Modem and router difference: What works best

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Written by: Mitch De Guzman

Wondering about the difference between a router and a modem? Before we go into the details, let’s learn some history.

Trivia: On March 29, 1994, the Philippine Network Foundation (PHNet) established the first internet connection in the Philippines, linking the country and its people to Sprint in the United States through a 64 kbit/s link.

We’ve been using the Internet for nearly three decades now, but its importance has never been greater than it is today. Since most (if not all) transactions – work, business, and school – are conducted online, setting up a home network or local network is the wisest move that we can take. While they still exist, computer shops are not as comfortable as home internet, especially for business and school-related activities. Aside, of course, from the health concerns that restrict us from going there. 

But even if things return to normal, the current system will continue to exist because people recognize the convenience of having an internet connection at home.

How to set up a home or local area network

A home or local area network (LAN) allows us to connect several devices like PCs, smartphones, laptops, etc., ideal for today’s processes. While internet service providers offer a complete internet package that includes a telephone line, modem-router, and cables, we have to carefully plan the layout of your network before deciding to install it.

A well-planned design will provide you with the most internet benefits.

Components of local or home network

When we talk about internet connection setup, we often hear terms like modems, routers, switches, wifi, ethernet, etc. Yet, most of us know so little about them unless you’re a tech enthusiast. Since internet service providers often offer internet packages, we never really bother to understand how each hardware functions. What matters is that we get internet access. 

A typical local area network (LAN) consists of three main components: a switch or hub, modem, and router. The modem is the device that connects your internet service provider’s setup (usually via a phone line) to the router, which then connects numerous wired and wireless devices to the modem then to the Internet.

Modem vs Router

Modems and routers are two different pieces of hardware that perform the same functions. Both provide you with an internet connection. However, there’s some overlap in how these devices work, but there are also significant variances. 

Knowing these two types of hardware can help you configure your network setup before setting up your home network and getting an internet service provider. Would you please continue reading to learn more about what distinguishes them?

Router vs Modem

A modem is a device that allows you to access the Internet. It receives broadband signals from an internet service provider (ISP), broadcasts on a coaxial or ethernet cable connection. It’s also called the modulator-demodulator because it transforms digital information from your computer into analog signals. 

On the other hand, a router takes these signals and sends them in different directions using radio waves. Its primary function is to dispatch the data between your home network devices and between those devices and the Internet. 

In simple terms, the modem receives the signal while the router distributes it. 

However, the modem also has a built-in router to connect multiple devices using wired or wireless connections. Typically, internet providers include a single piece of hardware that functions as both a modem and a router, often called a router-modem or modem-router.

The modem-router combination is the most straightforward setup approach for home internet connection, as it allows you to connect multiple devices to a single unit.

The Need for an Ethernet Port

If more than three or four rooms in your house need internet access, you’ll need a modem/router combo and an ethernet port for all those additional wired connections. An ethernet port is similar to a hub but with more advanced management capabilities. Ethernet’s primary purpose is to connect wired network hardware to a local or wide area network.  

On the other hand, a router may contain several ethernet ports to allow many wired devices on a network.

In any case, an ethernet connection provides good overall coverage in a large home or office with multiple rooms needing access to the network. You will find the ethernet connectors on the rear of a computer or the side of a laptop. 

Role of Internet Service Providers (ISP)

While the modem/router combo and ethernet ports (if needed) will allow you to connect all your devices to the Internet, you’ll need an IP address to make it run smoothly. It’s an exclusive series of numbers assigned to you by your ISP for your internet use. In other words, it is the digital address for your router’s interface.

The quickest approach to find your router’s public IP address is to type in “what is my IP?” on a search engine. For other means of finding your IP address, click here.

If you’re still searching for an internet service provider (ISP), check Streamtech. It’s the country’s newest wave of fiber internet.

Connect with Streamtech Fiber Internet

Difference between Cable, DSL & Fiber Optic Internet

Since we are becoming increasingly dependent on the Internet, we should have a reliable and limitless strong connection to ensure a seamless online experience. You might need to upgrade your services depending on our usage. Still, before deciding, it would be best to understand the differences between the three different internet connections.

Both DSL and cable Internet use copper phone lines to transmit data. While they both offer high-speed bandwidth connections, they differ substantially. DSL operates from existing telephone lines. In contrast, cable internet uses the existing coaxial cables that connect to the internet. Broadband providers will explain the process, and give you the essential internet equipment, either a cable modem or DSL modem.

Furthermore, cable internet operates on a shared network, resulting in low performance and lag during peak internet traffic.

On the other hand, fiber optic internet comprises ultra-thin glass strands that carry light rather than electricity. These glass or plastic fiber strands are thinner than a strand of human hair. And since light travels very swiftly over fiber-optic cables, it can attain gigabit rates a hundred times faster than DSL. That gives you a lightning-speed internet connection. Moreover, fiber connections are less distorted than copper wire connections, even on over-extended distances.

wireless network - router vs modem - fiber internet - streamtech
Photo by Marvin Meyer on Unsplash

Wireless Network

Since smartphones and tablets don’t have ethernet support, a wireless or hybrid network is ideal. It’s a mix of wired and wireless internet connections so you can connect all kinds of devices including TV.

