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Modem, Router, Switch, and Access Point: What's the Difference?

Ever wondered how the internet works at home? Think of a modem as the device that connects your place to the internet service provider. It's like the gateway to the online world. A router, on the other hand, helps direct the internet traffic within your home, ensuring that your devices can communicate with each other and access the internet.

Now, when it comes to a switch and a hub, these are like traffic controllers for your network. They help manage the flow of data between different devices, making sure everything gets to where it needs to go.

Connecting to the internet might seem simple when you're just using Wi-Fi, but understanding these devices becomes important when troubleshooting issues or upgrading to faster equipment. 

In this blog, we will explore how the access point distributor differs from the networking switches distributors in the UAE. Let’s dig in!

Modem: Your Connection to the Internet

Our modem is like the entry point to the internet.. Imagine a cable, fiber optic, or telephone line bringing the internet to your neighborhood, and that connection comes into your house and plugs into your modem.

Now, the modem does a trick called modulation and demodulation, or "mo-dem" for short. When you send stuff from your computer to the internet, the modem turns the digital language (made up of 1s and 0s) into a form that the cable or telephone wire can carry, kind of like a language translation. And when the internet sends stuff back to your computer, the modem translates it back into the digital language your computer understands.

Usually, your internet service provider (ISP) gives you a modem for a small monthly fee. But here's a tip: depending on your ISP, you might be able to buy your modem and save some money in the long run.

Router: Linking Your Devices to the Internet via the Modem

Think of your modem as the entry point to the internet, like the front door of a building. However, it can only handle one thing at a time, a bit like having just one address for the entire building.

Now, imagine a router as the person inside the building who directs traffic and manages communication between all the different rooms (devices) in the building. The router gives each device its own "apartment number" (internal IP address) so they can talk to each other without any confusion.

When information comes from the internet, the modem brings it to the router, which then delivers it to the specific device that asked for it. This way, if you're watching cat videos on your laptop, your phone doesn't get bombarded with them.

The network created by your router is called a local area network (LAN), linking your devices at home. It then connects to a wider network called a wide area network (WAN), which, in most cases, is simply "the internet." So, your router makes sure your devices can smoothly communicate with each other and with the vast online world.

Role of Access Points

In the past, computers needed a tangle of wires to access the internet. But today, we can link all our devices through Wi-Fi, making it wire-free. To make this happen, we use something that spreads this wireless signal. It's called a wireless access point, and it connects to your router using a cable (usually Ethernet). This access point talks to devices that don't have cables using wireless signals.

Most places have routers that already include a built-in wireless access point. However, in big businesses, it's common to see separate access points. They use multiple access points together to cover a large area.

Now, for bigger places with Wi-Fi dead spots, there's a solution called mesh network kits. These kits use several units to cover your house in Wi-Fi better than range extenders. If you already have a router, they act like additional wireless access points. But, they can also take on the role of a router, although with fewer features.

Switching it Up: Adding More Devices to Your Route

Every router has built-in ports to connect devices, but sometimes there aren't enough, especially with all the smart gadgets we use today. Enter the switch – it's like a power strip for your internet. If your router runs out of ports, just plug a switch into it. You can now connect your extra devices to the switch.

Remember, a switch can't do what a router does, like creating a network or assigning IP addresses. It's more like a traffic cop, managing signals.

Also switches with hubs are different but look similar. Hubs simply copy incoming signals to all devices connected, not managing the traffic. But, hubs are pretty rare in modern workplaces.

Streamlining Connectivity With Multiple Features into Single Units

Imagine your internet connection as a highway that allows information to travel to and from your devices. In the past, people used separate devices for different tasks: one for managing the traffic (router), another for connecting to the internet (modem), and a third for enabling wireless connections (access point).

Nowadays, it's common to have a single device that does all these jobs. It's like having a highway manager (router), an on-ramp to the internet (modem), and a wireless billboard (access point) all in one. 

Some people prefer this combo because it saves space and reduces cable clutter. However, some prefer having distinct devices for greater flexibility.


Understanding the ins and outs of your internet setup might seem like a complex task, but breaking it down simplifies the process. While some prefer the simplicity of an all-in-one device, others appreciate the flexibility of keeping these functions separate.

For networking switches distributors in UAE, access point authorized distributor in UAE, and networking products suppliers in Dubai, consider Bizaar as your tech solution.


  • Should a router and IP address be the same?

No, a router and an IP address are not the same. A router is a device that directs internet traffic within your home network, assigning local IP addresses to devices. An IP address, on the other hand, is a unique identifier for each device connected to the internet.

  • Does the router know its public IP?

Y​​es, the router knows its public IP address. The modem, which connects to the internet service provider (ISP), assigns a public IP address to the router. The router manages the local IP addresses for devices within your home network.

  • Does a modem in bridge mode have an IP address?

Yes, even in bridge mode, a modem has an IP address. However, in bridge mode, the modem functions primarily as a pass-through device, allowing the connected router to handle the assignment of IP addresses to devices within the home network.

  • What is the difference between a router and a modem?

A modem connects your home to the internet service provider, translating digital signals between your home network and the ISP. A router, on the other hand, manages the flow of internet traffic within your home, assigning local IP addresses to devices and directing data between them.

  • What is the role of a modem and a router from the ISP? 

The modem's role from the ISP is to establish and maintain the connection to the internet. It translates signals between the ISP and your home network. The router's role is to manage the local network, directing internet traffic between devices in your home and connecting to the wider internet through the modem. Together, the modem and router enable your devices to access and communicate over the internet.

Read also: Ubiquiti vs. MikroTik — Which One is Better For a Network?