Need new Cable Modem + Router - Please recommend

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dundee
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Need new Cable Modem + Router - Please recommend

Post by dundee » Wed Jun 20, 2018 12:55 pm

Dear Bogleheads,

I have an old cable modem + wireless N-router at home. I want to upgrade to something better. Everything works ok, but, I want to keep up with technology. I am also hoping to get faster speeds. I have Spectrum cable + TV at home. We are average users - 2/3 computers, Cable TV, Netflix users. My home is colonial (2100 sqft).

1. Can somebody recommend a better (newer) Modem+Router?
2. Would I see faster speeds with AC-router?
3. Is there a new Modem + Router that uses Wireless mesh technology?
4. I would like to get something that will show me with an App - what devices are connected to my home wifi. Since I don't upgrade frequently, I am not very concerned about price.

I have searched internet and found information that is confusing. If you have personal recommendations, I would really appreciate it.

123
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Re: Need new Cable Modem + Router - Please recommend

Post by 123 » Wed Jun 20, 2018 12:59 pm

I would start with the list from your cable provider about what models are compatible with their system. They may have a tiered list based on speed. Depending on your current service you way want to include capability for higher speed whether or not you use it right now. Don't buy the latest and greatest if it isn't yet supported by your cable provider.
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bloom2708
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Re: Need new Cable Modem + Router - Please recommend

Post by bloom2708 » Wed Jun 20, 2018 1:01 pm

I would buy separate units.

Your cable provider should have a list of compatible/approved cable modems that support the DOCSIS (3.0/3.1) version that is current.

That should be under $100. Arris/Motorola is a good brand. We have a Hitron brand.

Then buy a Google Wifi (single or 3 pack) or another similar mesh system. We have the 3 unit mesh system. I have both parents on single Google Wi-fi systems. They have smaller homes that don't require a mesh network. Very stable. You do need a smartphone to manage through the app.
Last edited by bloom2708 on Wed Jun 20, 2018 1:08 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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jayk238
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Re: Need new Cable Modem + Router - Please recommend

Post by jayk238 » Wed Jun 20, 2018 1:06 pm

Apparently certain cable providers like spectrum provide free modems instead of charging a monthly fee so you can ask.

I use google wifi router and love it so far.

I would recommend you get a modem based on your speeds. Docsis 3.0 is good for up to 300 mbps if you want gigabit you need a docsis 3.1. These are the standards not a brand. I had a motorola docsis 3.0 modem but i plan to use whatever has the best reviews on amazon for 3.1

quaternion
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Re: Need new Cable Modem + Router - Please recommend

Post by quaternion » Wed Jun 20, 2018 1:12 pm

Ubiquiti (https://www.ubnt.com/) makes some nice network hardware. They have a professional/prosumer 'Unifi' line with separate boxes for each function (routing, access point, switch, pick-any-modem), and a consumer 'Amplifi' line that is the typical all-in-one box (again, minus the modem).

123
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Re: Need new Cable Modem + Router - Please recommend

Post by 123 » Wed Jun 20, 2018 1:16 pm

I decided to check my current cable modem versus the Comcast approved list. Turned out my current cable modem is "not supported" (it was supported when I installed it) though it seems to work just fine. I remember getting an email some months back that my modem might not support all the speed available but wasn't too concerned about it.

I would tend to suggest getting two difference devices (a modem and a router) in case you decide to go to another broadband provider. In my area Sonic Net has begun installations and I'm thinking about switching to them when they reach my street.
The closest helping hand is at the end of your own arm.

euroswiss
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Re: Need new Cable Modem + Router - Please recommend

Post by euroswiss » Wed Jun 20, 2018 1:19 pm

jayk238 wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 1:06 pm
Apparently certain cable providers like spectrum provide free modems instead of charging a monthly fee so you can ask.

That must be a local offer in your area - I have never seen them offer a free modem. Always costs 10-15 dollar a month which is crazy. So unless they really outright give you the modem for free, I'd go with my own.
I agree with another poster above that it is better to buy router and modem separately.

dundee
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Re: Need new Cable Modem + Router - Please recommend

Post by dundee » Wed Jun 20, 2018 1:24 pm

Thank you for your suggestions.

So, I currently have a modem+router combo. As some of you suggested, it is better to separate modem and router.

If I want to upgrade, can I keep my combo, stop using the N router and buy a separate Google Wifi? Would that work?

Or do I need to buy a new modem and new Router?

