Do You Need a Router If You Have a Modem?

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When you are planning to get an internet connection for your home, you tend to get confused with the terms used in the glossary of internet connection. 

If you don’t want to get carried away, then you need to be aware of the basic terms and definitions used in the setting up of an internet connection. Modem, router, and gateway are some of the commonly used terms when it comes to providing internet connection to a home for a professional setting. 

Do You Need a Router If You Have a Modem

Before thinking of whether a router is required if you have a modem, you need to first understand the differences between modem, router, and gateway. 

Both router and modem are networking gears used to provide an internet connection to your home. 

A modem is a device, which is the abbreviated form of modulator-demodulator. It supplies internet to your household whereas a router is a device that redirects the internet connectivity to different corners of your home. Only, if you have a router do you enjoy quality video streaming and download speed. The experts always advise you to go for a separate router and modem instead of a combined hybrid device. 

Is it possible to use the router without a modem?

A router is a device that only helps in transferring content from one device to another which is connected in a wireless connectivity fashion.

If you want internet connectivity to your home that fetches data from the World Wide Web and transfers data from your home to other parts of the globe via a network connection, then it is very much essential to have a modem with an internet connection provided by an internet service provider. From this, you could see that a router is only a device that speeds up the internet connectivity and redirects the transfer of data, within a specific geographical location, but it doesn’t provide an internet connection as a standalone device. 

Differences between router and modem

If you want to have a clearer picture of would you be needing a router, if you have a modem, it is suggested to understand the differences between router and modem

The two devices are compared in terms of the different parameters they intend to work on.

Key differences

  • The modem modulates the analog signals to translate the digital information. 
  • A router controls the information which is entering and leaving the internet that works inside the premises.
  • The pockets of data being transferred cannot be examined by a modem whereas it can be examined by a router.
Differences between router and modem

Advantages of a modem

There are certain advantages of using a modem. 

  • Modem helps in connecting the modem to the wide-area network. The internet service provider connection can be obtained for a home only by making use of a modem. 
  • The modem is compatible with any kind of internet service provider and not specific to one if not for the modem being provided by those particular service personnel. 
  • Helps in the conversion of the signals obtained from the internet service provider into the ones which could be used by the computer.

Disadvantages of modem

There are certain disadvantages of a modem when compared to the advantages. They are listed below. 

  • Cannot create a local area network. 
  • It doesn’t enable Wi-Fi connectivity
  • It cannot connect various devices to the Internet, only the device, which is connected directly to the modem, can make use of the internet connectivity.
  • The speed of the internet provided by the modem is directly proportional to the cost you pay for it. 

What does a router primarily do? 

A router is one of the most important networking devices which mainly focuses on the distribution of internet connection from the modem to the various devices, which are connected within your network. 

The router helps to connect to the internet and various devices like mobile phones, computers, Smart TVs, wired and wireless devices. One of the most important functions of a router is the distribution of internet traffic to the various device within your network. 

What does a router primarily do

This function is performed by the router by making use of an IP address. When you try to open a particular website on your mobile phone, the same action is not reflected on your smartphone as the IP address is made use of in the transmission and retrieval of data. 

A router helps to create a local network and helps in the management of the settings. 

By making use of a router, the user can enable various security features. Prioritization of traffic to various devices that router also helps the devices to communicate with each other connected in a network. 

For instance, by making use of a router, you could change the settings of the various smart home appliances by installing an application on your mobile phone. 

There are different kinds of routers, but the two commonly used ones are wired and wireless routers. The wired routers should be connected with the various devices using hardline wires. 

The wireless routers commonly known as Wi-Fi routers make use of the inbuilt antennas in the transmission of internet connection to different devices. Almost all routers have various ethernet ports that allow the user to connect to the different devices by making use of an ethernet cable. One can send and receive data from the Internet by making use of this. 

What does a modem primarily do? 

A modem is one of the most important networking devices that receives analog signals from the internet service provider and it translates the analog signals into digital signals, which the various devices connected in your network can interpret. This modulation and demodulation technique allows in the receiving and sending of data over the internet connection. 

What does a modem primarily do

Ever since the internet was put into use, modems were used for modulation and demodulation. Modulation is the process of converting the analog signals, which are provided by the telephone lines. The signals are converted into digital signals which various devices can understand. 

The modem also works in demodulation of the signal from their digital devices into analog signals, so that it could be again sent over the telephone lines. The models have three ports, one to connect to the internet, the second one to connect to a router, third one to connect to a power source. The models used in the past connects to the Internet by making use of the telephone lines, the latest modems use either fiber optic or cable connections. 

Apart from the three ports, there is also an ethernet port for connecting with a router or to another computer. Generally, people don’t buy the modem as it comes with the internet service provider connection you use. The user has to pay a specific amount as a monthly subscription. The modem provided by the internet service provider is much more pocket-friendly when compared to the user purchasing an entire modem for their purpose. 

Modem or router, which is a better option?

When you are comparing modem and router, the modem comes first. The modem acts as the important gateway to the internet connection. It can be connected to the internet by cable, coax, etc. 

A router is only intended to distribute the internet connection from the modem to different devices. To have internet connectivity inside your home or any premises is more than enough if you have a modem. The router cannot provide an internet connection. 

Modem and router combination 

There are devices like a modem that comes with integrated routers, which could perform the functions of both modems and routers. These devices can be purchased from various online sites or even bought for rent from internet service providers. 

The combination devices are generally not suggested. If one significant portion of the device breaks, the entire purpose of the device becomes futile. Also, if you are planning to upgrade your device, then these combination devices do not go according to the will of the user. 

Advantages of using a router

 These are the advantages of using a router. 

  • Helps in the creation of local area network
  • Helps to split the internet connectivity to different devices inside the premises. 
  • Helps in hosting Wi-Fi connectivity
  • Helps to run a firewall protection
  • Helps in the connection to a virtual private network 

Disadvantages of router

The disadvantages of the router are minimal when compared to the advantages. 

  • The router cannot connect directly to the internet connection. It cannot decode the signals received from the internet service provider like the modem.


Essentially, anyone could say that a router is highly essential if you have multiple devices in your home. However, if you don’t intend to use the internet connection from the modem, for other devices, like mobile phones, then a modem connection to the fixed desktop computer would serve the purpose. One could make use of the internet connection from the modem for a laptop by using a LAN cable. If you are a person who is very much focused on transferring pockets of data frequently, then a router is much needed.