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  • Writer's pictureUdit Agarwal

Gaming Router and Modem: What's the Difference?

Most people utilize their home network to access the Internet, but they don’t have any idea how these networks function behind the scenes. Have you ever wondered what the difference between a modem and a router is? To put it simply, a modem connects your home to the Internet, whereas a router creates the network within your home.

What is the difference between a modem and a router?

Characteristics of a Router

  • Brings Internet connectivity to your devices

  • Assigns local IP addresses

  • Creates a LAN network

  • Brings the Modem's WAN connection to each device through the LAN network

Characteristics of a Modem

  • Modulates and Demodulates WAN signals from your ISP

  • A Modem brings the internet to your home

  • It connects your LAN (internal) network to the WAN (external) network

A modem is a device that connects your home, usually with a coaxial cable connection, to your Internet service provider (ISP). The modem captures signals from your ISP and converts them into signals for your local devices and vice versa. The connection between your home and the Internet is known as a wide area network (WAN). Each modem has an allocated public IP address that identifies it on the Internet.

Routers bring the Internet connection to your devices

The router connects to your modem and then to your devices (like laptops, smart TVs, printers, etc.) via either an Ethernet cable or a wireless WiFi signal. The router builds a local area network (LAN) within your home, sanctioning your devices to share files and network accessories like printers. The router manages all the information going to and from each device and makes sure it all ends up safely in the right place.

Your Router's core functionalities:

  • Assigns a local IP address to every device on the network

  • Creates a firewall to safeguard from security breaches

  • Manages the traffic on your network

  • Handles any Parental Controls

What should I choose - a router or a modem?

The modem is your network’s translator, while the router is more like an air-traffic controller, interacting with the 'airplanes' or packets of network data, keeping order, and making sure everyone is safe.

Routers and modems are two separate devices that work in combination to make your home network. However, technology has progressed, and you don't need separate devices for modem and router functionality. New combination modem-router units merge the two devices’ functions into one powerful gadget. These multi-functional machines provide all the access to read your emails, stream your shows, and connect with your smart home devices.

There are numerous modem-routers available. Here's a list of some great routers with modem functionalities that we recommend for gamers and household users that use a lot of streaming with multiple simultaneous devices at reasonable prices. You can also consider WiFi 6 mesh networks for high speed networks and reliable coverage across your home.

If you are looking for a good dedicated modem anyway, we recommend the Motorola MB8611 because it offers gigabit speeds and works with leading internet service providers while also being compatible with most standard routers in the market. The TP-Link AX1800 is a great router that goes with this modem and covers most household needs with a WiFi 6 network.

Although these combination units are crafted with advanced technology, they’re very easy to use. They make it easy to set up your home network and keep it running reliably and safely. So, while you may need the power of both a modem and a router for all your Internet usage, it may not require two separate devices on your desk. If you're ever in a dilemma choosing between the two, talk to your Internet service provider about your options for the optimum home network connection.

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