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Geek Speak: Modem vs. Router

Most people have heard the terms “modem” and “router”, and some even know these are components in a computer network. But do you know the difference between them? You can certainly be forgiven if you don’t. A modem is a device that translates a phone or coaxial signal from your Internet Service Provider (ISP) into something useable by the devices in your home or business, and is usually provided by the ISP. A router's role is to “route” network traffic both internally between your devices (computers, smartphones, printers) and between those devices and the broader internet. The router is like a super-fast postal service that makes sure all your devices have addresses and data packets get to their intended destination. Adding to the nomenclature confusion is that some devices can be both at once. Next time I’m visiting your home or office remind me and I’ll add labels to your devices to make it more clear. And now you know!


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