If you are looking into Internet connection within your home, it may be confusing trying to understand all of the equipment needed for online access when you may be unfamiliar with the products. Depending on the plan you sign up with, your Internet service provider can supply the modem and router needed to run the connection through your house. In some circumstances, the devices can even be merged into one box known as a combo unit, but what exactly are these and what do they do?
What is a Modem?
A modem is the connection between your home network and the Internet. This device decodes the signal coming from your Internet service provider and makes that signal universal in order for your computer and other devices to access it. The modem will connect to your router or directly to your computer through an Ethernet cord. So, if you are only connecting one or two devices that are hardwired, a modem would be the only piece of equipment needed in your home. This connection does not set up a local network and is not responsible for your Wi-Fi signal.
What is a Router?
A router connects multiple networks and routes the traffic between them. This creates the local area network and splits the Internet connection across several devices. The router is what hosts your Wi-Fi, runs firewall protection, and can connect to a VPN otherwise known as a virtual private network. Most routers also contain built-in switches that let you link multiple hard-wired devices instead of solely using Wi-Fi connections. In order to access the Internet through the router, it must be directly connected to the modem.
In some cases, a router will not sufficiently cover the entire household. The connection could be affected by multiple levels, spacious living areas, or thick barriers to block the signal transfer. To have full Wi-Fi coverage of the home, adding wireless extenders can help connect the dead zones in areas that are too far from the router location. To avoid weakening the bandwidth, you can also look into installing a mesh network. Mesh networks have not only a router, but also several satellites that communicate with the router and carry the connection to all other satellites in the household without reducing the bandwidth strength.
Gaining an understanding of this Internet equipment will help keep your connection running efficiently in your home. When you learn how the internal network operates, you can communicate your needs to an Internet service provider that can help supply you with the necessary equipment. Whether you are buying a router or modem on your own or paying monthly through your provider, the devices should always stay up-to-date and fully-functioning for you to get the most out of your Internet connection.