Can You Use a Wi-Fi Modem as a Router?

Be it your home or office, a working internet connection requires a modem and a router. Now, a modem and a router look like identical boxes with antennas, lights, and cables. Does it mean that you can use a modem as your router?

No matter how identical modems and routers look like, the truth is that both have specific roles and responsibilities. So, you can’t use a modem as a router unless it’s a wireless gateway or a Wi-Fi modem.

Moreover, the guide will show how a modem differs from a router. You will also determine whether you can use your modem as a router. Let’s get started.

A Quick Introduction to Modems and Routers

A modem makes the way for the internet service to your home from the Internet Service Provider. So, a modem obtains signals from your Internet Service Provider. Then, the device converts the signal into data packets that your network devices can read.

On the other hand, the modem also translates the data from your network devices and sends them to the Internet Service Provider. In short, a modem modulates and demodulates signals, and that’s how it got the name ‘modem’.

In general, a standalone modem has 2 ports. It uses a port to connect itself to the internet; the other port is for the ethernet cable connecting to a router or any compatible mobile device.

Every modem has a unique IP address that helps identify the device across the internet. You can rent a modem from the ISP or buy it conveniently.

What about a Router?

A modem is responsible for bringing the internet connection to your home only, and it can’t create a network with your devices. You need a router to create a network with all your network-enabled devices.

A router acts like a bridge and connects all your devices on the network to the internet. However, a router can only render the internet connection from a modem. A router itself can’t connect all devices to the internet.

Simply put a wireless router distributes or routes data among every connected device in your home or office network. Thus, connected devices can access the internet once you connect your router to the modem.

Typically, a router comes with 2 main port types. The port labeled WAN connects the router to the modem. On the other hand, other ports connect to all other network devices via an Ethernet cable or Wi-Fi. So, a router can create a LAN or Local Area Network and interconnect all devices.

Besides this, a router can assign a local IP address to every connected device. Thus, you can enter a URL on your smartphone, and the website appears on the same device instead of your laptop or other device.

Moreover, you can control your local area network through the router. In addition, a router acts like a firewall, and the same device lets your devices communicate. However, a router has antennas, where a router looks different from a modem.

Can You Use a Modem as a Router?

So far, it’s clear what a modem and a router are and how they operate differently. Remember, traditional or standalone modems and routers can’t work individually. Instead, they complement each other to establish a strong internet connection.

You can have a modem and not a router if you wish to connect only your computer to the internet. In this situation, you will need an Ethernet cable to connect the modem and the computer through a wired connection.

However, you must have a router if you have multiple mobile devices to connect to the internet. A router can only route the data or signal from the modem. Therefore, you can’t use a router separately. Similarly, you can’t use a modem as a router because it can’t do what it specializes in.

On a contrary note, devices that combine both the functions of a modem and a router exist. They are called a Wi-Fi modem or a wireless gateway. 

An Overview of Wi-Fi Modem

A Wi-Fi modem has an integrated router that connects all your devices to the internet.

Hence, you can eliminate 2 separate networking devices from your home network by owning a Wi-Fi modem. Can you use a Wi-Fi modem as a router? The answer is yes due to a router inside the device.

Furthermore, a wireless gateway or Wi-Fi modem is easier to set up. They are also more cost-effective and energy-efficient than the traditional modem-router setup.

You don’t have to contact 2 different companies if anything is wrong with the Wi-Fi modem. However, a wireless gateway will have a lower internet speed than modems and routers.

Use a Wi-Fi Modem as a Router

You can turn a Wi-Fi modem into a router. Here’s what you have to follow:

  • First, connect your Wi-Fi modem to a computer through a LAN cable.
  • Open up a web browser on your computer and input the default IP address of the Wi-Fi modem in the address bar. Now, press Enter and provide your login credentials once prompted.
  • Click the Login button and navigate the Wi-Fi modem’s wireless settings section.
  • Make necessary changes under the wireless settings and assign an SSID so that you can recognize the wireless network.
  • After that, check out the LAN settings and disable the DHCP feature.

Save all your changes and sign out from the default gateway of the Wi-Fi modem. Congratulations, you have turned your Wi-Fi modem into a router.

Is There Any Other Option to Convert a Modem into a Router?

You can’t use any modem as a router unless it’s labeled as a Wi-Fi one. Standard modems don’t have the hardware to perform what a router is capable of. However, you can consider the following instances if you can’t get a standalone router or gateway.

In addition, remember that the following options won’t be as powerful and fast as a router.

  • Connect a computer to the modem and use the computer as a hotspot. Thus, you can render wireless networks to other computers and mobile devices.
  • Otherwise, you can buy a USB dongle that connects your laptops, smartphones, etc. to the internet.
  • Moreover, you can buy an access point to turn your wired connection into a wireless one. You can use an access point to extend the wireless coverage. 

Summing up…

Can you use a Wi-Fi modem as a router? Hopefully, the guide answers your question. Check whether you own a Wi-Fi modem or wireless gateway because you can only turn it into a router. Otherwise, you must purchase one and set it up accordingly to convert it into a router.

Taylor Green
Taylor Green
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