house the antennas inside the enclosure. Wireless routers make it possible for multiple PCs and other devices, such as smartphones, tablets, and consoles, to join the same network.
This is a vital component of any home set up looking to incorporate multiple users with multiple devices onto a network before they can access the internet. In some final words, routers and modems are usually separate entities that serve different purposes.
There is combo form that exists which features both a modem and a router in just one piece of hardware. These modem router combos take care of both functions allowing for easier configuration. It also means users won’t need to set up two separate devices to communicate with one another.
Do you need to have a modem and a router?
Due to the fact that the modem connects you to the World Wide Web and the router provides you with a means to create a network and the modem provides access to the internet to the router, you need both in order to attain a wireless connection to the internet.
If you have just a modem you can connect to the internet but you will need a wired connection through an ethernet cable. This is fine for some people set up scenarios where there is only one user using just one device like a desktop for example. Keep in mind that in this case, the only possible way to connect is through a cable so you can’t move around your house or even connect a phone.
With both a router and a modem as separate devices tied together, you will own a Wi-Fi network that is able to access the internet. A router/modem combo, on the other hand, will allow for wireless and wired connection and you would have just one device. It will also feature Ethernet ports to allow for wired connections as well as the possibility of having a Wi-Fi network connected to the internet.
You’ll need both a modem and a router if you want to have internet access wirelessly but it is advantageous to have a device that includes both a modem and a router, in other words, a modem router combo. This combination allows for two functions to happen in a single device, the modem part of the device that has access to the internet and the router will is handling the network side of things, linking all the devices over Wi-Fi.
How much is a modem and wireless router?
Modems are provided by internet services providers and too often the subscription that you sign up for with your ISP may actually be offering more data than the modem they give you can handle. Meaning that you won’t use all of your available internet speed. If you have already one such “standard” modem from your ISP and you’re struggling with your internet speed you might consider the following.
You could purchase a modem yourself that is capable of reaching the potential of the data promised in the subscription. A modem features an ethernet port to allow for a wired connection, but you will also need a router device for a Wi-Fi network. On their own modems cost around $30-$50 and a good router around $100.
In order to maximize internet speeds and have a good connection for all of your connected devices, you need a good Wi-Fi router. Not all routers can provide a good stable connection and the fast that can harness the full potential of your ISP’s subscription. A lot of routers use 802.11ac standard, capable of handling fast wireless speeds than other types of router. Having single or dual-band capabilities is another consideration to take into account, 5GHZ connections are on the whole much faster than 2.4 GHz and a lot more reliable.
Dual-band routers are better suited to larger spaces and areas of high-density. The maximum range of the router should also be taken into account based on the size of your home, how many people will be accessing the internet and what kind of activities they will be using it for (gaming, for example, will use a lot more bandwidth than general browsing and checking of email).
Mesh systems can also help cover dead spots in your home which fail to provide an adequate signal, a mesh system an applied infrastructure whose nodes connect directly to as many other nodes as possible to enable cooperation with one another to efficiently route data to and from clients.
For high-end routers fitted with the latest in networking technology, you can expect to be paying between $150 – $200. For more basic routers that are still capable of producing a stable network, you can expect to pay between $50 – $150.
You could also consider a cable modem router, it is a lot easier to set up compared to a modem and a router’s total work and it can also save you some money. By choosing your own device and divide that price in the number of months you have written in your contract with the ISP (Usually 24 months) and compare the monthly fees asked by your ISP for their device, you will soon find out that with your own modem router combo you could be saving some money or in the worst case break even in terms of money but with a much stronger device and faster internet speeds.
How do you set up a modem and router?
If you have two separate devices (modem and a router) they both need to be set up individually and for the best results set up next to each other. To set up a brand new modem you will first need to disconnect the existing cable connection, connect one end of the coaxial cable to one of the splitter outputs and connect the other end to the phone modem. Take note of the MAC address of the device as you more often than not require this to activate the product allowing you to configure settings through the provided web interface.
With your wireless router, you want to place it somewhere that is in the mid-zone of all the fixed devices you want to connect (PC’s, TV’s, Games Consoles) to allow for equal distribution of signal for the best results for everybody. You’ll need to note down the IP address of the modem you are connecting to, normally you’d enter this into a web browser to access the gateway configuration settings screen. Put in the IP address associated with a web browser to load the gateway interface for access the configuration settings menu.
You’ll then need to connect your router to the modem by first switching off the modem and restarting it. You should have been provided with an ethernet cable with your new router which will allow you to connect it to your modem. Once you have done this it is advisable to then change the password on your router.
Default passwords are inherently weak and easy to crack making your network insecure, by changing the password you protect yourself against attacks that will try to get access to your network. You should also update the router’s firmware to make sure you have the latest implementation as this will have fixed bugs in previous versions.
Cable modem routers combos are the easiest set up because it is effectively only one device you are setting up as opposed to two, please see below for instructions on how to set up a modem router combo device.
What is the best modem router combo?
For the best modem router it should have dual-band capabilities allowing for 2.4 GHz and 5Ghz, a device that is able to handle fast upload and download speeds, compatibility with all well-known ISPs is also an advantage because it makes the transition much easier. You will be able to check before purchasing a modem/router combo whether it is compatible with your ISP by checking the list of compatible ISPs.
Integrated smartphone applications, like NETGEAR’s Genie app, will allow for convenient changing of configuration settings and will also allow for access and parental controls to be managed with ease. A router modem combo with multiple antennas is also a plus as it will cover more range and provide a stronger signal in some cases.
A company with good quality technical support is advantageous, especially for those who struggle with new technology. The international telecommunications standard DOCSIS 3.0 is also beneficial for users trying to maximize data transfer. This standard is implemented to provide internet over existing hybrid fiber-coaxial infrastructure.
If you want to find some high-quality modem router combos available on the market right now you should head over to our own list, we provide an in-depth individual review for the best 10 cable modem router combos and provide a comparison table so that you can make your pick a lot easier. All you have to do is click here!
How do you set up a modem router combo?
A modem router combo is easy to set up. First, you will need to connect the coaxial cable to a cable wall outlet, then connect the power adapter that came with the device into the wall until you see the LED light flash up on the device. Test out the wired connection by connecting to the computer using the provided ethernet cable.
The user interface window will appear. From here you can log in, change your password for protection and administer any configuration settings you wish to apply to your device.
Once you have successfully tested and confirmed the connectivity of your computer/laptop to your combo, test out the Wi-Fi capabilities by connecting wirelessly with your phone.