Routers, gateways and modems what’s the difference?

Routers gateways and modems the difference

When talking about networking, you often hear many different terms: routers, gateways, modems. It becomes even more confusing when these terms are used in very comparable subjects. This article aims to discuss functionality and will highlight the key differences between routers, gateways, and modems.


Let’s start with modems. A modem is one of the oldest terms used when talking about networking. A modem is a piece of hardware built solely to perform one task and one task only: to send traffic from A to B without doing anything with the data. Historically, modems have been seen as primitive devices that are not programmable, so data security and routing capabilities are not present in these devices. Most modems cannot connect to the Internet without the software of the device to which it is connected.


As we have established, modems are one of the simplest networking devices. Let’s move on to routers, the most advanced devices in networking. Routers, like modems, are used to set up and manage an Internet connection. Every router has a modem. At this point the similarities end, when the router is used there is no need to use another device to operate it. Routers can set up an internet connection autonomously. In addition, routers can provide an Internet connection to multiple underlying devices via multiple interfaces. They have data routing capabilities to provide Internet access to multiple devices. The ability to handle multiple interfaces and different connected devices makes routers versatile and applicable in many use case scenarios. Another huge difference between modems and routers is the software functionality. Routers are usually equipped with advanced data security such as firewalls and multiple data tunneling services. These features provide comprehensive data protection and a lower threat to cyber-attacks. Overall, routers are best defined as network devices that provide a secure connection to multiple devices at once.


At last, let’s look at gateways. Gateway is a term that is widely used and often misused when it comes to networking. The term gateway is often confused with the term router and for good reason, as they are very similar. If you look at the functionality of most gateways and routers, you will find many similarities. Both routers and gateways work autonomously, both are usually equipped with extensive security functionality such as firewall and data tunneling capabilities.

So how are they different? The main difference between routers and gateways is the number of interfaces that can be supported. While routers are designed to manage multiple interfaces, gateways are usually designed to have only one interface. So it can be said that routers are meant to connect multiple devices to the internet and gateways are meant to connect only one device.

Hopefully this short article will enable you to distinguish the different types of hardware, for more information about routers, gateways or modems, you can contact us via telephone number 085-0443500 or by mail to