To set it up, you’ll need a wireless router that combines a wireless access point, an ethernet switch, a DSL or fiber optic, and a router-modem into a single box. Ideally, the wireless router should be close to the main phone line. If this isn’t possible, you can set it anywhere using telephone extension cables or longer WAN cables. 

Tips to get the best wireless reception:

  • Place the wireless router in an open space where you think it can get signals efficiently. 
  • Make sure there are no obstructions
  • Don’t hide it in cabinets. 
  • Put it away from the microwave and other electronic appliances.

Creating Wi-fi Access

To make the wireless connection work, you should first register to your internet provider’s web browser and create a username and password. Then, set your router’s default configuration parameters to secure your wifi home network. Your internet service provider will provide a manual for this procedure.

You can now have wi-fi access by connecting to the network and entering the password into your device. However, it is crucial to check your security settings to protect you from hackers, because the default router admin information is public.

WAN and LAN Ports

Another thing worth knowing is the difference between these two ports. Wireless routers usually have two. The WAN port connects to a high-speed modem, while LAN connects the computers without a wifi connection. 

Advantages of Fiber Optic Internet

Fiber connections can give you several advantages that enhance your overall internet experience. It connects you to the internet fast and easily at any time of the day, without frequent connection losses or lags.

Here’s an illustration of download speeds from different connections:

  • Dial-up – 11 days
  • DSL 1 – 14 hours
  • Cable 1 minute – 14 hours
  • Fiber – About 1 minute

Furthermore, fiber optics are ideal for any online activity besides business and academic transactions, including:

  • Music and video downloads
  • Streaming television and movies
  • Playing real-time multiplayer games
  • Backing up your data.
  • Sending and receiving massive data at the same time, even in long distances.

The other advantage that you get with using fiber optics is its affordability. Even if it has a very high speed, it is cheaper to use and maintain than other technologies available in the market.

You might have heard that fiber internet slows down with many users. While this can happen, many factors could affect its performance.

Extending your Wireless Home Network

While fiber optic travels fast, you might still need to use wifi extenders, especially if you have several rooms in your house or such a large area. Walls, for one, can obstruct the signal from your router. However, there still are other reasons to consider.

But an excellent solution to this problem is the mesh network. A mesh network is a collection of devices that work together to form a single Wi-Fi network that allows you to have numerous Wi-Fi sources throughout your area rather than relying on a single router. These additional wifi sources are called points, and they share the same SSID and password.

In short, it’s a wireless extender that increases internet connectivity by expanding the range of the wifi signal to every part of the house. Thus, you will be able to enjoy your fast fiber internet connection from everywhere in your area.

Extendifi is a perfect example of this wireless extender. It has all the features you need to meet your internet needs, such as:

  • Robust Parental Control – Manage content and control when each device can access the internet.
  • Assisted Setup – The Deco App helps you quickly find the ideal spot to place each unit.
  • Built-In Antivirus – Protect all connected devices from viruses and malware for three years free.
  • Quality of Service – Prioritize devices and applications for faster performance when needed.
  • Reporting – Review a monthly list of usage, blocked content, and security threats.
  • Security – Safeguard your network with a firewall and wireless encryption.

Thinking about Fiber Optic Broadband?

learn router vs modem through fiber internet of streamtech

We currently live in a world where individuals rely on the internet for almost everything. There is no evading the need for an online connection, whether watching YouTube videos or uploading images of their dog and tagging everyone in them.

While other methods remain available, fiber-optic broadband is now considered a more excellent choice on the market. But before you subscribe to a fiber-optic service, consider how essential speed and dependability are to you. Definitely, fiber-optic is more stable and faster than any other type of broadband available.

Not only is having a slow internet connection a pain, but it’s also a wasted resource. You might be struggling to get your work done or to make payments on time because of it. Fortunately, Streamtech has the solution for you. Its fiber internet is reliable, blazingly faster than the usual ISP, and great for most online applications that require a strong connection.

There are numerous advantages to adopting Streamtech:

  1. Streamtech is a new fiber internet provider in the Philippines that offers uncapped fiber internet. It’s time to quit paying exorbitant cable internet providers for internet speeds you’ll never use. You may check your internet bill to see the difference.
  2. Streamtech has a team of highly skilled individuals with over 15 years of expertise in the telecommunications industry.
  3. They offer a comprehensive range of fiber optic services to meet any budget or requirement.
  4. They give superior customer care and support, better than other networks.

Sign up for Streamtech today to experience the difference for yourself! For additional information, visit their website and social media profiles. You can also speak with their online chat representatives.

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