What Is a Modem and How Does It Work? Full Introduction Are Here [MiniTool Wiki]

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What Is a Modem and How Does It Work?

What is a modem? It is a small box or device located between the computer and the wall or cable box, depending on the type of Internet you are connected to. If using dial-up or DSL, the modem will be connected to the wall, if using a cable, it will be connected to the cable box or available coaxial cable.

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what is a modem

What is a modem used for? It is used to convert the data sent to it so that the data can be displayed on your computer. Computer information is stored digitally, but the information sent through telephones and cables is analog waves. Therefore, your modem receives an analog wave, converts it to a digital wave, and then transmits it to the computer.

In other words, your modem will connect you to the Internet so that you can watch videos, listen to music, check emails, play on Facebook, and whatever else you want to do online.

Related post: How to Restart a Router and Modem in a Proper Way?

History of Modem

What is a modem’s history? This section will give you detailed information:

  • The modem no longer needed to connect the teleprinter via the ordinary telephone line, and no longer needed the more expensive leased lines used for current loop-based teleprinters and automatic telegraphs. The earliest device that meets the definition of a modem may be the multiplexer used by news wire agencies in the 1920s.
  • In 1941, the Allies developed a voice encryption system called SIGSALY, which adopted a vocoder to digitize the speech, then used a one-time pad to encrypt the speech, and used frequency shift keying to encode digital data as tones. This was also a digital modulation technique, making it an early modem.
  • It was not until the late 1950s that commercial modems were basically unavailable. The rapid development of computer technology at that time caused a demand for methods to connect computers together over long distances. As a result, Bell and other companies produced more and more computer modems for use on switched and leased telephone lines.
  • Later developments would produce modems that operated over cable television lines, power lines, and various radio technologies, as well as modems that got higher speeds over telephone lines.

Types of Modems

There are three types of modems: cable, digital subscriber line (DSL), and dial-up. Now let’s get some information about them.

  • Cable modems make use of coaxial cables. One end connects to the back of the modem, and the other end connects to your wall or to the back of your cable box. Cable Internet is considered “high-speed” Internet.
  • DSL can be connected to an external modem (such as a cable, but using a different plug-in), or your computer already has an internal modem, which can be dialed in via a telephone line. Unlike dialing, you can still access the Internet during a call.
  • Dial-up is the earliest form of Internet connection. It uses your phone line to connect to the ISP. Compared with cable and DSL, dial-up modems are much slower. In addition, if there is only one phone line, you will not be able to access the Internet during a call.

What is a cable modem? And what are DSL modem and dial-up modem? This part has given you some information.

Related post: Modem VS Router: What Is the Difference Between Them?

How to Choose a Modem?

Before you purchase a modem, there are some things you need to consider:

  • Compatibility – Check if the modem is compatible with your computer (Windows, Mac, Linux, etc.) and compatible with your computer software.
  • Upload/download speed - Next, check the “upstream” and “downstream” speeds as they will vary between models. Normally, it will even be different from one direction (upload) to another (download).
  • Security – Check if the modem supports security features such as WPS (WiFi Protected Setups), WPA/WPA2 Security Protocol and WEP, TKIP, and AES (64/128 bit) Encryption.
  • Size and mounting options – You should check the size of the modem and see if it matches your other computer equipment. And some modems can even be fixed to the wall.
  • Price - The price of the modem ranges from $10 to over $175. The price difference depends on the type of connection, speed, and any features or “bells and whistles”.
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