Cable modem+router recommendation needed

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  • #1
anorlunda
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TL;DR Summary
Should I rent/buy. What specs?
I am about to sign up for Comcast/Xfinity internet service for the next 6 months. I have the slowest 25 Mbps speed.

I'm not a gamer. Just WIFI for PF and other surfing plus one cable connection to my TV. For the previous 6 months, we got along fine using the WIFI hotspot from my phone. But I'm switching to a cheaper cell phone service so I'll need cable.

In the past I rented the modem/router for $10/month. But now they raised the rent to $15/month and I think I'll buy one. I'm looking for a recommendation.

My performance needs are low, but I do want plug and go setup, reliability, and something that won't be obsolete in a year.

Edit: I'm seeing prices from $50 to $250. That confuses me.
 
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Answers and Replies

  • #2
rbelli1
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Any of those will get you 25Mbps. I would suggest getting something with DOCSIS 3.1 or better as they support into the several hundred Mbps and usually run around $70. I'm not sure what the $250 one does unless it has a router built in.

The low end ones generally do not support more than one device unless you have a router too.

If you do connect directly to a modem only unit be sure to have a firewall on you device.

BoB
 
  • #3
Tom.G
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If you purchase, I, and a couple network gurus I've talked with, have been very satisfied with the Netgear brand of modem/router. 1Gb unit models start <$70 with useful lower-speed ones around $35. These units connect to the ISP coax cable and typically have 4 wired Ethernet ports and the higher price-range ones have dualband WiFi.

The two WiFi bands are in the 2.4GHz and 5GHz range, with 2.4GHz being the first one implemented many years ago. Many lower cost user devices work only on 2.4GHz, but these days there may be some with only the 5GHz band. The mid-range WiFi routers typically have only the 2.4GHz band

The downside to purchasing you own is you have to configure it; or find a knowledgeable friend to do it. If you rent, the supplier generally does the configuration.

If you don't personally do the configuration, make sure that ALL your desired devices have Internet access before the worker is allowed to leave! Don't let them go if their Test Set says everything is good but your devices can't communicate. Callbacks are not necessarily a high priority for the ISP.

Doing the configuration does need some understanding of networking but the documentatin I've seen is quite good. Configuring some of the devices can be a real headache though, especially desktop or tower computers.

Cheers,
Tom
 
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  • #4
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Summary: Should I rent/buy. What specs?

I am about to sign up for Comcast/Xfinity internet service for the next 6 months. I have the slowest 25 Mbps speed.

I'm not a gamer. Just WIFI for PF and other surfing plus one cable connection to my TV. For the previous 6 months, we got along fine using the WIFI hotspot from my phone. But I'm switching to a cheaper cell phone service so I'll need cable.

In the past I rented the modem/router for $10/month. But now they raised the rent to $15/month and I think I'll buy one. I'm looking for a recommendation.

My performance needs are low, but I do want plug and go setup, reliability, and something that won't be obsolete in a year.

Edit: I'm seeing prices from $50 to $250. That confuses me.
My cable company was also charging me $10/month for a cable modem/router, but my niece's husband, who was working for Xfinity at the time, advised me to buy my own. I bought a Motorola SURFboad eXtreme SBG6580, which was identical to the one that I was paying rent on. I've had it for maybe 5 years, and it cost about $90, so it paid for itself in 9 months or so. I still pay monthly rent on a digital tuner, or whatever it is, but if I could buy one, I would. Paying rent is a complete ripoff.

I did a quick check, and see that the brand name is now Arris, so perhaps Motorola sold to that company.

Once you get the modem/router, you need to contact your cable provider so they can get their system to recognize your modem.
 
  • #5
rbelli1
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Once you get the modem/router, you need to contact your cable provider so they can get their system to recognize your modem.

They may have a list of known compatible ones buried somewhere on their site. Sticking with one of those is your safest bet although any DOCSIS compliant modem should work.

BoB
 
  • #6
Tom.G
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Best ask your provider which DOCSIS standard they will talk to. The current 'standard' ones seem to be version 3.1and 4.0; with 3.0 phasing out roughly 8 years ago. At least some were backward compatible. The first was 1.0 or 1.1 around 1998.
 
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  • #7
sysprog
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I second the buy option, and I suggest that you check modem compatibility (probably any DOCSIS 3.0, 3.1, or 4.0 -- Motorola, Arris, or Netgear will be on the list) with the vendor in advance. I'm using a Netgear CM400 (DOCSIS 3.0) with Comcast/Xfinity internet-only cable service. That device can be had for around $50 and is adequate for my purposes.

The more expensive modems usually have built-in routers, and some have telephone ports. I recommend getting a router that is separate from the modem, so that you can upgrade one while retaining the other. as your future needs may direct. I suggest that you check with your service provider regarding the router also, as some of them can severely choke bandwidth, especially over wi-fi, depending in part on the specifics of the protocols used by the provider.

Ethernet connection is generally faster and more reliable than wi-fi. Ethernet powerline adapters allow running the signal over house electrical lines. Older house wiring systems may impair performance or be completely incompatible with powerline adapters, but I'm not using any powerline adapters, so that caveat is based only on my reading of anecdotal reports.
 
  • #8
rbelli1
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Ethernet powerline adapters allow running the signal over house electrical lines. Older house wiring systems may impair performance or be completely incompatible with power-line adapters,

They often will not work on the other leg or legs of your system without installing capacative bridges in the main switchboard.

BoB
 

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