Do Cable Modems Need a Router?

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Do Cable modems need a router? While your cable modem doesn’t need a router to deliver an Internet connection, the addition of a router offers the benefits of a WiFi connection and adds flexibility to your home network. Your home network is only as good as the hardware you use. The basics of a home network include two main components: a modem and a router. However, you do have options in how you design your home networking set up. Cable modems, routers, and gateways offer a variety of benefits and flexibility so you can create a home networking set up that meets your needs.


How does a cable modem work?

A cable modem is the primary connection between you and your Internet Service Provider (ISP). The cable modem is a device that connects to the coaxial outlet to deliver Internet connectivity to a single, wired device. In essence, a cable modem is responsible for:

  • Accessing the ISP – This is the most basic function of the cable modem as it connects your home network to your ISP and selected data plan.
  • Using services – Beyond just an Internet connection, your cable modem may also be responsible for bundled services, from voice calling to TV services through your ISP.
  • Internet speeds – Your modem also significantly impacts the Internet speeds you have access to. A quality modem delivers the highest quality connection and speeds available to you through your ISP.


Cable modem with a router

In order to get enable WiFi in your home network, you will need to pair your cable modem with a router. The router powers WiFi and allows you to connect multiple devices to your network wirelessly, where as the modem is limited to a wired connection to a single device.


Gateways and cable modem router combos

Depending on how your ideal home network setup looks, you may prefer to simplify things with a gateway or cable modem router combo. A gateway combines the modem and router into a single device, eliminating complicated set up processes, additional wires, and compatibility issues. Cable modem routers allow for a physical wired connection as well as a WiFi connection for added versatility.

How you configure your home network can significantly improve your Internet quality and speeds. Some consumers prefer to keep their cable modem and router separate for easier upgrades, while others enjoy the convenience offered by a gateway. To find out which home network set up is right for you, check out Hitron’s Complete Guide to Cable Modem Routers.

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