Meaning of Modem

A modem is a device that enables Internet access. In simple terms, the device exchanges digital signals over a telephone line. In the 1990s, surfing the Internet was characterized by loud dial-in noises and long loading times. Modern modems not only work quietly, but also much faster.

  • A modem is a communication device that exchanges and processes digital signals.
  • With the help of a modem, a computer is able to interpret the signals coming from the telephone line.
  • VDSL routers enable Internet, television and telephony via one connection.
  • A fiber optic modem delivers significantly faster transmission rates and is entering the gigabit range for the first time.

What is a modem?

The term “modem” is made up of the words ” Mo ” dulator “and to the combined odulator”. This means that the communication device both receives and sends digital signals. It is able to exchange signals between two digital end devices even over long distances and to separate the data from the telephone signal. If a modem receives signals, it demodulates or filters the original data with the aid of a splitter. Only through this procedure is it possible for the computer to read out the incoming data.

Modern DSL modems operate at much higher carrier frequencies and use a greater bandwidth of the telephone line than earlier “narrowband” models. However, the upload rates are significantly lower than the download rates for all models.

What are the differences to a router?

A router is a network device with the ability to exchange data between multiple computer networks. A router is usually used to connect various devices to the Internet or to securely couple several network segments. The current standard for routers also includes a WLAN function. With a modem, however, the connection to end devices is made via an Ethernet cable . In addition, only one device can be connected to a modem; it is not possible to pair several devices at the same time. However, a modem is essential for Internet access.

For this reason, most households have either a modem and router or a router with a built-in modem. Such a combined device saves space and electricity, but in the event of a defect, both the network and the Internet connection break down. With a separate modem and router, the user only needs to replace the defective component.

The beginnings: The 56K modem conquers households

As early as the Second World War, the military used so-called radio teleprinters to transmit information via radio or telephone lines. A&T brought the first commercial device onto the market in the late 1950s. It had a transmission performance of 110 bits per second.

At the end of the 1990s, modems achieved a speed of 56 kilobits per second for the first time. However, there were two different transmission methods, K56flex and X2, which were not compatible with each other. In February 1998 the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) published the draft of a new standard with 56 kilobits per second (56K modem). This standard was named V.90.

The industry supported its introduction due to the frequent incompatibility of the existing standards. However, the devices of that time only achieved the transmission speed under ideal conditions. With normal cable line quality, the rate was around 30 to 40 kilobits per second.

Modern modems offer unlimited multimedia enjoyment

Advanced, higher transmission rates now enable complex, multimedia and interactive websites as well as the streaming of HD videos.

DSL and VDSL routers: Already sufficient for triple play offers

A conventional DSL connection (Digital Subscriber Line) achieves a download speed of around 16 megabits per second. The upload rate is usually little more than a megabit per second. On the other hand, routers designed for VDSL (Very High Speed ​​Digital Subscriber Line) offer 50 to 250 megabits per second for download and ten megabits per second for upload. With such a data transfer rate, internet access, telephony and television can be realized via just one connection. Using super vectoring , the modem even sends data at a speed of up to 40 megabits per second.

Fiber optic modem: speeds of up to 1,000 megabits per second

Some providers already offer Internet packages with a bandwidth of one gigabit per second. With glass fibers , data is transmitted by means of optical impulses and not electrically. This technology makes such high speeds possible. In addition, the signal is insensitive to electrical and magnetic interference. Usually a technician connects a commercially available router behind the fiber optic modem. Models with an integrated modem are still not very common. Usually the Internet provider provides the fiber optic modem.