What Is the Purpose of a Modem

Wondering what is the purpose of a modem? The modem is the piece of equipment you need to use to get online, but the specifics convey much more information.

What is the purpose of a modem?
The purpose of the modem is for you to connect to the Internet. Depending on what type of modem you have, your modem uses a different protocol to form an Internet connection. Some modems are always online, but other modems require you to form a connection with an Internet service provider, or ISP, before you start surfing.

Your modem may consist of external equipment or internal equipment, and it may require some setup to connect to the Internet. Modem security is a concern, as you don't want outside sources getting into your network via your Internet connection, but various security options exist to protect your computers.

What can you do with a modem?
Without a modem, you wouldn't be able to do anything online, such as checking e-mail, browsing the Web or playing games. Web surfing possibilities are endless, from banking online to distance learning or even online shopping. Modems are the gateway to an entire virtual world.

The different types of modems.
Dialup modems are typically built right into your computer, and you simply connect a phone cord to your computer and connect to an Internet service provider by dialing a designated phone number and authenticating your account information.

DSL modems use your phone lines, but they rely on different frequencies on the lines to connect to the Internet. DSL modems don't interrupt voice phone usage, so you can still talk on the phone and be online at the same time. DSL modems are typically a stand-alone piece of equipment, and they require you to install filters on your phone lines to direct the correct frequencies to their respective phone jacks.

Cable modems are always online. These modems connect to your normal cable wall jack and enable you to connect to the Internet by simply installing the service and powering up your modem. As long as your modem is powered on and your service is active, your modem is online. Cable modems provide some of the fastest Internet connections, although specifics vary depending on your provider and how many users are on your local cable hub at a given time.

Depending on your area, you may also have access to additional types of modems. Some regions have FiOS high-speed Internet, which is faster than cable Internet. You might have a 3G or Edge modem that enables you to connect to your cell phone's data network from your laptop. Other modems exist, although it's unlikely you'd encounter them in regular usage.

The modem: tech talk.
The word modem is short for "modulator-demodulator." Early modems that connected to phone lines had to modulate and demodulate your computer's analog signals to signals that phone lines could transmit. Modem technology has changed as various options have evolved, but modems still serve the same basic purpose today as when they were first created.

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What does "modem" stand for? "Modem" means "modulator demodulator," and a modem acts as a translator so that signals from the Internet and your computer can travel over phone lines.

How does a modem work? A modem, or "modulator/demodulator," allows your computer to send digital information over a phone line, and modern modems can now send the same information over cable lines.

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What is a computer modem? A modem on another computer translates digital data into an analog signal, and then the modem on your computer re-translates the signal into a digital format.

What is the function of a modem? A modem changes your computer data into a signal that can travel over a phone or cable line, and a modem at the receiving end turns the information back into a digital form.

How does a cable modem work? A cable modem speeds up your Internet because it sends and receives data over a cable line instead of your phone line.

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