A lot of people confuse modems with routers and vice versa. Many people who are beginners in this field often ask “what does a router look like?” In this article, you are going to learn what the difference is between modems and routers and get a better understanding of the use of routers.
The most common computer accessories that you will see in many homes and offices are routers and modems. Perhaps, they are also the most important. Many people still do not know what their functions are because they look very similar. Though this is the case, the two are designed for different purposes. Those purposes, features, and functions are easy to understand.
Router vs. Modem – What Does a Router Look Like?
The first thing that you have to remember is this: A modem provides access to the internet while a router allows multiple users to connect to a single network.
Early models of routers have Ethernet ports to support wired connections. But today’s modern routers now support wireless connectivity.
What does a router look like? These routers have at least one antenna on the side or inside the enclosure. However, when you connect the device to a local network or LAN, it does not necessarily mean that you have access to the Internet.
To gain access to the Internet, you must connect the router to a modem. This is the main reason why you need both devices. Thus, a router should have an Ethernet port for connecting it to a DSL modem.
Now, the role of modems is to connect to an ISP or internet service provider, which could be by cable or DSL. They have a coaxial connection that is similar to the connectors used on a TV or cable box. This cable is connected to a cable port that is often found on the wall. A DSL modem comes with a telephone connector or an RJ-11 jack that links to a telephone socket.
When you connect the router to the modem your devices (smartphones, laptops etc.) can access the Internet. Every time a device is connected to a router, they are given a local IP address. But all of them have one external IP address assigned by your service provider.
So, here’s how it works: The ISP provides internet access through the modem. And the modem gives multiple users access to that network provider through a router. Thus, the order of connection looks like this: Internet –> ISP –> Modem –> Router –> portable computer or wireless device.
Why Buy a Router?
A router cannot work without a modem, but a modem can work without a router. So why do you need a router? The number one reason is already implied in its primary function. That is to distribute the internet to multiple devices all at the same time.
If you don’t want to pay for another ISP plan just to get internet access on several computers in the house at once, investing in a router is your best bet.
Another reason why you should buy a router is that it allows you to operate devices wirelessly. It means you are not stuck or limited on a desktop PC. You can watch movies on your tablet anywhere as long as you are within the WiFi range. Lastly, routers also provide a secondary level of security while you are browsing over the web.
Guide to Buying a New Router
The following are the features that you should look for when buying a router.
Dual Band: This refers to the two radio frequencies which are 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. Dual band routers have a better bandwidth so there will be less lag while you are watching or streaming movies.
Coverage: This is also known as range. You want to have a router with a great signal so it has larger coverage, minimizing the dead spots in your area. To know if a router has a great coverage, count the number and check the quality of the antenna.
Gigabit and USB Ports: Your router must have these ports so that the transfer speeds are faster and the internet experience has no lag.
There are also models today that combine a modem and router into one device. This is also worth considering since it makes the process of connecting to the internet more streamlined and simplified.