If you’ve ever wondered what the difference is between a modem and a router and you haven’t found a satisfactory answer so far, do not worry! In this post we will show you all the information you need know to know how to differentiate between these two devices.
But this is not all. We will also advance on the basic notions so you can distinguish what is a hotspot and how does this tool work.
Further, you will be able to distinguish which is the best of the three devices from different points of view. Let’s not waste any more time and start with our analysis.
What is a Modem and how does it work on a computer network? characteristics
A modem is a device that is used in a computer network to convert signals, from digital to analog and vice versa. This process is called modulation and demodulation respectively, from this comes its name, being the acronym for “Modulation-Demodulation”. That is to say, this device does not transmit the data, but converts it and leaves it ready so that they can be sent or received between the different components of a network.
There are 2 types of modems:
- Internal modems, that are inserted inside another device and that use the electrical current of these as a power source. They do not have a plastic cover, so they cannot be transported independently, since they are usually connected through PCI bus.
- External modems, which can be seen and touched more easily, since they have a plastic housing. They must be placed somewhere close to the Internet cabling installation and their configuration is simpler than the installation of internal drivers.
Modems have different modulation methods whose difference is characterized by the speed they present. Which can be from 300 to 8,000 baud (this unit of measurement is a little higher than one bit per second).
What is a router and what is its function in a computer network? characteristics
We said that the modem does not transmit the signal, but prepares it so that another device can send this information through a wireless microwave signal. This is the job that the router does and consists of deliver the requested information by some node of the network that has requested this data. It is also in charge of receiving all requests that have the computers connected to the wireless network. It translates these microwave signals into electrical signals and then sends the information to the modem so it can demodulate.
As a great feature, it stands out that no need for wiring to deliver an internet signal. They are compatible with Wireless IEEE 802.11 standards, the most modern being 802.11ax (WiFi 6). They have 2 types of frequencies for signal emission, one of 2.4 GHz and the other of 5 GHz. Their transfer rates are up to 300 Mb / s and 450 Mb / s respectively.
Its ports allow you to connect printers, drives, external hard drive and even SmartTV wirelessly. In this way, it arises that there is the possibility of having dual routers that provide one service by air and another by cables.
Most modern routers have different frequency bands, ranging from 700 to 2600 MHz. Its configuration is simple and comes default from the factory, but it is always advisable to change different security parameters.
What is a WiFi access point and how does it work to give Internet to other devices? characteristics
The access point is a device that is responsible for linking wired networks with wireless networks. That is, when the AP is connected through the port Ethernet these two types of networks are joining, thus generating that mobile devices can access an Internet network.
These APs are assigned a factory IP, which is used to configure the device through the web with the different security parameters. Other characteristics of this technology is that can be installed anywhereas long as they have access to the Ethernet cable. But it will depend on the elements that surround them in order to have a stronger signal and to be able to better reach the other mobile nodes in the network.
Router vs Modem vs Hotspot Which one is better and how are they different?
A hotspot is a tool that allows you to access the Internet in places where there is a high demand for connecting to the web. It can be composed of one access point or several. It is used in places that have large coverage, such as bars, schools, airports, etc.
According to this definition, we can define if a router, a modem or a hotspot is better according to a certain characteristic. You must bear in mind that one depends on the other, since the modem modulates the data so that the router delivers it to an access point and this in turn to a mobile device.
As for the modem, if you consider the most modern devices where you can connect up to 4 Ethernet ports, you can have a speed of up to 1 Gbps. While a router, having a relatively normal distance between the receiving device, can reach a speed of up to 450 Mbps. You have to consider that the further a mobile device is from the router and the slower the navigation will be.
Regarding a HotspotThe speed of the other two computers will depend, but it is always much lower than that of a router. This speed decreases even more when you are not using a modem to access the web.
If we consider an external modem, it will have a similar installation to a router. But if the modem is internal we will not need to install it, since this It will come bundled with a computer or inside the router provided by telephone operators.
With respect to a hotspot, it will depend on the coverage area that you want to cover. Since there may be one or more APs, so installation will always be more complicated than the other devices.
When it is an external modem it has a configuration similar to a router. It must be connected to a port in order to access the optical fiber or ADSL and then enter the configuration panel with a computer to make the necessary changes. In general, the network name and password are changed and some filters are modified.
If the modem is internal, this configuration is different and a little more complex. Since you will need to turn off the computer, connect the modem to the motherboard, also to an Internet cable and just turn on the computer.
The operating system will automatically detect new hardware, so it will require installation, through drivers, then choose the configuration:
- For the Hotspot configuration it will depend on the operating system of the equipment. On an iOS device you should go to “Settings”, then “Wifi” and at the end click on “Share internet”.
- While on an Android mobile you must also enter by “Settings”, to choose “More”, then “Tethering and WiFi zone”. To finish, you will have to go to “Configure WiFi zone”, then “Save” and finally to “Portable WiFi zone”.
- In the case of Windows you will have to enter “Setting”, click on “Shared connection” and activate “Share internet”. While on a Mac you must press the application “Airport”.
Regarding security, all over-the-air devices always present a higher risk than cable connections. But since we are analyzing these wireless equipment, the modem is the one that provides the greatest security. Since the level of intersection of the signal is much more difficult than that produced by a router. In turn, a hotspot is much more vulnerable than a router.
The modem is the most important of all equipment. Without this device, a router would have no internet. Although a Hotspot can access the web without a modem, the speed is much more limited and at the same time it presents a greater vulnerability with respect to security.
Therefore, the importance of the modem is significant in wireless networks.
WiFi 6 What is it and how could it improve the quality of routers and hotspots?
WiFi 6 is a new technology Named for the association that promotes the implementation of wireless connections, the “Wi-Fi Alliance”. This type of network works with the standard 802.11ax and it is backward compatible with WiFi protocols.
It is necessary to bear in mind that in order to enjoy this new generation of data transmission, it is necessary that the sender and receiver of the signals are compatible with WiFi 6. Since, if any of the 2 devices does not support this signal, navigation will be carried out using older protocols. With this technology, it will go from having a data speed of 433 Mbps to 600 Mbps, while the utilization percentage will go from 512 to 2048. There will also be a significant change in the highest data modulation, the current WiFi has 256 QAM, while the new version will reach 1024 QAM. That is, from 6.9 to 9.6 Mbps respectively.
For all this we can conclude that, although there will be an increase in efficiency and the connections will have a much better stability, even though they are congested, the security vulnerability problem cannot be fixed yet. Since a wired network with protagonist modem is still much more secure.
If you have any questions, leave them in the comments, we will answer you as soon as possible, and it will also be of great help to more members of the community. Thank you! 😉