What Network device should you buy? A Router, A Modem, or A Combo? 

Do you know what network device you need? Why do most people make mistakes when choosing the right network device for their ISP? Do you need a cable modem, a router, a cable modem router combo, or a DSL modem? Wait, there is so much confusion here. Don’t worry; today, we’ll discuss each and how to choose the correct network device for your internet connection. 

authorThomas Parris
What Network device should you buy A Router or Modem?

You won’t believe it, but most of the readers on ‘routerwar.com’ are concerned about the correct type of network device they need for their internet. Most of them have already purchased the wrong devices and are talking about the issues that occurred while using them.

Therefore, I decided to write a complete article explaining every network device’s compatibility with the different internet connection types.

Read on,

Cable Internet: People who use Cable Internet 

If you have cable internet, you’ll need a Wi-Fi router and a cable modem. Or, you can go for a cable modem router combo. 

In short, you have two options for a cable internet connection: a modem/router combo, a standalone Wi-Fi router, and a cable modem. 

So, whether you choose one or two standalone devices is your preference. 

Fiber Internet: People who use Fiber Optic Internet 

Since Fiber Optic Internet service providers provide an optical network terminal (ONT) device, the ONT works as a modem, so you don’t need to buy a modem for your Fiber Optic Internet connection. 

As our ISP handles the ‘modem’ part as an ONT device, we’ll only need a Wi-Fi router to connect other wireless devices in your home. For wired devices, such as gaming consoles, printers, ETC., you already have the ‘ONT’ device with ethernet ports and even your Wi-Fi router with at least four Ethernet LAN ports. 

Nowadays, it is common for most ISPs to include a Wi-Fi router in the provided device. In that case, you don’t need a Wi-Fi router unless it’s powerful enough to handle multiple device connections. 

If it’s not, you can use a third-party router. However, you must turn off built-in router functions and set your modem into bridge mode. 

In short, in the case of Fiber Optic Internet, you need a Wi-Fi router as long as your ISP doesn’t provide a combo unit. 

Here are some good Wi-Fi routers for your ONT device, 

DSL Internet: People who use DSL Internet

You will need a DSL modem and a Wi-Fi router for a DSL internet connection. However, it’s common for modern DSL modems to include a Wi-Fi router. But, they are not powerful enough to make multiple wireless connections. 

I advise you to use a third-party Wi-Fi router with your DSL modem. To do so, you’ll need to follow the abovementioned steps: turn off your device’s router function and put it into the ‘bridge mode’ to connect it with a standalone Wi-Fi router. 

In short, DSL internet users require two devices, a DSL modem, and Wi-Fi. However, if your DSL modem includes a Wi-Fi router, you don’t need to spend extra money on it unless it’s not powerful. 

Internet type: How to know what type of internet connection you have? 

The simplest thing to know the internet type is to contact your ISP. If you’re a bit techy, you can check the internet outlets. To check your internet outlet, check the following images. 

Cable Internet

Cable Internet

DSL Internet

DSL Internet

Fiber Optical

Fiber Optic Internet

Device type: How to know what type of device you have? 

If your ISP provides only one device, it must be a modem or modem/router combo. On the contrary, if you have two, you have a standalone modem and a Wi-Fi router. 

In the case of two, The device that is connected to your Internet line is your modem. The other device is your Wi-Fi router, with only a single wire connected to the power socket. 

Modem Vs. Router: What is the difference between a Wi-Fi router and a modem? 

Both Modem and Router are networking devices that we connect to the internet. However, both serve different things on your plate. 

Modem: What is a modem? 

The modem is a device used to connect your digital devices, such as laptops, smartphones, desktops, etc., to the internet. Since there are two types of devices, digital and analog, the modem’s function is to convert digital signals into analog signals. And then again, it converts analog into digital. Moreover, the modem works as a gateway between your digital and analog devices. 

If you have Fiber Optic internet, you’ll find a device called ONT (Optical Network Terminal) similar to a modem.  

Still doubt it, check out my complete article on What a Modem is.

Router: What is a router? 

The Wi-Fi router is what you connect to your modem; It can’t work without a modem. It broadcasts a wireless signal and then creates a local area network to connect various Wi-Fi-enabled devices. 

If you want to know more about the topic, please read my article on what a Wi-Fi router is. 

What else? You seem interested in reading about networking devices. 

Below are the related articles you might love reading, 

  1. Approved Cable Modems
  2. Approved Wi-Fi Routers 

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