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Broadband vs modem routers

Wireless Router Types - Broadband vs Modem Routers

Other than the wireless standards (which you can read about in our what is wireless n article), there are two main types of wireless router which are explained below:
   Broadband router
   Modem router

A broadband router (also known as a cable router) is a router where the broadband connection into the house /building has already passed through a modem. Don't be confused by the term broadband - this is so widely used now that it is almost meaningless. In the UK you probably want one of these wireless routers if you get your internet connection through a satellite, cable or fibre optic connection (typically Be, Virgin Media - previously NTL / Telewest, and sometimes Sky), or if your internet service provider (ISP) has already provided you with a modem for your internet connection and you don't mind having two pieces of equipment.

A wireless broadband router will connect directly to your broadband modem and broadcast that signal throughout the house.

Note: if you've got a modem but it only has a USB port for connecting it directly to a computer and no ethernet (network) port on it then you cannot use this with a broadband router and so will need to use a modem router.

Modem routers are as the name suggests routers with modems built-in. Excellent - you can get rid of one of those boxes and save power at the same time! The router will directly interpret the signal from your phone line (via the microfilter) and it will broadcast this directly to the house/building. The vast majority of these are for ADSL (Asynchronous Digital Subscriber Line) connections. If you get your broadband through your phone line you are probably using ADSL, ADSL2 or ADSL2+. A modem router means you can take the cable from the phone socket (microfilter) and plug it straight into the modem router to share the signal around the house.

Don't worry too much about the different ADSL standards, all modern modem routers can handle all of the standards and will automatically select the best one to use.

Recently some manufacturers have started to blur the lines between these two types of router, and are providing routers that can act as either a broadband router or a modem router as required. The Billion 7300N is an example of this type.

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