The internet - it's a luxury many of us have grown to rely on and simply can't live without. Yet, it's likewise a technology that most people don't fully appreciate or understand. After all, how many of us think about the modem when we're browsing the web or streaming our favorite TV show?
What Is a Modem?
A modem is a type of intermediary device that works as a gateway between your computer and the internet. It does this by translating data from your phone line, cable, or fiber optic cable into a form that your computer can understand, and vice versa. In the context of home networking, modems are often used in conjunction with routers to supply internet access. Modems can come in all shapes and sizes, and work in varying ways, but they all serve the same purpose: to get you connected.
How Do Modems Work?
A modem's inner workings can get really complicated depending on how far into detail you choose to go. Put simply, it acts as a connecting point between your home network to the wider Internet. How?
Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) does its job by sending the proper data line for making a connection to your home. This system largely works off of what's called analog communication and employs the use of continuous time varying signals when transmitting information. Where a modem comes in is that it can take this signal and change it into a digital form that your computer can understand. The process works vice versa when you're sending data from your home - the modem will take the digital form and translate it back into an analog signal for your ISP to read.
This all happens in a matter of milliseconds and without you even having to think about it - which is good, because it's a complicated process.
Is A Modem the Same as A Wi-Fi Router?
While both a modem and a WiFi router are necessary for getting your devices online, they serve very different purposes.
A modem is a device that connects your computer to the internet. It allows you to send and receive data over a network. Without it, you're not able to connect to the wider Internet, period.
A WiFi router, on the other hand, is a device that allows all of your wired and wireless devices to use that Internet connection at once and also allows them to talk to one another without having to do so over the Internet.
In short, you need a modem to get online and a WiFi router to create a home network.
Why Do I Need a Modem?
In order for you to get online and connect to the internet, you need a modem. If you want to be able to do that from home, then you need a home modem. These days, most people opt for some type of broadband connection like cable or DSL, and in order to connect to those you need a specialized modem that's compatible with the service.
What are The Different Types of Modems?
Cable modems are one of the most popular varieties of the technology, largely because of the fact that they’re relatively affordable and offer high speeds. They work by using the same cables that deliver your TV service into your home to send data back and forth. The main downside of cable modems is that they can be temperamental, especially during bad weather.
DSL modems are very similar to cable modems, except they use your home's existing telephone line to connect you to the internet. The upside of this is that it's generally a more reliable connection - bad weather won't affect it as much. The downside is that the speed can vary depending on how far away from the telephone exchange you are.
Fiber optic modems are the newest type of modem on the market and offer speeds that are significantly faster than both cable and DSL. They work using thin fibers of glass to send data back and forth at lightning speeds. The downside is that they can be quite expensive and aren't yet widely available.
Wireless Internet Modem
A wireless cable modem is a type of modem that uses radio frequencies to connect you to the internet instead of wires. They're becoming increasingly popular as more and more people move away from traditional wired connections. The main downside of wireless cable modems is that they can be less dependable and offer lower speeds than their wired counterparts.
What Types of Features and Characteristics Can Modems Have?
Despite the fact that modems can come in multiple varieties, there are some popular features and characteristics they will all have in common.
Orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM) is a signal processing technique used by modems that allows them to split a single channel of data into multiple, smaller channels. This helps to reduce interference and improve reliability.
Data encryption is a feature found in our modems that helps to protect your data from being intercepted by third parties. It works by encoding the data in such a way that it can only be decoded by the intended recipient.
A firewall is a security feature that helps to protect your home network from outside attacks. It does this by blocking incoming connections that it considers to be unsafe. Many modems will have a built-in firewall, but you can also purchase standalone units.
Where Can I Use a Modem?
In theory, you can use a modem wherever you can find a practical place to connect it to your ISP. There are however specific use cases where modems tend to be particularly popular.
One of the most common places you'll find a modem is in people's homes. This is because most people need some type of internet connection in order to stay connected with family, friends, and work.
Another common place for modems is in businesses. They'll often have several machines that all need to be able to connect to the internet, and a modem is the best way to make that happen.
Modems can also be found in public places like libraries and coffee shops. This is because more and more people are relying on their mobile devices to stay connected and need a way to access the internet when they're away from home or work.
What Are the Benefits of Using a Modem?
There are benefits that come with using a modem, regardless of what type you choose.
One of the main benefits of using a modem is that it provides you with a way to connect to the internet. This is important for both personal and professional reasons.
Another benefit of using a modem is that they're often quite portable. This means that you can take them with you when you travel, and always have a way to connect to the internet should you have a reliable place to plug them in.
Another benefit of using a WiFi modem is that they offer flexibility in terms of how you connect to the internet. For example, modems can be used with both wired and wireless connections.
Ease Of Use
Modems are also generally quite easy to use. Even if you're not particularly tech-savvy, you should be able to set up and use a modem without any trouble.
How To Choose a Modem?
Now that we know what a modem is and why you need one, let's talk about how to choose the right one for your home.
Consider Your Internet Connection Type
The first thing you need to do when choosing a modem is to consider your internet connection type. This will narrow down the choice of modems that are available to you and make it easier to find one that's compatible with your setup. For example, if you plan on relying upon your network heavily, consider a cabled model, as even the best wireless modem will have potential drop-outs.
Consider The Speed of Your Internet Connection
Another important thing to consider when choosing a modem is the speed of your internet connection. This is because not all modems are created equal, and some are better equipped to oversee high-speed connections than others. For example, the best cable modem will be able to take advantage of the fastest internet speeds, while still providing you with a stable connection.
Decide The Maximum Speed of Your Connection
Another important consideration is the maximum speed of your connection. This will decide the maximum speed that your modem is capable of supporting. If you have a slow internet connection, there's no point in getting a high-speed modem.
Consider The Range
If you're looking for a wireless modem, then you'll need to consider the range. This is especially important if you have a large home, or if you plan on using your modem in a public place.
Decide What Features You Need
Another thing to consider when choosing a WiFi modem is what features you need. Do you need something that's lightweight and portable? Or are you looking for a modem with advanced security features? Be sure to consider your needs before making a purchase.
Once you've considered your connection type and decided what features you need, you can start comparing prices. Be sure to compare both the first cost of the modem and the ongoing costs of using it. This will help you to find the best value for your money. Products like the Netgear modem are a great place to start, as they offer a wide range of features at a reasonable price.
Read Online Reviews
Finally, be sure to read online reviews before making your purchase. This will help you to get an idea of what other people think of the modem you're considering, and whether or not it's worth the money.
In order to connect you to the online world, your devices must work together by sending one another data. Modems play a key role in this dynamic, allowing you to connect to the internet so you can stay connected with family, friends, and work.
While the topic can get a little complicated, it's one surely worth understanding for the value it brings to our daily lives.
With the above considerations in mind, be sure to do your research before making a purchase on your next modem. By taking the time to find the right product, you can be sure that you'll stay connected for years to come. Lenovo offers a great variety of Wi-Fi modems sure to meet your every need. From the Netgear wireless modem to the Arris modem, we have you covered. Shop today!