Difference Between Router Switch and Modem
(Last Updated On: December 15, 2017)

Now if you have brought home devices in the last couple of decades to connect your PC or Mobile Phones to the Internet you will probably remember the devices you used to bring and how the whole thing has changed and gotten easier. I personally remember using a modem device to connect to the Internet on my PC but that was a long time ago. The technology today is almost the same as we remember back in the day but the evolution of these devices has allowed them to be developed into a compact design and of course the speeds have upgraded from 10 to 20 folds.

In this publication we are going to discuss the wired internet connectivity devices which were used quiet a while back from now but there still are some uses of these devices where wireless connectivity is not a option. So the devices that are or were used to connect to the Internet were switches, modems and routers. Now in this publication we are going to discuss these three devices, as how they work? And do they still have any good use in the world of technology today? So let’s get into it.

What is the Difference between a Switch, a Modem and a Router?

To get things straight from the start these three devices are not in any way replacement for each other as each of the device serve a different purpose in connecting your device to the Internet.


Let’s start with Modem, modem is short for Modulator/Demodulator. The modem is the gateway to the Internet for any of the device that is present in your home. What Modem does is that it converts the analog data or the data in the form of signal waves, depending on the medium, into packet data or the original digital form and which then is transferred onto your device. This whole process is called demodulation. Now the other part of the modem processes the data from your device back to the servers of the websites your browsing, the digital data is then converted into signal waves which travels back the same path and reaches the other end. This process is called modulation.

Now if you want to connect your devices to the Internet these two steps have be done or the data transfer will not be possible and that is why Modem is very crucial for your Internet Connectivity.


Now onto the second device which is the Router. Router is a device which is in short the brains of your home network. If you want to connect a single PC to the Internet a modem will do the job for you but as we need to connect more than a single device to the Internet, we’ll need a router to do that job for us. Router, as it is pretty clear by it’s name, routes the data to the designated device. If you have a home or office network which has more than one device on it, the modem will be connected to a router. The router at the front end will manage the entire packet data as which packet data will be transferred to which device.

Routers which are available in the market have a built in switch mechanism which allows them to act as a switch and a router at the same time but the routers mostly have up to 8 Gigabit Ethernet Ports that means you can connect up to 8 devices to a router, which means a limited switch capability will allow no more than 8 devices to connect to each other. Now if you want to connect more number of devices you will need to get a switch for your home or office network.


The switch is the third device which is a part of a considerably medium sized network in your office or home. The switch in a network provides the ability to inter-connect the devices within your network. Absence of a switch device will deprive your network devices to communicate with each other and share files and all that stuff. The newer models of router do have built in switch device but that is limited to a number of devices that can be supported. So if you want to expand your home or office network you will need a switch device to do that job for you.

Modern Wireless Routers

As we have explained the functionality of the three devices which are crucial for Internet Connectivity for your home or office network, there are few things which are needed to be addressed. These devices have not been used in a while now. Wireless Connectivity has almost made them obsolete but each of the device still exist within a more compact device, which is known as Wireless Router. Wireless Routers of today have a modem device, switch and of course router all compacted into a single elegant design. The powerful versions of these Wireless Routers can easily support up to 30 devices with dedicated data connection to each of the device.

Wireless Routers are the devices which are being used in our homes and offices because of their compact design and powerful performance.

We hope you find this publication very useful and do check out our reviewed best wireless routers. The detailed analysis and unbiased reviews will help you choose the best wireless router for yourself.

Read guide to wireless routers

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