Router vs Modem vs Modem Router Combo (EXPLAINED)
You can set up the internet in two main ways – using a separate router and modem or a modem-router combo. Both of these options have some advantages and disadvantages as we shall see.
So, you must consider it carefully before choosing one of them for your home or workplace. After all, the one that seems to be a better choice might not necessarily be so.
Check the pros and cons of separate routers, modems and router-modem before making any decision. They might help you make your decision without much hassle and are even better informed.
Routers: Functions, Advantages and Disadvantages
The main function of a router is to forward data packets between various devices connected to them. You can set up an internal network of computers at your home or workplace using them.
However, you must use a modem with them if you want to connect your devices to the internet. So, you need to buy a separate modem if you have a router without an in-built modem.
Advantages of Using a Router
You would get the combined benefits of using a router and modem if you buy them separately.
So, here are the advantages that your router would offer you in such a setup:
- Simplifies Internet Sharing
Do you want to share your internet with multiple devices in your home or workplace? In that case, a router is an essential piece of equipment for you. It will allow the connected devices to join with the internet using a single public IP address. Routers share the connection to your devices using a number of UDP ports depending on the router model.
- Provides Security to Your Devices
The latest router models feature quite a wide range of basic and advanced security features. Depending on the model you are using, you have a lot of useful network security features at your disposal. They can help you secure all the devices connected to the network from various vulnerabilities. So, you might want to use a router with your modem.
- Dynamic Routing
Not all paths are equally suitable for the traffic to travel through a network as you probably know. A router passes your network traffic only through the best path that is available. This is called one of the significant ways in which routers optimise your experience on the internet or within an internal network.
Disadvantages of Using a Router
A router also comes with significant disadvantages. Here are the ones that you must keep note:
A router is the most costly equipment among the ones you use for connecting to the internet. That is surely the biggest disadvantage that it poses. However, you can find many routers in the market that are worth their price. Apart from that, routers have become almost a necessary investment nowadays for both homes and workplaces.
- They can be Unreliable
Routers might not always provide you with a reliable wireless network. You might face frequent disconnections and weak Wi-Fi signals while using them. That is yet another significant disadvantage they pose to their users. However, you might be able to deal with it by using an ethernet connection.
Modems: Functions, Advantages and Disadvantages
A modem is mainly used to connect computers to the internet. The ones that you buy separately can usually connect only to a single computer. So, you would need to use a router with them for sharing your internet connection with several computers.
Advantages of a Modem
A modem usually has more advantages to offer you. Here are some of the ways in which it can benefit you:
Modems can offer you a much faster internet connection due to various reasons. The main reason for them is that they use telephone lines to connect you to the internet. This is one of the most important benefits of using a modem. It can also let you download large files within a fairly short time.
- Flexible Internet Plans
The costs of using a modem depend on the internet plan that you have bought. Moreover, you can usually find a very flexible range of data plans on most modems. So, you can get a modem service at a price that is convenient for you.
- Supports Fax Messages
Most modems can let you communicate with other computers in more than one way. Depending on the model you are using, it might also let you send fax messages. So, you might want to look for this feature while buying a modem.
- Reliable Internet Connection
A reliable internet connection is quite important in many situations and a modem can provide you with that. You would not face any connection losses as long as the cable is fine and connected properly. Now, that helps you maintain a consistently smooth experience on your device.
- Impressive Gaming Experience
Do you need to ensure a good gaming experience? In that case, a modem might offer you more than what you are looking for. You can surely expect it to offer you a smooth and lag-free online gaming experience. Now, that makes modems a must-have for a lot of people depending on their requirements.
Disadvantages of a Modem
Modems also come with some significant disadvantages for their users. Here are the drawbacks that you must know before buying a modem:
- Connects With a Limited Number of Devices
As mentioned earlier, modems can only connect to a very limited number of devices. So, they might not be of much use to you without routers. In other words, you would probably need to get a router as well if you buy a modem.
- Does Not Control the Traffic
Unlike routers, modems do not have any traffic control measures in place. They simply act as intermediaries between the local area network (LAN) and the internet. This is yet another reason why you might not want to use a modem without a router.
- No Network Security Measures
Modems do not have any measures in place for securing your network. So, using them without a router can cause various vulnerabilities that you must avoid. Unlike on routers, you cannot set up and optimise network security on your modem.
Router-Modem Combo: Functions, Advantages and Disadvantages
As the name suggests, router-modem combos combine the functions of routers and modems. Now, that can make it simpler for you to set up an internet connection at your home or workplace. As in the case of separate routers and modems, router-modem combos have their own set of advantages and disadvantages.
Advantages of Router-Modem Combos
Router-modem combos usually seem to be better options than separate routers and modems. Here are the best reasons to choose them:
- Better Value For Money
Investing in a router-modem combo is less costly than buying this equipment separately. So, you would get more in return for a comparably lower price. Moreover, you can expect optimal performance from router-modem combos.
- Easy Setup
An in-built modem in your router makes setting up an internet connection much easier. You can complete that task much more quickly on router-modem combos than on separate routers and modems. This is surely one of the most significant advantages of using a router-modem combo.
- Simpler to Fix
You might face issues with your internet connection under various circumstances. In such situations, you would probably need more time to troubleshoot the problem on separate routers and modems. Router-modem combos usually make it easier and simpler for you to fix most issues.
- Less Clutter
This is one of the most obvious benefits of using a router-modem combo at your residence or office. They would take up much less space and use fewer cables than separate routers and modems.
- Needs to be Configured Once
Do you need to connect different types of devices to your router? You might want to get a router-modem combo as it does not require configurations before connecting to each device.
Disadvantages of Router-Modem Combos
You must also consider the following disadvantages of router-modem combos apart from the aforementioned advantages:
- Costly Upgrades
You would have to upgrade the device at some point in time and it can be quite costly. Separate routers and modems cost comparably less to upgrade even though they are sometimes costly to buy.
- The Placement Matters a Lot
You need to focus more on the location of router-modem combos than that on separate routers and modems. Otherwise, you might fail to get the kind of network performance you are expecting. Finding the right place for the device can require quite some time and effort.
Which One is Better for You?
You have several good reasons to buy or avoid separate routers and modems or router-modem combos. The suitability of each type of separation might differ with each user’s requirements.
So, you must go through the aforementioned advantages and disadvantages thoroughly to know which option suits you the best. As per the usual requirements that users currently have, most of them might go for router-modem combos.