When setting up a home computer network, one that can easily access the Internet, people often make the mistake of assuming the wireless router and modem are interchangeable parts that both accomplish the exact same task. In order to properly set up your small computer network, it is important to understand the differences between a wireless router and modem.
While the router and the modem work in tandem with one another, one is not able to function without the other. Unless each of these devices has been properly installed, you will not be able to use your small network to connect to the Internet. Each of them has equal importance when it comes to a new network.
The Router Explained
The router is actually wired directly to the modem, which is the most crucial difference between the two. Once the router has been correctly wired to the modem, the modem must then be wired to the coaxial cable or the DSL phone line, depending on which Internet connection you are using.
Coaxial cable is used for a cable connection, while the phone line is used for DSL. There are also satellite Internet connections that can be used. In these instances, the router will need be to be wired to the satellite modem.
The modem and the router each serve completely different purposes. The goal of the modem is to keep your Internet connection established at all times, while also converting the signals that are sent by the router. Without the modem, the network is unable to link to the Internet and stay connected.
The router’s job differs greatly from the job of the modem. When traffic that is destined for the Internet needs to be forwarded to the modem, the router is responsible for doing so. The internal traffic within the network is also regulated by the router. Traffic between computers that exist on the same network or the traffic between a printer and computer on the network is is kept within the network by the router.
The router also keeps track of which computers on the network are making requests to the Internet, by assigning numbers to each of them. When the requests are sent, the router responds to the specific computer that made the request and that computer only. The majority of homes and businesses rely on a wireless router to handle all of their day to day Internet needs.
The Modem Explained
A modem and a wireless router are both part of the same system, but each of them serves a very different function. Your modem makes sure that you can establish an Internet connection and convert signals with ease, while the router is responsible for keeping traffic contained within the network you’ve established and ensuring that requests to the Internet are taken care of in a timely manner.