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Conch55
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Re: Need new Cable Modem + Router - Please recommend

Post by Conch55 » Wed Jun 20, 2018 1:35 pm

Or do I need to buy a new modem and new Router?
I have never used a combo modem/router and don't know if one of the other "feature" can be disabled. My ISP offers a modem for a one time charge but I've always purchased my own router. It gives me the flexibility to adapt as technology changes. Current setup is a Cisco modem (100mbs connection) and Netgear Nighthawk router/wifi access point. Works well.

NYnative
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Re: Need new Cable Modem + Router - Please recommend

Post by NYnative » Wed Jun 20, 2018 1:44 pm

I would go with a cable modem recommended by your cable provider. Make sure it meets the requirements of the provider. As to routers, I have always used a separate one. Just got a new one a few weeks ago after the old one became intermittent. I purchased a NETGEAR R6700 Nighthawk AC1750 Dual Band Smart WiFi Router, Gigabit Ethernet (R6700) for $90 through Amazon. It works extremely well. My download speeds measured by Oookla increased from about 20mbs to 130mbs. Uploads are the same crappy 5mbs, but that's a Comcast limitation. YMMV

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Earl Lemongrab
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Re: Need new Cable Modem + Router - Please recommend

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Wed Jun 20, 2018 2:45 pm

I recently got cable internet and it came with free modem. Spectrum offered a wifi router at $5/month, but I didn't go for that. I picked up a moderately-price dual frequency TP-Link device.
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scooterdog
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Re: Need new Cable Modem + Router - Please recommend

Post by scooterdog » Wed Jun 20, 2018 3:11 pm

Hi - a few months ago I switched from being a long-time FiOS user, and they simply would not give me any kind of discount near to new customers (that is until I finally switched over to Cable and pulled the plug on them). Kept all their equipment (something they call a Quantum Gateway) and can re-connect if we choose to.

New equipment for Comcast included the modem and a separate router. As others have said above, go with a model that the provider officially supports, as they will need to provision it for their service. I went with a DOCSIS 3.1 ARRIS SURFboard SB8200, about $80 more than the one lower (called the SB6190).

For the router / wireless access, I went with an AC1900 one called the ASUS RT-AC68U, and it has been just great - well-thought-out interface, great coverage (>5000sf house, three floors), gigibit speeds. Setup was super-easy (just follow the plain instructions) and have been extremely happy with its performance.

Since you mentioned apps, I just looked and am playing around with the ASUS app for the iPhone. I'm now browsing through all 22 devices on my home network, complete with IP addresses across the network, and upload/download speeds in Kbps.

I also note that the ASUS routers can be combined to form a mesh network (they call it AiMesh) and can also be managed from the app, which is pretty cool. I also see a family member tab (limit or check their internet usage), parental controls, even plugins...

Good luck!

NYnative
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Re: Need new Cable Modem + Router - Please recommend

Post by NYnative » Wed Jun 20, 2018 5:11 pm

I hope you are aware that Comcast removed the ability to set recordings remotely over 6 months ago. It was done without notice and it looks like it may never be provided in the future. If that’s a feature you used with FIOS, you will miss it. Also, Comcast is no different than any of the other ISPs. You will have the annual fee dance and you will not get as good a deal as a new customer. Plus, unless you pay a lot more, Comcast limits your upload speeds to 5mbs. FIOS upload speeds are roughly the same as their download speeds. I am a very unhappy Comcast customer, but there is no where else, except FIOS, that I can go for service. They appear to be worse thieves than Comcast. Cutting the cord is more attractive every day.

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Toons
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Re: Need new Cable Modem + Router - Please recommend

Post by Toons » Wed Jun 20, 2018 6:44 pm

"One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity" –Bruce Lee

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Pancakes-Eggs-Bacon
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Re: Need new Cable Modem + Router - Please recommend

Post by Pancakes-Eggs-Bacon » Wed Jun 20, 2018 7:04 pm

dundee wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 12:55 pm
Dear Bogleheads,

I have an old cable modem + wireless N-router at home. I want to upgrade to something better. Everything works ok, but, I want to keep up with technology. I am also hoping to get faster speeds. I have Spectrum cable + TV at home. We are average users - 2/3 computers, Cable TV, Netflix users. My home is colonial (2100 sqft).

1. Can somebody recommend a better (newer) Modem+Router?
2. Would I see faster speeds with AC-router?
3. Is there a new Modem + Router that uses Wireless mesh technology?
4. I would like to get something that will show me with an App - what devices are connected to my home wifi. Since I don't upgrade frequently, I am not very concerned about price.

I have searched internet and found information that is confusing. If you have personal recommendations, I would really appreciate it.
Whether you'll see any improvements with either a new cable modem or wireless router over your current gear depends if the current gear is actually holding you back or not. If your Internet package through Charter Spectrum is low enough, even an older cable modem and 802.11n wireless router would be sufficient.

