It was not too long ago that you had to learn how to use your modem without having to call a technician or a friend with some know-how and now routers are the thing to have. So many people are now stuck with decisions like “Do I need a modem and a router, can you use a router without a modem?”
The important aspect to remember is that these two devices are not the same in function or that modem and router are not the same devices called two different names.
For those of you who recently celebrated your complete understanding of modems and their functions a bit of affirmation, for those still not clear lets’ come to grips with the theoretical aspects of it all.
A modem is primarily a combination of a lawyer, speaking on your behalf to the internet and a translator, translating the ones and zeros you send into the world wide web as well as translating information received from the internet into the media your computer displays it as. A modem is for the purpose of using a hard-line (understood as the old telephone lines) today best understood as the fiber connections we see advertised everywhere. Setting up an internet connection can be a very technical affair when using a modem.
You would have to have a good understanding of using a personal computer setting as well as be able to input what your service provider gives you manually. It because of this complexity that companies still have networking technicians on the payroll and networking services are still big money.
A router again is more like the United Nations food program, ensuring that everyone has access to your internet connection equally and with no strings (wires) attached if indeed that was the option you went with. In most business operations people use routers to connect multiple personal computers via hardlines but this only works well because people have set workstations.
A home is of course a completely different story. A router ensures that all wireless devices get as fair a share of the internet access and speeds by balancing what is available to the most minute (a bit) aspect. What this essentially does is freeing you from having to plug your cell phone into the modem and having to sit right there for as long as you need to use the internet. Also, it splits one internet connection into as many as the router is programmed to handle, usually much more connections than any one family could need.
There is another kind of router as well. A sim card-based router. This today comes built into most cellular phones as well as standalone products that can be left stationary in your house or office. So, these do not need to plugged into a router as it clearly uses cellular infrastructure to communicate with the internet via your sim card connection. For the most part, having one of these is the most useful tool a professional can have as it allows connectivity to the world wide web wherever there is cellular service.
Now if like me you grew up in the 1980s and 1990s you know what I’m saying is the absolute truth as we can still remember very well how frustrating it was to find access to the internet. I miss the internet cafes that popped up everywhere but enjoy the functionality of having multiple connected devices right in my pocket a whole lot more. Just to be precise as to what these can be let’s clarify that these can be both smartphones and or pocket routers.
A more detailed article on the Difference Between Modem and Router.
Can you use a Router without a Modem?
So, does one need a modem and a router or can I use a router without a modem? Truth be told modems are becoming obsolete. Whereas hard-line connections are still a bit faster than cellular connections, with the roll-out of 5th generation cellular technologies wireless devices will very soon be on par with hard-line speeds.
Even though wireless networks do not have the stability of modem-based connections the levels of stability we enjoy today are already 99 percent better than what we started out with in terms of the wireless revolution we are a part of.
As for the sustainability issues, as well as environmental impact goes, one cannot deny the benefits of wireless technology. In recent days we have seen how kilometers of paving and flower beds and not to mention the number of trees that had to be uprooted for new fiber optic cables to be laid. If we rather opted for wireless upgrades only then only existing towers that are sporadically placed would have had to be updated and thus no new impact on the environment.
Do I need a modem and a router?
At this point, you think to yourself; but my home personal computer does not have built-in Wi-Fi so again we come full circle on the question of, Do I need a modem and a router, can you use a router without a modem? To this, I answer, ever since the days of the Nokia N70 your smartphone has the capability of sharing its internet connection with just about any information technological device that has a use for the internet. This function is generally understood as tethering.
You connect your smartphone to the personal computer using a USB cable and on the smartphone itself enable it to share its connection with the connected personal computer. Today it is a hundred times easier as the days of the N70 as well because almost all Google Android running phones have this function down to just a few clicks from the home screen. This function is located in your settings menu under connections.
Things to consider
if you are going to stick to a hard-line connection for your home set up it would serve you well to bear in mind that modem technology has been advancing very slowly since its birth and so it would be very wise to not opt for a single modem router device as you would surely want a faster router somewhere down the line.
So whereas you could use a stand-alone modem for a very long time the same cannot be said about your router. A very important aspect to keep in mind with service provider provided modems is that the cost of this modem could be added to your monthly bill for some time to come still so it is often best to purchase your own modem at a once of cost leaving you with a bit extra every month for data, which in itself is not very cheap.
Also, should you choose to change service providers it would go along way to have your own modem and not have to go through having to set up hardware all over again but rather just input the settings on your personal computer. A modem like any other electronic device needs to be switched on and off from time to time, make it a routine exercise.
As far as your router goes positing is key, ensure that you place your router as central to your home as possible. If indeed you find the signal is weaker on the outskirts of your property consider investing in range extenders or better yet a mesh Wi-Fi system. Always opt to update your Wi-Fi firmware when prompted to do so as this will keep your speeds optimal.
Never ever hold on to your default password for more than a few minutes after having set up and tested your Wi-Fi system as this will lay you vulnerable to intrusions and as we all know crooks lookout for opportunities such as this. If you weren’t followed by the computer store and hacked the moment you went online consider yourself very lucky but don’t push your luck.
Especially if you keep banking and transacting details on your devices. As inconvenient as it is consider rebooting your router as regularly as possible so as to ensure optimal usage. This as well can also be factored into your daily routine. The best time to do this is when you get home from work just before you get into your evening routine.
It goes a long way as well to be very clear on the terms of your internet service package as it can be very frustrating when you find at certain periods of the month your internet has slowed to a crawl because of over usage in the early part of the month.
Unlimited or uncapped packages are more than often not as uncapped as they advert said and service providers cover themselves by not capping your service but regulating it in the form of a certain number of gigabytes at a certain speed and once that is used up the next number of gigabytes comes at a very reduced speed and so on and so on.
On the bright side, Netflix should stream perfectly from the beginning of next month again (wink). Cellular internet settings are automatically detected by almost all devices that make use of cellular bandwidth.
Meet Eriksson Ray. I’m the co-founder of TenWitch.com. Our website is dedicated to the coverage of product reviews, buyer’s guides, best lists, etc. We can help you to choose a new modem/router or troubleshooting your Internet connection.