With a little effort, you can replace your ISP’s modem or router – Comcast, AT&T, Cox, Time Warner Cable, Verizon and Charter Spectrum – and, in doing so, save money and improve your Wi-Fi signal.
What is the Difference Between a Modem and a Wi-Fi Router?
A modem and a router have very distinct jobs. The modem’s job is to communicate with your ISP over the Internet line to get the data you have requested, whereas the router’s job is to create a wireless network and then make sure each of the devices in your home gets the right data.
Why Replace Your ISP Modem?
1) Are you paying a rental fee for your ISP modem? If so, you can save that money by buying your own device. Of course, you have to buy the device, but, on average, you will recover the cost in about a year. Moreover, a modem has a three to five-year lifetime which means a great long term saving.
2) More control over your own network – ISPs often restrict access to some settings. If you are interested in doing some customization your own modem will give you greater flexibility.
3) Faster speeds and more stability – There is a host of companies out there whose business model is to make great modems, not sell Wi-Fi packages; understandably their quality and selections are better than the ISPs. You don’t need to be a power user to benefit if your ISP product is getting bad reviews. As each ISP has a different quality record on the gateway or modem product they provide, the best thing is to do a web search. When you read the reviews think about whether they ring true for you.
Router/Modem Combo versus Individual Modems and Routers
When you decide to replace your modem or your router you can do so with two devices or another combo device. The advantage of another combo device is that it takes up less space, but then the selling point of two devices is that you can have the best in each respective field and also going forward means you only have to replace one device if one breaks.
Why Change Your ISP’s Router?
You don’t pay a rental fee for a router whether standalone or part of a combo, but there are very good performance reasons why you may want to get a better router. As I mentioned above the router is making sure all of the devices in your home get seamless Wi-Fi coverage, but coverage is often not smooth.
Improved signal strength is not the only reason you may want to change your ISP’s Wi-Fi router. Routers have significantly improved in functionality over the last few years offering easy-to-use apps, parental controls, IoT security, integrated smart home functionality, and even voice activation through Amazon Alexa. If your ISP is not providing these features you are missing a real opportunity to improve your control over your Wi-Fi.
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