The most common use for modems is for both sending and receiving of the digital information between personal computers. This information used to be transmitted over telephone lines using V.92, the last dial-up standard, to an analog modem that would convert the signal back to a digital format for a computer to read.

Now, access to the Internet more commonly takes place using high-speed broadband modems.

Usually, you must use a WiFi Modem with Router that is compatible with your internet service provider’s network. Many internet providers rent a modem to you, which is advantageous if you’re not interested in picking your own or having to deal with any maintenance issues.

If you prefer to choose your modem, you typically want to get one that supports the fastest network speeds your ISP can provide. You may also want to look for one with a good warranty or one that doubles as a wireless router.

A wireless router sets up a Wi-Fi network in your home so devices can be connected to the internet and each other without being wired into the router or the modem. Some wireless routers are standalone devices that plug into a modem, while others are combined units that include modem functionality.

Some models of standalone routers are faster or more reliable than those built into modems.


Auto-answer – A modems ability to automatically answer the phone after the phone rings a set amount of times.

Data/Voice – Modems with voice capability that can switch between a voice and data communication.

Fax – Fax modems can send and receive a fax with the proper software.

V.90 – The standard that the modem uses also allows it to communicate at an optimal speed. When first introduced there were multiple standards, but today all 56 K modems should be using the V.90 standard.

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