For those who aren’t in the know, the process of internet connection can seem complicated, involving a number of different parts. A lack of information and understanding can lead to frustration when things break or aren’t working.
Routers and modems are two of the necessary components involved in internet connection, but many people don’t understand the difference between the two, or what their functions are.
What is a router?
A router is a small box that is used to wirelessly connect computers to a network. All of the devices connected to the router now have access to a local network (LAN). Routers can also act as a security barrier, creating a firewall against potential malware coming into the network from the internet.
The router is also what provides unique IP addresses for all devices that are connected to it. But a router doesn’t create a connection to the internet, in fact, it is incapable of connecting to the internet by itself.
What is a DSL modem?
A modem is used to connect to the internet. DSL modems connect to an internet service provider through copper telephone wires. The service provider then gives you contact to the internet. But used alone, the Best DSL modem can only provide internet access to devices that are directly physically attached to it with an ethernet cable, and most modems will only offer ports for a single cable.
Although this is perfect if you only have a single computer that needs access to the internet, for most people, this is not a feasible option. This is where the router comes in. When the modem is connected to a router, all of the devices that are part of the LAN network can now wirelessly access the internet.
Are they two separate devices?
It may seem confusing to think of routers and modems as two separate devices, considering the fact. It is becoming more and more common to purchase a single device that can complete both of these functions. You can get combination DSL modems, but routers can also be combined with other types of modem, such as cable and dial-up.
This type of device is also known as a gateway, a general term that simply refers to the connection between the two networks. If you are confused about what product you are buying, the label will always clearly state whether it is integrated or not.
Are integrated DSL routers/modems the best choice?
There are pros and cons to buying a single router/modem combination. But this is generally the best choice for most people. A single device is more convenient, and it requires less troubleshooting in the event that something is wrong.
Although it is true that a separate router is much more powerful, most of the time this extra power is unnecessary. For most internet use, a combination modem/router is perfectly capable, and you don’t need to spend the extra money.