Modems and routers are both involved in connecting your home PCs to the Internet. The modem encodes and decodes data so that it can pass between your home network and your Internet Service Provider (ISP). The router, on the other hand, directs the information collected by the modem to devices within that network. The modem brings the information in, and the router distributes (or “routes”) it to different devices like computers and phones.

Comparison chart

Modem versus Router comparison chart
Edit this comparison chartModemRouter
Layer Data link layer (Layer 2) Network Layer (Layer 3 devices)
Function Facilitates a connection to the internet by transmitting and receiving data over telephone lines. Directs data in a network. Passes data between home computers, and between computers and the modem.
Ports 2.One for connection to ISP. Next one to connect with router(For large networks) 2/4/5/8
Data Transmission form Packet Packet
Device Type Inter-networking device Networking device
Connections Can connect to one PC using Ethernet port Can connect to multiple PCs or networking devices via Ethernet or WiFi
Necessary for Internet Connection? Yes No, but provides additional security and allows for multiple connections.
Independent? Yes. A modem can work without a router, delivering information (such as Internet access) to a single PC. Routers can share information between computers, but cannot connect to the internet without a modem.
Security No security measures Provides security measures to protect network


How a modem and router connect to each other, the Internet and devices on the network.
How a modem and router connect to each other, the Internet and devices on the network.

A modem transmits and receives data through telephone lines, and is used to connect a single computer or an entire home computer network to the Internet Service Provider (ISP).

A router allows computers to connect to the modem and to each other in a network. It selectively delivers packets of information to multiple destinations, and allows multiple devices to connect to the Internet via the modem.


A modem can only connect to one device: either a home PC or a router.

A router can connect to multiple devices in a network, either through Ethernet cables or through WiFi.


A modem does not screen the data it encodes or decodes, and so it passes on any potential threat to connected computers.

Routers examine data packets to determine their destination, and so can contain firewalls to screen out attacks on the network.

See also WPA vs. WPA2.


Depending on the style, features, functionality and the brand, the price of a Router can range anywhere from $10-$74,000+. Prices for Modem range from $5-$23,000+.

You can find current prices on Amazon:


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"Modem vs Router." Diffen LLC, n.d. Web. 16 Apr 2018. < >