Modems, routers and gateways

The terms “modem”, “router” and “gateway” are often misused and confused. Let’s de-confuse them!

What is a modem?

A modem is a device that receives information from the outside world through your internet service provider (ISP) and brings it to your home. The modem connects to the network infrastructure that connects your home - phone line, coax cable, fiber optic line, or other - and converts it into a digital signal.

What is a router?

A router is a device that pushes the signal from a modem out to your personal devices like computers, phones or tablets through a wired or wireless (Wi-Fi) connection.

The router in your house creates a single network (known as a local area network, or LAN) that all your devices can connect to. Your modem sends information to and from internet, the router directs it to and from your devices.

Nokia WiFi Beacons can act as a router. You just need to connect the Beacon to your existing modem with an Ethernet cable.


What is a gateway?

A gateway is a single device combining both the modem and router.

As its name suggests, the Nokia WiFi Gateway 3 combines both modem and routing functions in one. The Gateway 3 can be used when you have a fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) service from your ISP.


Case 1: you only have a modem

Your first Beacon should be connected to the modem via the Ethernet cable. This becomes your router or root Beacon.

Case 2: you have a gateway (modem and router as one device)

You have 2 options:

  1. Use your Nokia WiFi Beacon as your router (default). The Beacon will set up a new Wi-Fi network in your home. To avoid having to re-configure all your devices, you can change the SSID on your existing gateway and then configure the Nokia WiFi Beacon. You can also simply switch off Wi-Fi in your gateway.
  2. Use your Nokia WiFi Beacon in bridge mode. In this case, the Nokia WiFi Beacon extends the network in your home, using the same SSID as your existing gateway. This simplifies your home network. Some applications and services may only work properly in bridge mode as it avoids double IP addresses.