How does Wifi router works, difference between router and modem.

We all have used Wi-Fi at home, offices, universities, airports or railway station, but ever wonder how does Wi-Fi router works or how to install, or maybe if you have already one then how to configure it.

To begin understanding the working and installation process of Wi-Fi, you should first know the components of Wi-Fi and their working, so without any further delay let’s get started.

  1. To set up a Wi-Fi internet to your places you should have a modem, router and Ethernet cables.
  2. But what are this modem and router?
  3. And what’s the difference between both of them?

What is a Modem?

It is a combined device of modulation and demodulation, modulation meaning encoding data from the transmitter & demodulation meaning decoding the data to the receiver point.

So the basic idea is to modulate (encode) & demodulate (decode) the data from the transmitter to receiver.

Yet this is not the primary role of the modem, what it does is it takes internet from your ISP (internet service provider) which is in analogue signals and converts it into digital signals and provide this signal to our home devices.

But wait before providing this digital signal to our devices one more device comes in between which we will talk later in this article.

So the main primary or say the key role of the modem is to convert analogue signals to digital signals and vice versa, think of it as a network translator also modem is the gateway to your home network for the outside network.

Think of a modem as a servant who stands outside of your house, and whenever you want to interact with the outside world (here it means internet) you do not interact directly rather you tell servant (here it means modem) to do so in your behalf.

So whenever you wanted to interact with the outside world you would have to go through a gateway known as a servant (modem).

Perfect! Now the idea is cleared about modem let’s see it’s type.

Data Science Internship work from home.

Types of the modem?

There are four types of modem Analog, Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) , Cable and Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN). All of these uses telephone lines to function.

Analog: – This type of modem uses your telephone lines to connect to your ISP, while you are connected with this type you can’t use your phone.

DSL: – This also uses your telephone line, but the transmission is done outside the frequencies used by voice calls, which means you can use both the internet and phone simultaneously.

Cable: – This is connected to a router or computer directly through coaxial cable or CAT-5 (Ethernet cord).

ISDN: – This is also a telephone-based connection, but it has a dedicated copper line for transmission of data.

What is a Router?

As the name suggests route means it routes the signals coming to it and going outside from it.

Simply put it routes the internet to different devices connected to it.

Remember we talked about how modem distributes the digital signal to a different device, actually, it’s not modem who distributes that digital signal it is a router that distributes that signal to different devices.

Therefore the main or primary function of a router is that it takes a digital signal from the modem and distributes it to the different devices and also takes digital signals from different devices and gives it to the modem.

Off course all of this requires a control flow of data, routing, error correction and many more all of which at different bandwidth and speed which is also maintained by the router.


A router also allows you to interact with devices which are connected to the same network (router), which makes it easier to access one printer by different computer within the same network.

Think of it this way there’s a servant (router) inside your home and there are different persons (devices) in different rooms of your house.

Now if you want to send data from bedroom (laptop) to a living area (Smartphone) you will easily send that data via a router, which routes the data within a network.

Also if you want to send data from the living area (Smartphone) to another house (neighbors smartphone) you can do this easily via router and modem.

Your router will take the digital signal from your smartphone send that digital signals to modem now modem will convert it into analog signals send it over the internet with the address to the servant (modem of outside neighbor’s house) and that servant converts that analog signal to digital signal and sends it to the proper smartphone.

Now you can connect to a router with the wire of wireless, but a modem and router connection is always wired connection.

All the hacking and malicious activities can take place to a modem level meaning a hacker can come to your modem and that’s as far as he can hack into your network easily.

But in order to penetrate into your network, he/she needs to go through a router, and that’s why it is often said to keep a strong password, enable the firewall, restrict certain MAC addresses, block certain websites, and many more.

Difference between router and modem.

                          Modem                                   Router
A modem is a device that connects to the outside network. A router is a device that connects you with modem to access the outside network.
A modem works on the principle of modulation (encoding) & demodulation (decoding). A router works on a principle of routing the network to its desired location.
This is responsible for connecting to WAN (Wide Area Network). This is responsible for connecting to LAN (Local Area Network).
Converts analog signals to digital and vice versa. Does not convert analog signals to digital and vice versa, rather it connects the digital signals of devices to the modem for conversation.
The modem connects the internet to your local network The router forms the local network.

Router Configuration.


1.Resetting (Skip if the router is new).

2. Correct connections.

Unplugged all wires.

Connect the modem to and the router via ethernet cable to WAN port of the router.

Connect LAN wire to your LAN port of the router to pc.

3. Ip of your router.

Find the IP address of your router.

Control panel > Network and Internet > Network and Sharing Centre > Wi-Fi(Name) > Details here you will find your IP.

or you can use the cmd command IP config.

4. Browser.

Type the IP address usually it is ( in the URL section.

Username and password are usually “Admin”.

Sometimes password is left blank.

5. Settings.

According to your network, you should select the configuration.

Eg- WPA algorithms to AES etc.

Now that we have learned about wifi it’s component and working let’s see some tips and tricks.

How to use wifi efficiently?

Position your router in an open and centralized place.

Keep it away from electronic devices.

Keep it away from electrical signals.

Reboot your router regularly.

Change your SSID and password regularly.

Upgrade your router if possible.

If possible block the certain restricted websites.

How to choose a perfect router?

Choose a router that is dual-band or something more.

The router should be integrated with a USB slot preferably 3.0.

Should come with a built-in VPN, firewall, and other advanced features.