Modem versus Router

(The simple guide for those who aren't tech savvy)

(If you are a techy, go somewhere else. This guide is too simple for you.)

  

"What's the difference between them?"

I'll explain, but don't focus on their appearance right now, understand their purpose first. We'll go over looks in a moment. Let's begin.
modem

modem

The modem is what provides a connection to your Internet Service Provider, or ISP. It grabs that connection and holds on to it, allowing you to access the outside world, also known as the internet. Modems do not provide any type of security or networking, they are not smart. They simply open a door to the internet and allow any device that is connected to the modem to send and receive files through the internet.

Router

router

The router does something different, it is smart. The router creates a network that all of your devices can access to communicate with each other within your home or office. This can be through a wired connection or through a WiFi connection. That network between your devices works with or without the modem. Without the modem, the router can not access the internet. When you connect the router to the modem, it then can give all of your devices access to the internet while still protecting your network.

Modem/Router

modem with built in router

... Wait, there's modems with built in routers?? Yes! There are modem/router combos. They still operate like having both devices would, but you only have to see one box. This is great for people who want to reduce clutter or want to ditch wires as much as possible.

"I'm renting the modem from my Internet Service Provider, do I have to?"

NO!

Ditch that modem rental fee!

Check which devices are supported by your ISP and click the appropriate link below to go purchase one at Amazon. They usually have the best prices for them and the easiest return policy. Just in case!

Again, make sure to check which devices are supported by your ISP

you can do that by clicking on the name of your internet service provider below!

other providers


click below once you've chosen a modem.

I also put a link to routers for you.

"OK!! but how do I install it?"

First, let's understand what we're looking at.


Here's some pictures of the equipment you typically need to make your internet work. Don't worry, all of this is included when you receive a modem. Your materials might look a little bit different, so I'll explain the parts that make each piece of equipment important.

Cables

Coaxial cable

Used for Cable internet service.

Cables

Ethernet cable

Used for both Cable and DSL internet service. (it will be noticeably larger than a phone cable.)

Cables

Phone cable

Used for DSL internet service.

Cable Modem

Cable modem

Notice the cable input on the right side. Also, notice the ethernet output.

DSL Modem

DSL modem

Notice the DSL input on the left side. Also, notice the ethernet output.

Router

Router

Notice that there is no cable or DSL input. There is only an ethernet input. Also, notice the 4 ethernet outputs.

Cable Modem/Router

Cable modem/router

Notice that there is a cable input and that there are 4 ethernet outputs.

DSL Modem/Router

DSL modem/router

Notice that there is a DSL input and that there are 4 ethernet outputs.




Coaxial outlet

Coaxial outlet

Phone outlet

Phone outlet

Power outlet

Power outlet

Phone filter

DSL/Phone filter

Used to filter the phone line between DSL and phone service.

Power cable

Power cable

Used to power the modem, router, or modem/router.

The only real difference between installation of DSL and installation of Cable is that DSL internet uses a phone cable and Cable internet uses a coaxial cable. Be sure to remember that when reading the following steps.

modem & router installation


  1. connect the coaxial or phone cable to the wall

  2. connect the other end of the coaxial or phone cable to the modem

  3. connect the ethernet cable to the modem

  4. connect the other end of the ethernet cable to the router
  5.      (optional* connect another ethernet cable from the router to whatever device you want connected)

  6. plug the power cable in to the modem and in to the wall

  7. plug the other power cable in to the router and in to the wall





modem / router installation


  1. connect the coaxial or phone cable to the wall

  2. connect the other end of the coaxial or phone cable in to the modem
  3.      (optional* connect an ethernet cable from the modem/router in to whatever device you want connected to the internet)

  4. plug the power cable in to the modem/router and in to the wall





"What should I do if my internet stops working?"

gasp!

Follow these steps!

basic troubleshooting


  1. unplug the power from the modem (remove the battery also if you have a phone modem)

  2. unplug the line that comes from the wall and goes to the modem on both sides (coaxial cable for cable, phone cable for dsl)

  3. plug the line you removed back in to the wall and modem

  4. plug the power back in to the modem (and put the battery back in if you have a phone modem)
    • if you only have a modem or modem/router, you are finished!
    • if it is still not working, call your ISP
    • if you have a router too, continue to the next steps

  5. Unplug the power from the router

  6. wait at least 30 seconds

  7. plug the power back in to the router
    • that's it! you're finished!
    • if it still is not working, call your ISP

I HOPE THIS HAS HELPED!

- & Z X