All internet users are aware of the terms modem and router, but a majority of them, especially the non-technical or naïve users are not aware of the difference between modem and router. This is because most of the internet service providers give both of these or a combo of these as a part of the internet package.

Difference between Modem and Router

The basic difference between the two is that modem is used to connect to the internet, whereas a router is used to connect your various devices to the Wi-Fi.

Let’s understand the difference between modem and router in detail.


A model is a medium of connection between the source of your internet right from your internet service provider to your home. It can be through cable network, fibre optics, satellite or a dial-up phone connection. The modem is either connected to a router at your home or directly to the computer. As modems used in each of these different types of services are different, they cannot be used interchangeably. Most of the internet service providers give modems as a part of the internet package.


Once the internet connection reaches your home through a modem, you can connect that modem to your router to create a private network connecting various devices to the Wi-Fi. Connecting to Wi-Fi simply means that you are connected to a local router, which in turn is connected to a modem. The wireless routers are used to stream content which most of the urban consumers watch these days on Netflix, Amazon Prime etc. 

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While it makes sense to take modem from the service provider, in case of a router, it is always advised to buy one. This is because then you can buy the one based on your requirements and with advanced features in case you love to play games. The service provider will also provide you with a basic model which might not suffice your needs.

Combo Devices

Sometimes people prefer to go with a combo device where the modems have integrated routers. Many service providers rent out these combo devices. The combined unit has its own advantages like you need space for only one device. But generally, these are not advised because if one circuit breaks, the whole device becomes useless. Also, if you want to upgrade any one device, it is not possible. However, if you are not very tech-savvy and only need some basic working device, then this combo can be an ideal choice for you. 

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In a nutshell, if you see the major difference between modem and router, a modem is a bridge between your local network and the Internet, whereas a router sits in between your Internet connection and your private local network. You can use any router you want based on your needs and requirements. When it comes to the modem, it has to be approved by the internet service provider to function with their network.


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