Router vs Gateway vs Modem for Cable Internet: Which do I need?

Learn > Cable Modem & Routers > Router vs Gateway vs Modem for Cable Internet: Which do I need?

To get cable Internet in your home, there are a few devices that you need to know about:

  • Cable modem
  • Router
  • Gateway

The difference is whether you want two devices or one device to get an Internet connection. There are pros and cons to each option.

For cable Internet, you definitely need a cable modem. This will give you a reliable, wired Internet connection. If you want wireless Internet (WiFi), then you also need a router. If you don’t want separate devices, get a gateway – also called a cable modem router – which is a device that is both a cable modem and router.

Here is a breakdown of each type of device, what they do and how they differ.


What is a modem?

A modem is the device that speaks directly with the Internet service provider (ISP). There are different types of modems. For this page, we specifically focus on the cable modem. A cable modem communicates with an ISP through the same coaxial cable you use for cable TV. You can directly plug in your device for an Internet connection, or the data comes in and passes onto the router for WiFi.


What is a router?

A router receives data from a modem and translates it into something that wireless devices understand. The translated data is called a WiFi signal. The router is the central hub of a wireless Internet (WiFi) network.


What is a gateway?

While you can have a cable modem and a router to get cable Internet in your home, you may not want individual devices. There are many reasons why: convenience, small living space, cost savings, etc. The solution is to get a combined device called a gateway (or cable modem router). These modem/router combo devices offer the convenience of one device that performs the function of a cable modem and a router.


Which do I choose?

There isn’t a right or wrong answer. The set up you choose depends on your situation, needs and whether you are renting or buying. For example, a gateway (cable modem router) could be the best solution for you if you don’t have a lot of space for clutter and want a cost-effective option. However, if customization is a priority, then choosing separate cable modem and router devices will work best for you. It also depends on which devices are compatible with your ISP.

Hitron’s CODA DOCSIS 3.1 Cable Modem is available on Amazon,  The CODA has DOCSIS 3.1 to deliver the fastest Multi-Gigabit speeds to your connected devices.  Learn more about cable modems or cable modem routers by reading Hitron’s ​Learn Page​.


NEW! Now Available at Retail!

CODA DOCSIS 3.1 Cable Modem

Related Articles

What is WPS on my Router?

If you’ve looked closely at your WiFi router, you might have noticed a button marked “WPS” somewhere on it. What is this button? Why is it there and should you press it? Great questions. WPS stands for WiFi Protected Setup.  A router with a WPS button can allow any...

When Should I Reset vs Restart my Cable Modem?

When you should do a cable modem restart or reset depends on the situation. It’s extremely important to understand these terms as the function of these terms have different meanings. In simple terms, to restart or reboot your modem means to turn off your modem and...

What is WiFi 6 and Is WiFi 6 Really Better?

WiFi 6 (also known as 802.11ax) is the most recent version of WiFi. It’s the best version of WiFi to date, with more support, faster speeds, less network congestion, better security, improved battery life for devices, and more. If you are looking for the latest and...

How do I set up my cable modem?

There are differences in setting up your cable modem whether you purchased or rented the device. If you bought your own cable modem, you should check the user manual or manufacturers' support website for specific details. For example, Xfinity (Comcast) and other Cable...

Can I use any cable modem for Cable Internet?

The right cable modem or cable modem router combo to use to get cable Internet in your home depends on a few things: Whether you are renting vs buying Certification and compatibility with your Service Provider Must-have features to consider For example, if your...

These Hitron products are now available on Amazon!

You can own high-quality, Carrier-grade products!

Coax Cable Tester

DOCSIS 3.1 Cable Modem

MoCA 2.5 Coax to Ethernet Adapter

Featured Articles


Buying vs Renting a Router

Should you invest in your own Internet equipment and buy a router instead of renting one from your Internet service provider (ISP)? It depends on the cost and your preferences. Here are some pros and cons to help you decide.

Cable Modem Routers… A Complete Guide

This friendly, complete cable modem guide will answer your essential questions about cable modems, comparisons, compatibility and more FAQs that matter to you.

What is a Router?

A router is a small box that translates data from your modem to communicate a Wi-Fi signal to the devices on your local network. Learn more.

Why Buy a Gateway Instead of a Modem?

Should you invest in your own Internet equipment and buy a gateway or cable modem router instead of a modem? Or, should you rent it from your Internet service provider (ISP)? It depends on cost and your preferences. Here are some pros and cons to help you decide.

Let me know when the OS2210 is available?