Internal Vs. External Modems

By Jay Darrington

The most important piece of hardware any Internet user can have is a modem. The reason being that without a modem, a computer cannot reach the Internet.Therefore, a modem is essential in order to have Internet access. When purchasing a modem, consumers find that there are two different types of modems: Internal modems and external ones.

Internal Modem

An internal modem is a modem that fits inside of a computer. Internal modems typically ship with the computer and come pre-installed. However, some computers may not have modems or the internal modem that came with the computer might be damaged or corrupt. In either case, using an internal modem does not take up any additional space outside the computer, and can be powered using the computer's own power supply.

External Modem

An external modem is similar to the internal modem in that it also allows access to the Internet, but unlike the internal modem, the external modem sits outside the computer. The external modem can be used when a computer is unable to fit an internal modem inside of it. The modem typically connects to the computer via a serial or USB cable, and is usually powered by an external source, rather then the computer.

Advantages/Disadvantages of the Internal Modem

Internal modems are usually cheaper then external modems. Furthermore, the internal modems, once installed, require little to no upkeep in order to maintain their appearance, and require no dusting whatsoever. Disadvantages lie in the fact that the computer user is unable to see the status of the modem directly, meaning that the Internet access could be compromised without the user ever knowing.

Advantages and Disadvantages of the External Modem

The external modem typically has a status light or other sensor that allows the user to check on the status of the Internet connection for the modem. In addition, because of the external power for the modem, less heat is created inside the computer, which means the computer lasts longer and is more productive. A major disadvantage to the external modem is that the modem needs to be maintained with dusting and vacuuming to keep it at peak performance. It also tends to be more expensive then internal modems.

Considerations

There are different reasons for buying an internal or external modem. If you desire something that you won't have to worry about dusting or cleaning, or taking up a plug on your surge protector, go with the internal modem. If you require security and less heat usage in your computer, purchase an external modem. Also note that several broadband modems cannot be purchased in internal versions. You will have to purchase broadband modems as external modems.