1. Whatever you get, I highly recommend buying separate modem and router. Tend to get better quality by having single-purpose devices, plus you get the freedom to replace one or the other if they break or become obsolete. And a cable modem can be tucked away in a cabinet or floor, whereas a wireless router or wireless access point would do best as close to the ceiling as possible.

2. You'll see faster internal speeds in your house (such as if you have Network Attached Storage in your house), but if you use your wireless network mostly for Internet usage, it depends on if your current setup if WiFi speed < Internet speed you're paying for. You can run some Internet speed tests such as through http://www.speedtest.net/ to see if you're getting less than you're paying for.

3. I'd buy modem and router separately, but as far as consumer mesh routers, the Netgear Orbi seems to perform well in tests on review sites. I'm personally a Ubiquiti fan for their business-grade products, but their consumer-grade Amplifi HD mesh WiFi line looks really gorgeous but don't perform the best (but likely perfect for a 2100 sf home). I'm also a huge Asus fan, and if you buy just one of their Big Honkin Routers (BHR), even 1 wireless router should cover a 2100 sf home without the need to play with mesh.

Note, if you like to keep up with technology, the next big things to expect are 802.11ax and WPA3. 802.11ax products will start shipping in Fall 2018, and the IEEE specification should be "official" in late 2019. Depends if you want to buy an 802.11ac product now or can wait till this Fall for the 802.11ax products. WPA3 is likely another year away.

Re: cable modem, if your current device meets the needs of the Internet package you're paying for, there's really no need to upgrade. DOCSIS 3.1 is the next "big thing" if you like keeping up with technology. But it all depends on what your ISP allows. If you get your TV from Charter Spectrum, it's possible you have a combination cable modem/router/TV box so your upgrade options are more limited.

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tuningfork
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Re: Need new Cable Modem + Router - Please recommend

Post by tuningfork » Wed Jun 20, 2018 8:26 pm

dundee wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 1:24 pm
If I want to upgrade, can I keep my combo, stop using the N router and buy a separate Google Wifi? Would that work?
That should work. Disable the wireless in your modem/router combo device settings, then connect a cable from it to the Google Wifi base unit. Google Wifi may complain that it detects a router upstream, but that's the configuration I use and I haven't had any problems. If there are problems (presumably with some online games), then the modem/router needs to be reconfigured to bridge mode. If you aren't able to configure the modem to bridge mode, then it's time for a new modem.

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Pancakes-Eggs-Bacon
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Re: Need new Cable Modem + Router - Please recommend

Post by Pancakes-Eggs-Bacon » Wed Jun 20, 2018 10:31 pm

dundee wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 1:24 pm
Thank you for your suggestions.

So, I currently have a modem+router combo. As some of you suggested, it is better to separate modem and router.

If I want to upgrade, can I keep my combo, stop using the N router and buy a separate Google Wifi? Would that work?

Or do I need to buy a new modem and new Router?
I've used a combo modem/wireless router back with AT&T DSL and their 2Wire devices. It should be possible to put your cable modem into "bridge mode" and use your new device (e.g. Google Wifi or whatever you buy) as the router and WiFi.

If you post the make and model of your current cable modem/router/gateway thing, we can maybe look up its instruction manual and get back to you.

VaR
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Re: Need new Cable Modem + Router - Please recommend

Post by VaR » Thu Jun 21, 2018 12:36 am

OP, are you happy with the wifi performance with your current equipment?

We got a separate cable modem and mesh router (we went with Google so my spouse could handle the install and maintenance).

OTOH, I recommended that my sister get an integrated cable modem/router combo. This is because she has a small condo and so didn't need a mesh network and there's fewer boxes and connections to get messed up or add to the clutter.

Katietsu
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Re: Need new Cable Modem + Router - Please recommend

Post by Katietsu » Thu Jun 21, 2018 8:11 am

NYnative wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 5:11 pm
I hope you are aware that Comcast removed the ability to set recordings remotely over 6 months ago. It was done without notice and it looks like it may never be provided in the future. If that’s a feature you used with FIOS, you will miss it. Also, Comcast is no different than any of the other ISPs. You will have the annual fee dance and you will not get as good a deal as a new customer. Plus, unless you pay a lot more, Comcast limits your upload speeds to 5mbs. FIOS upload speeds are roughly the same as their download speeds. I am a very unhappy Comcast customer, but there is no where else, except FIOS, that I can go for service. They appear to be worse thieves than Comcast. Cutting the cord is more attractive every day.
Have you tried setting recordings using the Xfinity Stream App? Maybe this is a regional thing. Has your area transitioned to having all DVR customers on the X1 platform?

