You need not be, especially if you are a resident of Vipul Gardens, DN Oxypark or Northern Heights in Bhubaneswar, where most people are quite net-savvy. Nevertheless, this blog post will help you clear any misconception that you may harbor about these two terminologies.
To begin with, your Router generates a network among the computers in your home, while your Modem hooks up that network – and so the computer on it – to the internet. When you would be connecting to Wi-Fi, you would actually be connecting to your Router, which would be forwarding traffic between the Internet and your PC/Laptop/Tablet or any other type of computer that you may be possessing.. There are several ISPs in Bhubaneswar that offer ‘combined modem/router units’ for their customers that perform both these functions in the form of a single device.
But this should not digress your attention as regards both the units, because once you can fully perceive the functions of them you may acquire your own modem, which in turn will effect a deduction of charges levied by your ISP. However, let us now go to the basics.
What Does a Router Do?
As the name suggests, a Router connects several networks, while routing network traffic among them. As regards your home network, the Router maintains one connection with the Internet and one connection with your private local network. Additionally, Routers are provided with in-built switches that allow users to connect multiple wired devices. Some again contain wireless radios that let users connect Wi-Fi devices.
Simply speaking, the Router connects devices within a network by way of forwarding data packets among them. The data may be forwarded between devices, as also from devices to the Internet. The Router achieves this by conveying a local IP address to each of the devices on the network, thus ensuring that the data packets reach the right destination, instead of getting lost within the network.
Also, you may consider this data as a courier package that needs a delivery destination, so that it will end up at the right recipient. Alongside, you may think of your local computer network as a suburban road—just knowing this location within the World Wide Web may not be so adequate.
A Router Functions Differently as Compared to a Modem
Even though contemporary modems feature built-in router, their functions differ substantially. While you need your modem to connect to the Internet (through your ISP), you need the router to connect multiple devices in a network (that includes your modem). In other words, the Router permits your modem and multiple devices to transfer data from one location to another, where the modem works as a channel that propels data to/from the Internet.
Incidentally, you need a modem on account of different forms of signals used by computers as against those for the Internet. While computers and mobile device use digital signal, Internet works on analog signal. Your modem converts these signals to appropriate format. This is precisely how the device gets its name from: a modem is a Modulator as well as a DEModulator. In any case, you will get a modem from your ISP whenever signing for an Internet Package.
Previously, modems were used to modulate the signals on telephone lines so that digital information could be encoded and transmitted over them and then demodulated—and decoded—on the other end. Though more modern broadband connections—like cable and satellite—do not actually work the same way, people kept using the term “modem” because it’s a device people were already familiar with and associated with connecting to the Internet.