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What Does Modem Stand For?

It's actually a combination of two words

The acronym modem is a shortened form of modulator-demodulator. It�s a device that

makes it possible for computers and routers to send and receive information through
a network like the internet by changing digital signals to analog signals, then
changing analog signals back to digital signals.

The modulator part of a modem converts outgoing digital information from a computer
into an analog signal that can be sent over a telephone, DSL, or cable line. The
demodulator part of a modem converts incoming analog signals into a digital format
that can be used by a computer.

Where Does the Word Modem Originate?

Modems were introduced in the late 1960s and were initially used to connect
terminals to computers through a telephone line. With these modems, data entered
into the terminal was converted into ASCII code which the modem sent to the
computer. The computer processed this data and sent a response to the terminal
through the modem.

Model ADC 300 modem, 1968

Brad Montgomery/via Flickr [Licensed under CC BY 2.0]
The first advancement in modem technology happened in 1972 with the introduction of
the smartmodem by Hayes Communications. Smartmodems could operate a telephone line
in addition to sending data. Smartmodems used the Hayes command set to answer
calls, make calls, and hang up the phone.

When personal computers became popular in the late 1970s, many users connected
their computers to a modem to access the internet and Bulletin Board Systems (BBS)
through their home telephone line. These first modems operated at 300 bps (bits per

In the 1980s and 1990s, modem speed increased from 300 bps to 56 Kbps (kilobits per
second). In 1999, ADSL became available with speed up to 8 Mbps (megabits per
second). In the early 2000s, broadband internet became available to more users, and
broadband modems became common among home users.

What Is a Modem in Computer Networking?

How Does a Modem Work?

When you go online, your PC or mobile device sends a digital signal to the modem,
and the modem creates a connection to the internet. When you open a web browser and
enter a website URL, the computer sends a request to view the website. The modem
converts this digital request into an analog signal that can be transmitted over
the phone or cable line.

Home Solution & wifi Devices network

pictafolio/Getty Images
The signal travels to the computer that hosts the website and is intercepted by
another modem. This modem converts the analog signal into a digital signal. Then,
the modem sends the digital signal to the host computer.

Next, the host computer responds to the request, again in digital format. The modem
converts the digital signal to an analog format and sends the response back to you,
where the modem converts the signal into a format that can be read by your device.

After you�ve finished browsing the web and go offline, your computer sends a signal
to the modem to disconnect the network connection.

Where is the Modem Located?

A modem is either a separate box or a component located inside a computer.

An external modem uses an RJ11 jack for DSL connections or a coaxial connector for
cable connections. It is contained in a separate box that connects to the computer
through a serial or USB port. It also has a cord that plugs into an electrical
outlet. The external modem supplied by your ISP may be a combination modem and

External 33.6kbit/sec serial port dial-up modem.

Frunze103/via Wikimedia Commons [Licensed under CC0 1.0]
There are three types of internal modems: Onboard, internal, and removable.

Onboard modems are built into the computer motherboard. Onboard modems cannot be
removed but can be disabled by switching off a jumper or changing the CMOS setting.

Internal modems use an RJ11 jack or a coaxial connector. These modems are an
expansion card that connects to a PCI slot inside a desktop computer.

Dialup Modem
karimian/via Flickr [Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0]
Removable modems connect to a PCMCIA slot in a laptop. Removable modems can be
added and removed.

To find the internal modem on a computer, look for an RJ11 jack, an RJ45 connector,
or a coaxial connector on the back or side of the computer. The RJ11 jack is used
for phone lines and looks like a wall jack. The RJ45 connector is an ethernet cable
connector. A coaxial connector is used for cable connections.

Cropped Hand Using Laptop On Table

Giacomo Mortara / EyeEm / Getty Images
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