NYnative
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Re: Need new Cable Modem + Router - Please recommend

Post by NYnative » Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:01 am

The loss of remote record setting from anywhere except on a TV at home has been publicly announced recently (finally). Comcast is in a patent dispute with TIVO and an initial court ruling went against Comcast. Comcast refuses to pay royalties, which is why they removed the feature. If this is a feature you need, because of travel or whatever, going with Comcast, at this time, is a huge mistake. They show show no interest in their customers and, while they are in the midst of a $68B acquisition, won't pay royalties of a few million dollars to keep their customers happy. BTW, the other major ISPs with TV are and have been paying the royalties. Just be forewarned as Comcast CSRs will lie about the situation.

ncgenx
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Re: Need new Cable Modem + Router - Please recommend

Post by ncgenx » Thu Jun 21, 2018 3:51 pm

jayk238 wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 1:06 pm
Apparently certain cable providers like spectrum provide free modems instead of charging a monthly fee so you can ask.

I use google wifi router and love it so far.

I would recommend you get a modem based on your speeds. Docsis 3.0 is good for up to 300 mbps if you want gigabit you need a docsis 3.1. These are the standards not a brand. I had a motorola docsis 3.0 modem but i plan to use whatever has the best reviews on amazon for 3.1
I bought a TP Link i think? Access point that uses the Google App to control and it is awesome! Great range. And the interface allows me to see what devices are using bandwidth from my cell phone even if I am not home. you can prioritize traffic on the fly. You can do download test with it. All around great stuff. Love quick access from my phone. It does not have all the features of some of the others but the quick use from my phone is worth it and they are always adding features.

I recommend the cheapest DSL/Cable Modem and then buy one of the routers that allow you to use the Google Wifi.

nasrullah
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Re: Need new Cable Modem + Router - Please recommend

Post by nasrullah » Thu Jun 21, 2018 5:29 pm

Your Internet speed will always be capped by your internet provider. Upgrading your home network to 4:4 MIMO that supports 1300 Mbps isn't going to give you much benefit on a 100x10 Cable Modem.

Absolutely purchase your own Cable Modem. Arris or Motorola, it won't cost much and will give you benefit.

Google Home, Eero, AmpliFi are all great Mesh WiFi units. If you can, hard wiring your remote APs back to your main unit will always perform better. On that thought, anything you can hard wire (TVs, Game Consoles, Apple TV, etc...) will perform better than wireless.
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Halfvolley
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Re: Need new Cable Modem + Router - Please recommend

Post by Halfvolley » Thu Jun 21, 2018 5:36 pm

As far as a router goes, I have Google Wifi. My folks in law and my grandfolks in law both have it and love it, too. My grandfather in law claims it has single-handedly reduced the number of arguments in his house.

Small Law Survivor
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Re: Need new Cable Modem + Router - Please recommend

Post by Small Law Survivor » Thu Jun 21, 2018 5:47 pm

Dumb question, sorry: if you have a router, why do you need a modem?

I have Verizon FIOS. I have a router, that I can see, more around turn on/off. If I have a modem I'm not aware of where that is in my system. Is it possible its in the Optical Network terminal, the "ONT"?

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Earl Lemongrab
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Re: Need new Cable Modem + Router - Please recommend

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Thu Jun 21, 2018 6:02 pm

Small Law Survivor wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 5:47 pm
Dumb question, sorry: if you have a router, why do you need a modem?

I have Verizon FIOS. I have a router, that I can see, more around turn on/off. If I have a modem I'm not aware of where that is in my system. Is it possible its in the Optical Network terminal, the "ONT"?
You must have a combination unit. With my cable internet, they are separate. The modem connects to the cable feed, then has Ethernet ports on it. You could plug a cable directly from it into a computer, or into a router to provide wifi. That's that I do. The modem came with signup, the router didn't.
This week's fortune cookie: "Your financial life will be secure and beneficial." So I got that going for me, which is nice.

RickBoglehead
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Re: Need new Cable Modem + Router - Please recommend

Post by RickBoglehead » Thu Jun 21, 2018 6:18 pm

Pancakes-Eggs-Bacon wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 7:04 pm

Whether you'll see any improvements with either a new cable modem or wireless router over your current gear depends if the current gear is actually holding you back or not. If your Internet package through Charter Spectrum is low enough, even an older cable modem and 802.11n wireless router would be sufficient.

1. Whatever you get, I highly recommend buying separate modem and router. Tend to get better quality by having single-purpose devices, plus you get the freedom to replace one or the other if they break or become obsolete. And a cable modem can be tucked away in a cabinet or floor, whereas a wireless router or wireless access point would do best as close to the ceiling as possible.

