When to Buy a New Modem and/or Router for Faster Internet

Router
Photo Courtesy of Pixabay – 3844328

Internet access requires a way for your computer to connect to the internet service provider such as your cable or phone company. The providers will usually try to lease you equipment such as a modem and/or router for a small fee. This adds up and in long run it’s better to buy your own equipment rather than lease. Some providers provide the equipment for free. You have to check with the provider. Even with the option to get free equipment, I know of people who still opted to buy their own stuff instead of relying on the service provider. I knew a person who had FiOS from Verizon and didn’t like their router. All you have to do with Verizon is to tell them to enable the data port and then your router should work. This person wanted some fancy “mesh” system for his router and for him it addressed his gaming needs. Sometimes, new standards come out like DOCSIS 3.1 or your current equipment no longer is compatible with your provider’s network. As a result, you need to upgrade.

When Should You Replace the Modem and/or Router

Well there is not a simple answer. The first thing you need to look at is the age of the modem. Some feel modems last two to five years, but I’ve seen them last much longer. They just not function as they should because things in the world of technology become obsolete long before they break.

Looking at things like internet speeds can give you a clue about the functionality of your modem. Are you getting the speed you are paying for? Normally you won’t but you should be in the ballpark so to speak. For example, if you are paying for 200 Mbps and you check your speed and you are getting 10 Mbps or less then you have a problem. Sometimes, speeds change can be throttled by the provider if you have a company punishing users who use too much data. An example of this may be something like you are streaming a lot of video all the time. The providers are cracking down on that sometimes. If that’s not the case, more people could be using the same connection in the case of cable causing speeds to drop a bit. Not like this though!

So maybe it’s the modem. Most providers will tell you if your modem is still compatible with their network. It may have been fine when you bought but times change. You could look whether new software could be downloaded or firmware updated to bring the modem speed and performance up too. This may be more of a pain considering these boxes aren’t purchased that frequently and even on of the pricier cable modem I saw for me was about $169. But I saw others for under a $100. But don’t run out to buy it just yet if you determined you need a new one. Check with the provider list of compatible equipment.

I saw one from Hitron that I never heard of get good reviews. So I checked with my provider and they have a nice list. The one I was looking at was on the list. However, others were not on the list. Maybe one of those would work but why risk it? Buy what you know is compatible from the start. If you want to stick with the same brand that you feel comfortable with then do that. I saw many choices for me.

When I got my first modem it was one of those combo units being a modem and router built into one. You could forgo the router altogether if you using just hard wired ethernet. Then you need an internet switch to split the internet to different ethernet lines. Most people get the router. It may be cheaper to get the combo, but if one does break or goes obsolete you stuck buying more stuff. I got the combo because the retailer screwed up and they listed my first combo unit for the modem price. I couldn’t pass up on the deal.

Cable internet also has modems based on DOCSIS standards like 3.0 for slightly older modems to the newer 3.1 standard. If you look at your provider they or the modem manufacture will tell the speeds it’s rated for. For example, one Hitron modem was rated for over 2 Gbps while the other was rated just under a gigabit per second. You may only be paying for 200 or maybe even 400 Mbps and if you’re good with that speed then why waste the money. Both of those modems were compatible and both were DOCSIS 3.1. The price really wasn’t that much higher. I was more interested in would it fit the space I need to put it!

There are new features you may want to take advantage of like dual-band wireless or the Wi-Fi standard, or perhaps there are better security options you need or want.

In the end, this does come down to budget and what you need. Once you confirm compatibility you should choose a modem and/or router get the better performance and quell the frustrations of sudden drops in speed or lost connections.

Internet access requires a way for your computer to connect to the internet service provider such as your cable or phone company. The providers will usually try to lease you equipment such as a modem and/or router for a small fee. That adds up and in long run it’s better to buy your own equipment rather than lease. Some providers provide the equipment for free. You have to check with the provider.

Even with the option to get free equipment, I know of people who still opted to buy their own stuff instead of relying on the service provider. I knew a person who had FiOS from Verizon and didn’t like their router. All you have to do with Verizon is to tell them to enable the data port and then your router should work. This person wanted some fancy “mesh” system for his router and for him it addressed his gaming needs.

When should you replace the modem and/or router? Well there is not a simple answer.

The first thing you need to look at is the age of the modem. Some feel modems last two to five years, but I’ve seen them last much longer. They just not function as they should because things in the world of technology become obsolete long before they break.

Looking at things like internet speeds can give you a clue about the functionality of your modem. Are you getting the speed you are paying for? Normally you won’t but you should be in the ballpark so to speak. For example, if you are paying for 200 Mbps and you check your speed and you are getting 10 Mbps or less then you have a problem. Sometimes, speeds change can be throttled by the provider if you have a company punishing users who use too much data. An example of this may be something like you are streaming a lot of video all the time. The providers are cracking down on that sometimes. If that’s not the case, more people could be using the same connection in the case of cable causing speeds to drop a bit. Not like this though!

So maybe it’s the modem. Most providers will tell you if your modem is still compatible with their network. It may have been fine when you bought but times change. You could look whether new software could be downloaded or firmware updated to bring the modem speed and performance up too. This may be more of a pain considering these boxes aren’t purchased that frequently and even on of the pricier cable modem I saw for me was about $169. But I saw others for under a $100. But don’t run out to buy it just yet if you determined you need a new one. Check with the provider list of compatible equipment.

I saw one from Hitron that I never heard of get good reviews. So I checked with my provider and they have a nice list. The one I was looking at was on the list. However, others were not on the list. Maybe one of those would work but why risk it? Buy what you know is compatible from the start. If you want to stick with the same brand that you feel comfortable with then do that. I saw many choices for me.

When I got my first modem it was one of those combo units being a modem and router built into one. You could forgo the router altogether if you using just hard wired ethernet. Then you need an internet switch to split the internet to different ethernet lines. Most people get the router. It may be cheaper to get the combo, but if one does break or goes obsolete you stuck buying more stuff. I got the combo because the retailer screwed up and they listed my first combo unit for the modem price. I couldn’t pass up on the deal.

Cable internet also has modems based on DOCSIS standards like 3.0 for slightly older modems to the newer 3.1 standard. If you look at your provider they or the modem manufacture will tell the speeds it’s rated for. For example, one Hitron modem was rated for over 2 Gbps while the other was rated just under a gigabit per second. You may only be paying for 200 or maybe even 400 Mbps and if you’re good with that speed then why waste the money. Both of those modems were compatible and both were DOCSIS 3.1. The price really wasn’t that much higher. I was more interested in would it fit the space I need to put it!

There are new features you may want to take advantage of like dual-band wireless or the Wi-Fi standard, or perhaps there are better security options you need or want.

In the end, this does come down to budget and what you need. Once you confirm compatibility you should choose a modem and/or router get the better performance and quell the frustrations of sudden drops in speed or lost connections.

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