Modem vs Router: How Different Are They, And Which One To Choose?

Jan 6, 2022
By Staff writer

What's the difference between a modem vs router? These are two of the main gadgets that link your internet from your provider to your device. Although they may be used interchangeably and one can substitute for the other, they have different purposes and functions.

So, how exactly do they differ and which one should you choose? Is it necessary to get both gadgets or just one will do? Which one fits the needs of your Broadband plan and household?

What is a modem?

Short for modulator-demodulator, a modem connects you to your internet service provider's signals, so you're able to access the internet. It takes the data and the action that you want to do, encodes them, sends and directs them to the right server, and receives or enables the information.

For example, you want your Facebook timeline to show the newer posts of your friends. Once you click the refresh button, your modem sends the request to Facebook that you want to refresh your feed. Then, Facebook responds to the request from your modem to refresh your feed. You can confirm that your timeline has refreshed once you see newer posts.

While this seems like a complicated process, all of these happen in just a fraction of a millisecond, depending on your internet speed. A modem can also send and receive requests from your device to servers both wired and wireless. 

Read: How Much Is The Average Internet Bill In New Zealand?


What is a router?

Your router enables multiple devices to connect to your internet. A modem can do this too, but it’s not very efficient at connecting devices wirelessly. From the name itself, your router simply routes your connection and broadcasts it through the Wi-Fi network. This is more effective in distributing signals throughout your property.

For other gadgets that boost or distribute wireless signals such as mesh networks, Wi-Fi repeaters, and extenders, they connect to the router to route these signals better. These gadgets are ideal for larger homes or bigger households where a lot of people use the internet at the same time. 

Wireless signals from routers are prone to connection drops, losses in quality, and lags. It’s important to choose a router that supports the newer Wi-Fi technology, preferably Wi-Fi 5, 6, or 6E. This doesn’t eliminate the loss of bandwidth or connection quality, but it minimises it so that it can at least match the speed that you get from a wired connection.

Read: 10 Best Routers To Boost Your NZ Broadband Plan

Should you get both a modem and router for your home?

If you’re getting a new modem or router, either one is fine. Nowadays, both gadgets have the functionality of the other one, so it won’t really matter which one you choose for your home. Either of them can work just fine whether it’s through a wired or wireless connection.

This also means it’s not necessary to get both of them for your home. Of course, if you have a bigger home, it may require you to have additional broadband boosters. Other than that, you’re all set, as long as the modem or router that you have is at least 5 years old. 

If your router or modem only has one function, you can either purchase the gadget that you’re lacking. However, a more practical option would be to purchase a new modem or router all together to have both functionalities and newer broadband tech.

You can just as easily opt for a modem router combo. You not only save space, but also money on either equipment rental fees, or investing in separate devices. Just make sure you're truly getting your money's worth.

Read: MyRepublic Promos: Ultra-Fast Router, 6 Months Half Price, Customisable Deals, and Bigger Savings

What are the best routers and modems in New Zealand?

There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing the best routers or modems in the market. Some of these include speed, number of ethernet ports, security features, Wi-Fi generation, and price. 


Ethernet ports


Security features


Google Nest Wifi AC220 Mesh Wifi System

Up to 2.2Gbps

2x Gigabit Ethernet ports

Wi-Fi 5

WPA3 encryption

$269-299 (1 pack)

TP-Link Deco M5 AC1300 Whole Home Mesh WiFi System

Up to 867 Gbps - Wi-Fi 5: 802.11ac (5GHz)

2x Gigabit ports

Wi-Fi 5



$143.99-$172.27 (1 Pack); $12/month rental on a 24-month term with MyRepublic

ASUS RT-AX3000 Gigabit Dual-Band Wi-Fi 6 Router

Up to 2.40Gbps - Wi-Fi 6: 802.11ax (5GHz)

4x RJ45 Gigabits BaseT for LAN

Wi-Fi 4, Wi-Fi 5, Wi-Fi 6

WPS support, WPA/WPA2/WPA3-Personal, WPA/WPA2-Enterprise

$499.00-$526.25 (1 Pack); $20/month rent to own on a 24-month term with MyRepublic

ASUS RT-AX89X Wi-Fi 6 AX6000 Gigabit Gaming Router

Up to 4.80Gbps - Wi-Fi 6: 802.11ax (5GHz)

1x RJ45 10Gbps BaseT for WAN/LAN, 8x RJ45 1Gbps BaseT for LAN

Wi-Fi 4, Wi-Fi 5, Wi-Fi 6

WPA2-PSK, WPA-PSK, WPA-Enterprise , WPA2-Enterprise , WPS support

$948.99-$987.72 (1 Pack); $35/month rent to own on a 24-month term with MyRepublic

NETGEAR Nighthawk R7000 AC1900 WiFi Router

Up to 1.9Gbps

4x Gigabit Ethernet ports for LAN

AC1900 Wi-Fi (600 + 1300 Mbps) 802.11ac Dual Band Gigabit

Standards-based WiFi Security (128-bit AES encryption with PSK)


D-Link AC750 Dual-Band DSL-2878 Modem Router

Up to 433Mbps at 5GHz

4x Gigabit Ethernet ports for LAN

AC750 Wi-Fi (300+433Mbps)

WPA/WPA2 encryption


TP-Link Archer VR1600V Wireless Dual Band Modem Router

Up to 1.3Gbps at 5GHz

4x 10/100/1000Mbps RJ 45 LAN Ports

IEEE 802.11ac/n/a 5GHz, IEEE 802.11b/g/n 2.4GHz


$5/month open rental

D-Link AC2600 DSL-3900 Viper Modem Router

Up to 1.73Gbps at 5GHz

4x Gigabit Ethernet Ports for LAN

AC2600 Wi-Fi (800 + 1753 Mbps)

WPA/WPA2 encryption


Netgear Nighthawk AX4 4-Stream AX3000 Wi-Fi 6 Router

Up to 2.4Gbps at 5GHz

4x 10/100/1000 Mbps Gigabit Ethernet ports for LAN

AX3000 WiFi 802.11ax Dual Band

Standards-based WiFi Security (128-bit AES encryption with PSK)


TP-Link AX6000 Next-Gen Wi-Fi Router

Up to 4.80Gbps - Wi-Fi 5: 802.11ax (5GHz)

8x Gigabit LAN Ports

Wi-Fi 6



Pair your router or modem with the best broadband plan. Compare, switch, and save, right here at glimp!

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