2. You'll see faster internal speeds in your house (such as if you have Network Attached Storage in your house), but if you use your wireless network mostly for Internet usage, it depends on if your current setup if WiFi speed < Internet speed you're paying for. You can run some Internet speed tests such as through http://www.speedtest.net/ to see if you're getting less than you're paying for.

3. I'd buy modem and router separately, but as far as consumer mesh routers, the Netgear Orbi seems to perform well in tests on review sites. I'm personally a Ubiquiti fan for their business-grade products, but their consumer-grade Amplifi HD mesh WiFi line looks really gorgeous but don't perform the best (but likely perfect for a 2100 sf home). I'm also a huge Asus fan, and if you buy just one of their Big Honkin Routers (BHR), even 1 wireless router should cover a 2100 sf home without the need to play with mesh.

Note, if you like to keep up with technology, the next big things to expect are 802.11ax and WPA3. 802.11ax products will start shipping in Fall 2018, and the IEEE specification should be "official" in late 2019. Depends if you want to buy an 802.11ac product now or can wait till this Fall for the 802.11ax products. WPA3 is likely another year away.

Re: cable modem, if your current device meets the needs of the Internet package you're paying for, there's really no need to upgrade. DOCSIS 3.1 is the next "big thing" if you like keeping up with technology. But it all depends on what your ISP allows. If you get your TV from Charter Spectrum, it's possible you have a combination cable modem/router/TV box so your upgrade options are more limited.
This ^^^

So many people needlessly waste money because they have no clue what they are paying for, what they are getting, what their devices are limited to, etc. "I don't care what I pay" is a crazy statement.

PFInterest
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Re: Need new Cable Modem + Router - Please recommend

Post by PFInterest » Thu Jun 21, 2018 6:33 pm

dundee wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 12:55 pm
Dear Bogleheads,

I have an old cable modem + wireless N-router at home. I want to upgrade to something better. Everything works ok, but, I want to keep up with technology. I am also hoping to get faster speeds. I have Spectrum cable + TV at home. We are average users - 2/3 computers, Cable TV, Netflix users. My home is colonial (2100 sqft).

1. Can somebody recommend a better (newer) Modem+Router?
2. Would I see faster speeds with AC-router?
3. Is there a new Modem + Router that uses Wireless mesh technology?
4. I would like to get something that will show me with an App - what devices are connected to my home wifi. Since I don't upgrade frequently, I am not very concerned about price.

I have searched internet and found information that is confusing. If you have personal recommendations, I would really appreciate it.
im surprised no one has mentioned this yet. for 2100sq ft, you should consider this pathway: https://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best- ... king-kits/

- you are phrasing your question incorrectly. 802.11N can transmit a theoretical speed of 600 Mbit/s. Do you even pay for 600 Mbit internet? most people dont.
- so you might not see faster speeds. you might see better coverage wtih AC. but you also might see worse as 5GHz does not travel as far through obstacles.
- if you want an app then definitely you will need a newer device, which is fine.

VaR
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Re: Need new Cable Modem + Router - Please recommend

Post by VaR » Thu Jun 21, 2018 6:47 pm

Small Law Survivor wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 5:47 pm
Dumb question, sorry: if you have a router, why do you need a modem?

I have Verizon FIOS. I have a router, that I can see, more around turn on/off. If I have a modem I'm not aware of where that is in my system. Is it possible its in the Optical Network terminal, the "ONT"?
I have Verizon FiOS as well. With Verizon FiOS you don't need a cable modem.

There are two ways that they can hook up your router to the ONT:
1. Ethernet (or more specifically ethernet over twisted pair or 1000BASE-T) - This uses a standard CAT5e/CAT6 network cable between the ONT and the router. They used to always use this for installs of 300 mbps or higher.
2. MoCA - This is a networking over coax standard. Version 1.1 was limited to 175 mbps so they didn't use it for higher speed installs. I read that they're now using MoCA 2.0 for some high speed installs. Note that despite the fact that it uses the coax cable for transmission, MoCA is a home networking standard vs a wide-area telecommunications standard like DOCSIS.

Some trivial, but perhaps helpful, explanatory factlets:
1. The term "cable modem" is synonymous with DOCSIS cable modem.
2. Your Verizon Quantum Gateway is not a cable modem. It does have a MoCA network adapter in it.
3. Your Verizon ONT communicates with a Verizon OLT (Optical Line Terminal) at a Verizon central switching office over a fiber optics using the older BPON standard (ITU-T G.983) or the newer GPON standard (G.984).

