Can I Just Buy A Router And Have Wi-Fi (Internet)?

Are you wondering if buying a Wi-Fi router is enough to have internet access in your home or office?

Unless your router has a built-in modem(modem-router combo), you can not connect to the internet with just a router. A router simply directs information (data packets) to the various devices in a network but doesn’t create an internet connection that wasn’t already existent. To access the internet you need the services of an ISP (Internet Service Provider), such as Comcast, AT&T, Verizon, etc.

Your ISP is responsible for setting up your internet connection and providing you with an IP address. Typically, your ISP will also provide you with a modem that connects to your router via the Internet/WAN (Wide Area Network) port.

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How A Router Works With A Modem

For a router to work with a modem, it has to be connected directly to it via an ethernet cable that plugs into the WAN/Internet port of the router. The modem converts analog signals from your ISP into digital signals that other devices can understand. The router then picks these signals and distributes them to the various devices in your network.

The video below explains how to connect your router to your modem:

Using A Wi-Fi Router And Modem Without An ISP (Internet Service Provider)

You can definitely use a Wi-Fi router without an ISP to create a LAN (Local Area Network) that will allow the devices within the network to communicate wirelessly with each other. However, the devices will not be able to access the internet. It is the job of the ISP to connect you to the internet.

Without an ISP you won’t be able to use a modem. The function of a modem is to receive analog signals from your ISP and translate them into digital signals that your local devices can understand, and vice versa. Therefore, without an ISP there will not be any signals for a modem to convert, thus rendering it useless.

If You Buy A Wi-Fi Router Do You Have To Pay Monthly?

If you buy a Wi-Fi router you still have to pay a monthly fee to connect to the internet. The internet is provided by an ISP (Internet Service Provider) who charges between $20 and $80 monthly depending on the active plan.

Without the services of an ISP the local network created by your router will only allow you to connect to other devices via Ethernet or Wi-Fi, but you won’t be able to access the internet.

Routers And Internet Service Provider Compatibility

Any router will not work with any ISP (Internet Service Provider) because it has to be compatible with the internet connection type offered by the ISP. The different types of connections offered include DSL (Digital Subscriber Line), ethernet cable, and satellite.

For example, if your old provider uses a DSL line and your new router supports a broadband connection, the two will be incompatible. Therefore, when buying your own router it is important to make sure it is supported by your ISP.

The Work of A Wi-Fi Router

A Wi-Fi router connects devices within a network by sending data packets between them via a wireless or wired connection. It is also responsible for keeping track of the IP address of each device to ensure that each data packet is directed to the right destination.

Using A Wireless Router Without The Internet

A router can work without the internet to create a LAN (Local Area Network) that allows devices within the network to communicate with each other, wirelessly or via cable. For example, in office setups devices such as printers, computers, and scanners can connect to the network to make sharing of documents across departments easier and faster.

Is Wi-Fi (Internet) Free With A Router

Even if you buy your own router, there is no free way to connect to the internet without paying for the services of an internet provider such as Charter Spectrum, CenturyLink, or Frontier communications. Usually, you have to pay a monthly fee and charges vary depending on the provider as well as the package you choose.

Getting Wi-Fi Without An ISP (Internet Service Provider)

You cannot get Wi-Fi without an ISP because a router is only able to distribute the internet access you’ve subscribed to from your internet provider. To get Wi-Fi/Internet you have to pay an ISP or Cellular carrier because routers and modems do not create internet connections of their own.

If the problem is that you live in a very remote area where high-speed internet is unavailable, you can choose to be your own internet provider. However, due to the high cost involved in setting up an ISP, this is not an option for many.


You can not simply buy a router and get Wi-Fi. You’ll still need the services of an ISP or Cellular carrier to get access to the internet. A router only allows you to broadcast the internet signal you receive from your ISP to the various devices in your home or office. Usually, you’ll need to pay a monthly fee to your ISP which varies depending on the package you choose.

Eustace G.
Eustace G.
Eustace is a technology enthusiast and avid gamer who holds a Bachelor's Degree in Telecommunication and Information Engineering. His passion and knowledge of computers, and technology in general, is channeled towards helping others understand complex concepts, solve problems, and make informed decisions.


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