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Modem vs Router | difference between Modem and Router

This page compares Modem vs Router and mentions difference between Modem and Router. This guide will help one understand comparison between modem and router.


Following are the functions of Modem:
• It provides connectivity with wireless (2G/3G/4G/5G) or wired (optical, coaxial, telephone line) medium.
• It consists of physical layer (i.e. layer-1) which converts information to be transmitted in the form suitable to be carried over the medium as mentioned.
• Moreover it has other features as supported by typical physical layer such as modulation-demodulation, error detection-error correction, encoding-decoding etc.
• It can be used to obtained single internet connection from service provider to home or office premises.


Following are the functions of Router:
• It extends internet connectivity to more than one IP (Internet Protocol) devices after modem brings single broadband connectivity to the home or office premises.
• Router do not have cellular or wired medium connectivity from ISP (Internet Service Provider) of its own. This means router lacks support of physical layer as available in the modem device.
• In order to extend support for multiple devices router houses ethernet (LAN) and wireless LAN (wifi) features/ports. To support ethernet; router will have RJ45 ports. For wifi; router will have RF antenna.

modem vs router

In order to have both cellular connectivity (e.g. 2G/3G/4G) and wifi, products with combination of both modem and router functionalities are available. These devices are known as MiFi routers. These devices on one end connects with cellular wireless networks and on the other end uses wifi links to provide internet connectivity to more than one devices such as laptop, tablet, smartphone etc.

Tabular difference between Modem and Router

Following table mentions similarities and difference between Modem and Router.

Features Modem Router
Cellular connectivity Yes No
Wired broadband connectivity such as DSL, ADSL, cable, optical link Yes No
Layer 3 (IP) and above (TCP), DNS No Yes
Physical layer (layer-1 of OSI) and MAC layer (layer-2 of OSI) Yes No
IP server connectivity No Yes

Conclusion: In order to have internet connectivity as well as its service on multiple devices one need to have device having features of both modem as well as router. Now-a-days all the routers come with modem features. MiFi type of router which supports built in modem functionalities is a ideal choice for the buyer. As mentioned MiFi router has both cellular and wifi/wlan connectivity.

What is difference between or comparison between

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