Disclosure: I hated the Actiontec router that Verizon stuck you with, so I have an ethernet install with my own home router. There are small issues with pay-per-view in this kind of install but I don't use PPV.

I agree with the folks talking about the fact that folks should look at what kind of home network they need before buying the most expensive highest throughput one. I make extensive use of my home network because I have a NAS and a home media server that streams content throughout the house. Even then it's really only the raw use of the NAS that uses that much home network bandwidth, not the media streaming.

Small Law Survivor
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Re: Need new Cable Modem + Router - Please recommend

Post by Small Law Survivor » Thu Jun 21, 2018 7:11 pm

Where did all of you go to learn networking/WiFi technology to this extent? I don't think the "average" person knows all this stuff.

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Pancakes-Eggs-Bacon
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Re: Need new Cable Modem + Router - Please recommend

Post by Pancakes-Eggs-Bacon » Thu Jun 21, 2018 8:21 pm

Small Law Survivor wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 5:47 pm
Dumb question, sorry: if you have a router, why do you need a modem?

I have Verizon FIOS. I have a router, that I can see, more around turn on/off. If I have a modem I'm not aware of where that is in my system. Is it possible its in the Optical Network terminal, the "ONT"?
Short answer:

"Modem" (modulator-demodulator) is really a carry-over from the old days of analog modems over phone lines that converted analog signals to digital and vice versa. It carried over into "DSL modem" and "cable modem" even though neither is genuinely a modem in the strict sense. They're more like bridges that connect two different technology types, but all signalling is still some kind of digital standard. They're "gateways" from your internal home to the external Internet.

The ONT is the barrier between your internal, private home and the external, public Internet via Verizon's fiber optic infrastructure, so it's the closest equivalent to a "modem."

Router is pretty much mandatory in all setups. Routers route traffic between two or more networks, and your home network is and should be separate from your ISP's network.
Small Law Survivor wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 7:11 pm
Where did all of you go to learn networking/WiFi technology to this extent? I don't think the "average" person knows all this stuff.
Hours of frustration. :beer That, and I'm sure many here are computer enthusiasts, hobbyists, and power users. Others are career IT in some flavor, and home networking is basic general knowledge (but many in IT don't necessarily know networking too deeply unless that's their field.)

I started learning about Wi-Fi and high speed Internet in maybe 2002 or so when we first switched from dial-up to DSL. Didn't know too much at first but gradually kept learning. For fun, I studied and certified some in Certified Wireless Network Professional's certification program which greatly helped, plus an amateur radio background helped with general RF concepts and go much deeper than many computer nerds go into on the physics and electronics.

Still learning though -- humility is key! And still run into my own hiccups and frustrations.

student
Posts: 2506
Joined: Fri Apr 03, 2015 6:58 am

Re: Need new Cable Modem + Router - Please recommend

Post by student » Thu Jun 21, 2018 8:50 pm

PFInterest wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 6:33 pm
dundee wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 12:55 pm
Dear Bogleheads,

I have an old cable modem + wireless N-router at home. I want to upgrade to something better. Everything works ok, but, I want to keep up with technology. I am also hoping to get faster speeds. I have Spectrum cable + TV at home. We are average users - 2/3 computers, Cable TV, Netflix users. My home is colonial (2100 sqft).

1. Can somebody recommend a better (newer) Modem+Router?
2. Would I see faster speeds with AC-router?
3. Is there a new Modem + Router that uses Wireless mesh technology?
4. I would like to get something that will show me with an App - what devices are connected to my home wifi. Since I don't upgrade frequently, I am not very concerned about price.

I have searched internet and found information that is confusing. If you have personal recommendations, I would really appreciate it.
im surprised no one has mentioned this yet. for 2100sq ft, you should consider this pathway: https://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best- ... king-kits/

- you are phrasing your question incorrectly. 802.11N can transmit a theoretical speed of 600 Mbit/s. Do you even pay for 600 Mbit internet? most people dont.
- so you might not see faster speeds. you might see better coverage wtih AC. but you also might see worse as 5GHz does not travel as far through obstacles.
- if you want an app then definitely you will need a newer device, which is fine.
Very good point. However, in practice, better coverage may give better speed for the computers there were previously barely reachable. Also I am suspicious on how much time manufacturers are spending on old routers in terms of firmware update to address security issues.

PFInterest
Posts: 2074
Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2017 12:25 pm

Re: Need new Cable Modem + Router - Please recommend

Post by PFInterest » Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:29 pm

VaR wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 6:47 pm
Small Law Survivor wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 5:47 pm
Dumb question, sorry: if you have a router, why do you need a modem?

