When you subscribe to an internet service provider, you usually receive an internet modem in the welcoming kit. This device is responsible for establishing your connection to the internet service provider and from there to the overall World Wide Web. In simple words, a modem is a device that transmits digital data across a network of computing devices and servers, and is short for “modulator-demodulator.” It becomes a modulator when it encodes digital signals for transmission, and takes on the role of a demodulator when it decodes the received signals.
Depending on the type of internet modem you have – wired or wireless, external or integrated – your internet reception and experience may vary. You have the option to lease your modem from your ISP or get it included free of cost in your plan, as is the case of Spectrum Internet, which delivers high-powered speeds through its high-performance modem without requiring you to pay a monthly rental. You can also purchase your own model from the market, only if it’s compatible with your connection.
No matter which way you go about it, knowing the type of modem you have will benefit you greatly in every sense of the word. Here are the main types of internet modems that you should be aware of:
Types of Internet Modems
- External Modem
An external modem is a network device that stands on its own. This modem is connected externally to a computer, and consists of small lights as indicators that show the progress of the data transfer. Usually, Ethernet cables are used to connect an external modem to a computer system; while another cable runs between the hardware and the wall outlet, allowing the modem to send and receive bandwidth signals to and from the Internet Service Provider.
It may be a dial-up modem or a broadband modem, compatible with DSL, cable, fiber and other connection types. These external modems are very easy to set up and use and do not take up a lot of time.
- Internal Modem
An internal modem, also known as an on-board modem, is another type of modem that is inserted into the motherboard of a system. It is shaped like an expansion card, and unlike an external modem, it does not consist of LED indicators that may exhibit the state of the data transfer. This type of modem usually comes pre-installed in a desktop, and uses the computer’s power supply to function well. Since it does not take up space outside the system, it is cheaper than most modem types. You also don’t have to worry about the upkeep of the hardware.
On the downside, an internal modem may not be a good fit for you if you live in a high-outage area. Why? Because it won’t show you the “no internet” signs, leaving you wondering for good.
- Wireless Modems
These modems are designed to function with cellular technology and wireless local area networks, and are also known as “Radiofrequency Modems.” The wireless modem system is still evolving, and the technology seems to be continually advancing, making it get better and better. A Wi-Fi modem can translate the data packets sent by the ISP and distribute them wirelessly to the devices in an area. The dual-functionality makes it a tad expensive.
- Cable Modem
A cable modem is an electronic network device that permits high-speed data access through a cable TV network. Most cable modems are now external devices that can be attached to a personal computer (PC) or a wireless router with a standard Ethernet cable and to a wall outlet with a twisted-pair wiring.
Service providers give you a cable divider that split cables into two. One cable inserts into the cable modem and the other one go into the TV for internet connection.
- DSL Modem
Another type is DSL modem, which stands for Digital Subscriber Line. This modem is connected to your ISP over a telephone line. Your DSL modem can be attached to your computer or a wireless DSL router via Ethernet. It is simple to install.
- Fiber Optic Modem
Fiber cable modem is another type of modem which connects to a fiber optic provider through fiber optic cables that carry internet data in the form of light pulses. This modem translates the light signals into digital ones so that they can be read and processed by your router or PC.
Fiber cable modems are different from other regular modems because they are geared for Gig-level speeds and require high-functioning routers to convert wired signals into wireless ones. They are usually provided by fiber internet companies to support top-tier fiber internet plans.
Features of Modems
Modems have several features and specifications. Some of these features include:
The encoding and decoding, otherwise known as the modulation and demodulation standards, determine the speed of the modem. The rate at which data travels through the modem is known as its speed. This rate is calculated in “bps”, the unit of measurement, which means “bits per second”. Every modem has a different speed. For instance, the speed of modems can be 2400 bps, 9600 bps, or even 56.5 kbps.
- Voice over Data:
Many modems support a shift between voice and data modes. In the data mode, the modem works like a regular modem. Voice for the most part implies that the modem is able, with suitable programming, of supporting the telephone answering machines, as well.
While there might be several other modems types, we have mentioned those that can be considered as the important ones and the ones that are used more than other modems.
Now, if you understand them correctly, you will be able to identify the types of modems in the future and assess them by the features mentioned above.