The Differences Between a Modem and a Router in Home WiFi
What's the Difference Between a Router and a Modem?
Setting your home's Wifi starts with understanding the difference between a modem and a router.
A modem converts the signal coming into your house to a hard line data connection (so you can use an Ethernet cord to connect to the Internet). Then a router will convert that hard line connection to 2.4 GHz or 4.8 GHz Wifi connection.
Learn more about each device so you can set up the best Wifi network for your home.
Modems work by taking the cable or phone line and converting it into an Internet connection.
Modems connect to the wall cable outlet with a coax cable. These are the cords that have an outside casing that screws into the wall. In addition to the data connection it will need to be plugging in to a normal wall outlet for power.
The outputs are Ethernet ports on the back. Ethernet cables carry data from one port to another, are often yellow and have the distinctive plastic clip that clicks into place when inserted.
If you're using a router you will connect one of those Ethernet ports to it. Read on about what routers do and how to set them up in the next section.
The remaining ports can be used for any wired Internet connection. Wired connections are hard lines that running directly to computers, laptops or gaming consoles. This connection will be faster than connecting over Wifi.
How to Pick A Modem
They will cost about $20-30 for the cheapest but can cost over $100 for the highest speeds.
You'll want to select a model that can handle the top speeds in your Internet plan. There's no need to pay any more to get a device that handles speed beyond what you will receive.
Once your modem is set up, the router will take the Internet connection and broadcast it as Wifi. That means your mobile devices that don't have a wired connection like cell phones and laptops can connect to the internet.
Set up your router with an Ethernet cord to the back of your modem. It will also need to be plugged into the wall for power. Once the device is on and connected to your service provider you should be able to connect your devices to the Wifi.
Choosing a Router
Expect to pay $20 for the cheapest versions and up to $100 for a top of the line brand.
Modern routers output at both 2.4 GHz and 4.8 GHz. Most devices made after 2015 will use the slightly faster 4.8 GHz frequency. But if you have an older device with a wireless enabled you may need to make sure the router you're purchasing will output at 2.4 GHz.
If you have a large house try to position your router as close to the center as possible. You may need a more powerful version or multiple repeaters if you want stronger signals at the edges of the house.
What About A Modem/Router Combo?
You might be interested in a combination router and modem for your home network. This can definitely save on cost because you’re only buying one device.
Sometimes it’s still better to buy them individually. This is the case if you already have one and just need the other or you will want to upgrade one. For example, modems are all pretty standard but a high quality router can make a big difference for faster and further-reaching connections.
Also, it can be beneficial to have separate devices because then troubleshooting is a little easier. You can inspect and test each device individually instead of having no insight into what the combination box is doing.
Do I Need a Modem or Router for Xfinity?
As with any Internet service you will need at least a modem to access it. Xfinity rents out modems for the duration of your service but it’s usually much cheaper to buy one yourself. It will pay for itself in 3-6 months compared to renting from them.
© 2019 Katy Medium