I have Verizon FIOS. I have a router, that I can see, more around turn on/off. If I have a modem I'm not aware of where that is in my system. Is it possible its in the Optical Network terminal, the "ONT"?
I have Verizon FiOS as well. With Verizon FiOS you don't need a cable modem.

There are two ways that they can hook up your router to the ONT:
1. Ethernet (or more specifically ethernet over twisted pair or 1000BASE-T) - This uses a standard CAT5e/CAT6 network cable between the ONT and the router. They used to always use this for installs of 300 mbps or higher.
2. MoCA - This is a networking over coax standard. Version 1.1 was limited to 175 mbps so they didn't use it for higher speed installs. I read that they're now using MoCA 2.0 for some high speed installs. Note that despite the fact that it uses the coax cable for transmission, MoCA is a home networking standard vs a wide-area telecommunications standard like DOCSIS.

Some trivial, but perhaps helpful, explanatory factlets:
1. The term "cable modem" is synonymous with DOCSIS cable modem.
2. Your Verizon Quantum Gateway is not a cable modem. It does have a MoCA network adapter in it.
3. Your Verizon ONT communicates with a Verizon OLT (Optical Line Terminal) at a Verizon central switching office over a fiber optics using the older BPON standard (ITU-T G.983) or the newer GPON standard (G.984).

Disclosure: I hated the Actiontec router that Verizon stuck you with, so I have an ethernet install with my own home router. There are small issues with pay-per-view in this kind of install but I don't use PPV.

I agree with the folks talking about the fact that folks should look at what kind of home network they need before buying the most expensive highest throughput one. I make extensive use of my home network because I have a NAS and a home media server that streams content throughout the house. Even then it's really only the raw use of the NAS that uses that much home network bandwidth, not the media streaming.
I'm confused. But this was awesome.

PFInterest
Posts: 2074
Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2017 12:25 pm

Re: Need new Cable Modem + Router - Please recommend

Post by PFInterest » Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:29 pm

Small Law Survivor wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 7:11 pm
Where did all of you go to learn networking/WiFi technology to this extent? I don't think the "average" person knows all this stuff.
Years of random learning.

RetiredAL
Posts: 133
Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2017 12:09 am
Location: SF Bay Area

Re: Need new Cable Modem + Router - Please recommend

Post by RetiredAL » Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:37 pm

Small Law Survivor wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 7:11 pm
Where did all of you go to learn networking/WiFi technology to this extent? I don't think the "average" person knows all this stuff.
I was a Ham Radio Operator in High School, which had an Electronics Program. In High School, I was know as "Woody Rheostat", the term NERD has not been created yet. I got an Electronics Tech AA degree before I I got my BS in Industrial Mgmt.

I built, and by that I mean soldered components onto bare circuit boards, in the 1977 time frame, an SWTPC 6800.

I bought an original IBM PC for home in the early 80's. One of my E-mail addresses dated to the mid-80. Names were limited to 8 characters, which my last name just fit.

I went High Speed (DSL) when first available in the early 90's, along with home networking. That solved the issue with my 10 year-old son hogging the Dial-up modem line. I had given him his own computer a year before just so MY Computer worked the same two days in a row. By his junior year, his room looked like a server room. All night computer game parties were common, three or 4 players with a dedicated game server in-house to eliminate "lag". Today, he is a highly paid cloud programmer.

Before my son graduated HS in 2001, cable internet was installed for its superior speed over DSL - we were too far out to get the advertised DSL speed.

So Small Law, I've been doing this and work and home for years and year. Read and learn, its not all that hard to do with today's appliance type hardware.

Newer is not necessarily a panacea. I still use a wireless unit that is 10+ years old, but since the house is Ethernet wired, my prime computer is wire connected to my network and wireless is mainly for our smart phones.

PFInterest
Posts: 2074
Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2017 12:25 pm

Re: Need new Cable Modem + Router - Please recommend

Post by PFInterest » Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:37 pm

student wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 8:50 pm
PFInterest wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 6:33 pm
dundee wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 12:55 pm
Dear Bogleheads,

I have an old cable modem + wireless N-router at home. I want to upgrade to something better. Everything works ok, but, I want to keep up with technology. I am also hoping to get faster speeds. I have Spectrum cable + TV at home. We are average users - 2/3 computers, Cable TV, Netflix users. My home is colonial (2100 sqft).

1. Can somebody recommend a better (newer) Modem+Router?
2. Would I see faster speeds with AC-router?
3. Is there a new Modem + Router that uses Wireless mesh technology?
4. I would like to get something that will show me with an App - what devices are connected to my home wifi. Since I don't upgrade frequently, I am not very concerned about price.

