Difference between Internal and External Modem

To better understand this in simple terms, we know there are two types of signals we have, Analog and Digital. Analog signals are the signals such as phone calls, and voice. Whereas digital signals are the computer byte code that is On or OFF.

So to make both signals work we need a device that can communicate between these signals. This device is MODEM. To give a proper definition of what a modem is: It is a type of hardware device that helps in changing the digital format of data to convert it into a format that can work with analog signals which is suitable for transmission.

But now you wonder why it is called a modulator and demodulator, well it is because it works in both ways, meaning when it converts digital signals to analog then it is called a modulator and when it converts the digital format into analog format then it is called Demodulator. Hence, it works for both conditions that's why it is called a Modem.

MODEM = Modulator + Demodulator

We are also going to see what modem is required and what are its features, it is given as follows −

  • It helps in providing internet access.

  • We don't need any router for connecting our devices to computers.

  • The fastest speed given is up to 56 kbps/ per second.

  • We can connect only a limited number of computers which can lead to network security and information security.

  • Budget-friendly as the speed also depends on the cost, so it is coverable for all users.

What is Internal Modem?

Internal modems are such modems that are present inside the motherboard of the computer or in simple words, it is inbuilt inside the computer. Every computer has its modem in it. It is considered a standard part of every computer switchboard.

Examples of internal modems are: Dial-up or Wi-Fi (Wireless)

Now, that you know what an internal modem is, let's look at its features and why it is important to use internal modems −

  • We don't lose our data during the conversion of digital to analog or analog to digital signals.

  • It creates an easy transmission process that helps in faster internet access and is more reliable.

  • It also has one cool feature and that is, it doesn't require any outside power supply to run, it will work the computer power supply.

  • We don't need to pay any extra charges as it is already built into the motherboard of the computer.

So, now you can see its features and how it helps in maintaining our network stability. We are moving to our next section and that is External modems.

What is an External Modem?

As the name suggests, the modems are present externally, outside the computer. The modems which we can connect to our computer externally are called external modems.

We can say it is a self-contained modem that does not depend on the computer board, while it is connected through USB or serial port to the computer. Examples of external modems are USB modems.

We connect our modems through USB and its power supply is also external. So when we don't have an internal modem in a computer or sometimes we don’t want to use our internal modem, we can surely go for external modems.

Now let’s look at the features and importance of external modems −

  • It is external so it will not depend upon the power supply of the computer, which is going to help in the performance of the computer, it will not heat the system and the system can work faster.

  • Since it is outside the computer, it is easy to move anywhere.

  • They are expensive as compared to internal modems due to their functionality and independence on the computers.

  • It is compatible with all types of computers, so even if a computer doesn’t support internal modems, we can connect external modems.

Differences between Internal and External Modem

As we looked at both of their types, examples, and features, let's now look at what are the differences between them −

Basis of Differences

Internal Modem

External Modem

Physical Installation

A built-in computer for internet access

Connected externally to the computer for internet access

Price factor

It is low in price.

It is relatively more expensive than internal modems

Power supply support

It works on the computer power supply

It requires an external power supply

Transfer type

It is Nontransferable to other computers

It is easy to use with any computer.

Requirements for maintenance

It requires no care like cleaning and dusting to maintain its performance.

It requires care and maintenance from dust and pollution as it is outside the computer.

Status availability

The user cannot see the status of the modem directly.

The user can see the status directly.


Sometimes it is not compatible with all types of computers

It is compatible with all types of computers

Now let’s move to the conclusion of our topic.


In this article, we have learned about what modems are and what their features are. We also learned that there are two types of modems: Internal and external modems, diving deep into their features and importance. Finally, we also looked at the difference between them. So, now we got the idea of how modems play a major role in computer internet access and transmission of signals to work over the network. Choosing which modems we want depends on our requirements and the internet speed that we want for various purposes.

Updated on: 17-May-2023


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