Modem Vs. Router for NBN: What’s the Difference?


When it comes to setting up an NBN connection, there are two key devices you’ll need: a modem and a router. While the terms are often used interchangeably, they actually refer to two different pieces of equipment that each serve an important purpose.

So, what’s the difference between an NBN modem and an NBN router? Let’s break it down.

What is a modem?

A modem is responsible for connecting your home network to the internet service provider (ISP). It does this by converting signals from your ISP into data that your computer or other device can use. Modems come in both wired and wireless versions; however, most ISPs will provide you with a wireless modem when you sign up for their services.

Common types of modem

Different types of modems are available depending on the type of internet connection you have. These include:

  • The most common modem is a Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) modem, which connects to your telephone line and provides broadband access.
  • Cable modems, on the other hand, use coaxial cable to connect you to your ISP.
  • Lastly, fibre optic modems are used with Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) connections to provide superfast speeds.

What is a router?

Routers are devices that enable you to connect multiple computers, tablets and other devices to your home network. They also manage the flow of data from your modem so that it can be shared among multiple users in your home or office. 

Routers come in both wired and wireless versions, but the type you choose will largely depend on how many users you plan to have on your network and what types of activities they’ll be engaging in.

What is an NBN router?

An NBN router is a special type of router that’s designed to work with the National Broadband Network (NBN). This type of router typically comes with multiple ports and antennas so that it can be connected to different types of internet connections, such as fibre, cable and ADSL. 

Do you still need a modem if you already have a router?

If you already have an NBN router, then you don’t need to buy a separate modem. However, if your router isn’t compatible with the technology used by your ISP (e.g., cable or fibre optic connections), then you may need to purchase an additional modem in order for your connection to work properly.


Modem and router are two different devices that both play important roles in setting up an NBN connection. A modem is responsible for connecting your home network to the internet service provider (ISP) while a router manages the flow of data within your home or office network. 

While it’s possible to use one device as both a modem and a router, you may find that purchasing separate devices allows for more reliable connections and greater flexibility in how you use your network.

Ultimately, which device is best for you will depend on the type of internet connection you have and the number of users who need to access it. It’s important to do your research ahead of time to ensure that you’re getting the right modem or router for your needs.

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