I have searched internet and found information that is confusing. If you have personal recommendations, I would really appreciate it.
im surprised no one has mentioned this yet. for 2100sq ft, you should consider this pathway: https://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best- ... king-kits/

- you are phrasing your question incorrectly. 802.11N can transmit a theoretical speed of 600 Mbit/s. Do you even pay for 600 Mbit internet? most people dont.
- so you might not see faster speeds. you might see better coverage wtih AC. but you also might see worse as 5GHz does not travel as far through obstacles.
- if you want an app then definitely you will need a newer device, which is fine.
Very good point. However, in practice, better coverage may give better speed for the computers there were previously barely reachable. Also I am suspicious on how much time manufacturers are spending on old routers in terms of firmware update to address security issues.
Definitely agree. Just trying to expand on the concept.

User avatar
Pancakes-Eggs-Bacon
Posts: 151
Joined: Wed May 02, 2018 6:17 am

Re: Need new Cable Modem + Router - Please recommend

Post by Pancakes-Eggs-Bacon » Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:43 pm

student wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 8:50 pm
Also I am suspicious on how much time manufacturers are spending on old routers in terms of firmware update to address security issues.
I love Asus for their dedication to fixing security issues and providing firmware updates a few times per year, even for old products. My RT-N66U just got an update, and it's several years old. I think they converged so all their firmware images use the same code base.

dogagility
Posts: 160
Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2017 6:41 am

Re: Need new Cable Modem + Router - Please recommend

Post by dogagility » Fri Jun 22, 2018 6:19 am

If signal drops off in parts of your house, a mesh system may be the ticket. Just installed an Orbi system in our place... no more complaints about slow wifi from the kiddos.

clutchied
Posts: 558
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2015 12:11 pm

Re: Need new Cable Modem + Router - Please recommend

Post by clutchied » Fri Jun 22, 2018 7:47 am

dundee wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 12:55 pm
Dear Bogleheads,

I have an old cable modem + wireless N-router at home. I want to upgrade to something better. Everything works ok, but, I want to keep up with technology. I am also hoping to get faster speeds. I have Spectrum cable + TV at home. We are average users - 2/3 computers, Cable TV, Netflix users. My home is colonial (2100 sqft).

1. Can somebody recommend a better (newer) Modem+Router?
2. Would I see faster speeds with AC-router?
3. Is there a new Modem + Router that uses Wireless mesh technology?
4. I would like to get something that will show me with an App - what devices are connected to my home wifi. Since I don't upgrade frequently, I am not very concerned about price.

I have searched internet and found information that is confusing. If you have personal recommendations, I would really appreciate it.

So I recently stumbled on a setup that is maintenance free and gives me peace instead of heartache.

Arris surfboard modem (used to be motorola)
Google wifi (as many as you need).

This setup is almost zero maintenance. There are no kids, wife or mother in law complaining about the internet or slow speeds or cant' connect or the wifi dropped out or anything like that. No microwave cutout. No congestion when they plug their phones in at night. I can prioritize streaming... it's surreal.

It has controls if needed but for the most part it's set and forget and just works.


I cant' recommend it enough.

Small Law Survivor
Posts: 502
Joined: Tue Nov 17, 2015 5:36 pm

Re: Need new Cable Modem + Router - Please recommend

Post by Small Law Survivor » Fri Jun 22, 2018 1:01 pm

RetiredAL wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:37 pm
So Small Law, I've been doing this and work and home for years and year. Read and learn, its not all that hard to do with today's appliance type hardware.
I would love to do all these things, but at age 67 I'm not sure I have enough years left :(

RetiredAL
Posts: 133
Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2017 12:09 am
Location: SF Bay Area

Re: Need new Cable Modem + Router - Please recommend

Post by RetiredAL » Fri Jun 22, 2018 2:06 pm

Small Law Survivor wrote:
Fri Jun 22, 2018 1:01 pm
RetiredAL wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:37 pm
So Small Law, I've been doing this and work and home for years and year. Read and learn, its not all that hard to do with today's appliance type hardware.
I would love to do all these things, but at age 67 I'm not sure I have enough years left :(
SLS - You, and most others, don't need to worry about the underlying details, which you likely perceive as magic. Think of a modem and router as just being appliances. When looking this at the appliance level, its mostly simple for the users. Do you care how your microwave works? No! You just plug it in and push a few buttons. There are all kinds of UTUBE instructions available to help newbies do the hands on. If you make a poor choice, it will still likely work. The worst case is you throw it away and buy something different for $75 to $150 dollars. That's a nothing $ mistake compared to someone not getting professional legal advice when they needed it, and I'm sure you've seen your share of that.

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