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What’s the Difference Between a Cable Modem and Router?

Comcast-Cable-Modem1Many boast about the numerous benefits of their service compared to dial-up. But rarely will they mention any of the potential consequences or dangers that come along with cable modems. This article will explain to you how a device called a ‘router’ (rhymes with ‘shouter’) can help keep your computer and its data safe from the Internet. Let’s discuss the differences between a cable modem and router.

Cable modems are wonderful devices. Once you’ve owned and installed a cable modem, you probably wondered how you ever lived without one. Your cable modem connects your computer to the digital world outside your home/office to the Internet. Your cable modem is always on and is ready whenever you are. But without proper protection, you can easily become infected with viruses, worms and spyware that can easily access and manipulate your computer! In fact, your computer could be invaded or infected without you ever realizing it. Knowing the difference between a modem and router is important.

What does a modem and router do?

A router serves three purposes:

A common misconception is that if you only have one computer, you don’t need a router. While you may not have a need for sharing your Internet connection, data or printers, a router provides security.

medium_4449431170All routers act as hardware firewalls. Some routers have more intelligent firewalls than others, but any router is better than none. Windows XP/Vista has a built-in firewall as do many Internet security software packages. However, all software is prone to being manipulated, disabled or otherwise damaged. Many viruses are specifically designed to do just that. Once your firewall is down, your computer will become extremely vulnerable to all sorts of Internet baddies.

Spam email messages, identity theft and the further spreading of Internet worms and viruses are jobs most commonly done by infected computers whose owners don’t have a clue anything is wrong. Infected computers are referred to as “zombies.”

Avoid Becoming a Zombie

A router can often times look very similar to a cable modem. Both are small plastic boxes with lots of blinking lights. They can look very complex and intimidating, but in reality they are extremely easy to install and use. So easy, in fact, you might forget you have one.

Note: Most cable modems do not come with routers, while DSL modems usually have routers already built-in.

To determine if you are currently being protected with a router, simply follow these easy steps:

  1. Click Start in the lower left corner of your computer.
  2. Click Run.
  3. Type CMD and click OK.
  4. Type IPCONFIG.
  5. Press the Enter key on your keyboard.

You should see a prompt like “C:>Documents and Settings\User>”

Pay particular attention to your IP Address. If your IP Address starts with 192.168.xx.xx or if your IP Address starts with 10.0.0.xx then you generally are being protected by a router.



Motorola Motorola 16x4 Cable Modem, WHITE Model MB7420, 686 Mbps DOCSIS 3.0
Personal Computer (Motorola)
  • Attractive White Case version of popular grey Motorola Model MB7420. Compact design minimizes shelf space, improves cooling, and extends product life while looking...
  • New in 2016, this 16x4 DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem provides speeds up to 686 Mbps, sixteen times faster than DOCSIS 2.0. A Full-Band Capture digital tuner ensures a faster...
  • Cable modem s Ethernet port connects to a computer, HDTV, game station, or wireless router. (This cable modem does not have a built-in wireless router or VoIP telephone...
  • Requires cable Internet service. Certified by Comcast XFINITY, Time Warner Cable, Cox, BrightHouse, and other leading cable service providers for modem ownership...
  • Attractive, compact design minimizes shelf space, improves cooling, and extends product life while looking great in any home or office. A two-year warranty plus...
Motorola Motorola 16x4 Cable Modem, WHITE Model MB7420, 686 Mbps DOCSIS 3.0
Personal Computer (Motorola)
  • Attractive White Case version of popular grey Motorola Model MB7420. Compact design minimizes shelf space, improves cooling, and extends product life while looking...
  • New in 2016, this 16x4 DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem provides speeds up to 686 Mbps, sixteen times faster than DOCSIS 2.0. A Full-Band Capture digital tuner ensures a faster...
  • Cable modem s Ethernet port connects to a computer, HDTV, game station, or wireless router. (This cable modem does not have a built-in wireless router or VoIP telephone...
  • Requires cable Internet service. Certified by Comcast XFINITY, Time Warner Cable, Cox, BrightHouse, and other leading cable service providers for modem ownership...
  • Attractive, compact design minimizes shelf space, improves cooling, and extends product life while looking great in any home or office. A two-year warranty plus...



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