If at all possible, purchase your own modem/router

andy_horton

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Dec 28, 2010
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I've personally been through 4-5 "gateways" with Comcast in about 6 months. Service into home has always tested fine. While they are either Arris or Cisco, they look identical and most now do have dual band Wi-Fi. But $11 a month and tomorrow replacing yet another one until I can purchase my own. Mass produced pieces of crap that obviously were chosen due to lowest bid. Renter of equipment from any cable company beware.
 
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Pepper

DVR Addict~Mad Scientist
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Mar 16, 2004
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This should be obvious though many people don't think of it.

NEVER use the cable company's provided modem/router. Buy your own, save the monthly rental, and keep the modem, router and wi-fi separate for flexibility.

In my case, I bought a Linksys (formerly Cisco) DPC3008 on ebay for less than $20, several actually so I have spares. I took an old PC, slapped some Intel Gigabit CT cards in it, downloaded and installed pfSense and built my own router, and deployed a couple of wireless access points in various places all attached to a gigabit switch. Now I understand more how routers work plus the satisfaction of building it myself and knowing it is so much more flexible than some all-in-one box from the cable company that I have very little access to configure it how I want. When it's all separate pieces and you want faster Wi-Fi or something quits working, just replace the one thing instead of all of it.
 

harshness

SatelliteGuys Master
May 5, 2007
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Some brand name background as Pepper hinted at:

Linksys was acquired some years ago by Cisco but was "rescued" from the evil empire by Belkin.

Arris is where Motorola went.

Arris or Linksys seem to be fine and Asus networking gear has been good to me. The OEM versions of the modems are sometimes cheaper. I'm using a black Surfboard SB6141 now and it has been very reliable with Comcast. They identify it as the white (retail) version.

If you can wait, DOCSIS 3.1 is close so the DOCSIS 3.0 modems are likely to come down in price.

If you have phone service provided by your cable provider, you need to be sure you get a gateway that they can work with.
 

Pepper

DVR Addict~Mad Scientist
Supporting Founder
Mar 16, 2004
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If you're bundling video or phone service with Internet, my suggestion still applies but it might be harder to find the modem, in fact you may be required to lease the modem from them. But still get as bare of a modem as they will let you have. Maybe they have one without the built-in Wi-Fi and router, or maybe you can disable those features. Don't be at their mercy for your local network and Wi-Fi connections.
 
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seaofblue

Well-Known SatelliteGuys Member
Jun 14, 2014
32
9
I need some help. After years and years of a blazing speed of 1.5 down, Frontier finally upgraded and now I have Vantage 90mbps down. Hardwired I get the 90 down. WiFi on my iPhone 6s is only around 20 down. I realize that WiFi is no where as fast as wired, but is that much of a loss normal? I have the frontier provided Arris modem/router. Do I need to invest into a better router? Is there a setting that I am missing?
 

Art7220

SatelliteGuys Pro
Sep 20, 2004
263
11
CA
Is the Motorola NVG589 adressable like a cable box? My ISP is DSL Extreme, but they use AT&T Uverse branded Equip.
The 2701 HGs they used to use, you could switch them.
Can I buy one from Ebay and save the rental fee?
 

harshness

SatelliteGuys Master
May 5, 2007
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Salem, OR
Hardwired I get the 90 down. WiFi on my iPhone 6s is only around 20 down. I realize that WiFi is no where as fast as wired, but is that much of a loss normal?
Wi-fi is rarely as fast as gigabit Ethernet but there are many, many dependencies with Wi-fi that wired connections don't suffer. Wi-fi is shared among all devices connected by radio to the router (dual band routers have to be picked manually as most devices default to 2.4GHz). This may include thermostats, audio/video streaming boxes and security cameras and the list grows longer every year.

To get a better answer, you'll need to cough up the model number of the gateway.
 

osu1991

SatelliteGuys Master
Sep 4, 2004
9,862
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Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
I have a Netgear 32 channel modem with Cox and my own Netgear wireless AC router. 5Ghz Wireless AC is the only way I max out my current download speeds of 150M + over WiFi. 2.4Ghz N is around 80M and 5Ghz N is around 125-130M.

I prefer hardwired gigabit connections when I can, but it’s not easily done, so I deal with it using wireless AC as much as possible on laptops, phones and tablets and Moca 2.0 for a few others things (TiVo Mini and Slingbox).

I wish I had waited on changing my modem a few months ago from the Arris 6121 to the Netgear as Cox just turned on DOCSIS 3.1 in Broken Arrow. ??
 

harshness

SatelliteGuys Master
May 5, 2007
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Salem, OR
I see that the NVG448 supports 802.11ac on the 5Ghz frequency so there may be hope depending on how far you are from the router when you're measuring and what kind of environmental interference you might be subject to. 5Ghz doesn't travel as far but it has the potential to be much faster than 802.11b/g/n.
 
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king3pj

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Lifetime Supporter
Jun 7, 2009
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I've personally been through 4-5 "gateways" with Comcast in about 6 months. Service into home has always tested fine. While they are either Arris or Cisco, they look identical and most now do have dual band Wi-Fi. But $11 a month and tomorrow replacing yet another one until I can purchase my own. Mass produced pieces of crap that obviously were chosen due to lowest bid. Renter of equipment from any cable company beware.
This is good advice in general but it doesn't completely apply to Charter Spectrum customers anymore. A while back they used to charge a modem rental fee but a few years ago they scrapped that and started charging $65 per month whether you purchased your own modem or use theirs. My parents are still on a modem I bought for them under the old fee structure but it is an old model that maxes out at 30Mbps even though Charter gives us 100Mbps internet now. Charter would provide them a free modem to get full speed service but the 30Mbps is fast enough for their needs so they haven't bothered yet.

When I bought my house about 5 years ago I took the Charter provided modem instead of buying my own because there was no cost advantage to doing so. They gave me a pretty standard looking Motorola Surfboard. At our office they gave us an SMC branded modem/router because they mistakenly signed us up for their WiFi rental fee. We said we didn't want that so the installer put it in bridge mode and let our existing router take over. They also took the WiFi fee off our bill. I was skeptical about this SMC box since I have never heard of this brand and we didn't want their crappy router but speed tests show that we are getting about 110Mbps on our 100Mbps plan.

I do agree that Charter customers should let them know that you don't want their WiFi service even if you take their free modem though. I think it's only $5 per month but you can get a higher quality router that isn't locked down instead and you will still come out ahead on cost after a year or two.
 
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EarDemon

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Dec 5, 2014
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Some brand name background as Pepper hinted at:

Linksys was acquired some years ago by Cisco but was "rescued" from the evil empire by Belkin.

Arris is where Motorola went.

Arris or Linksys seem to be fine and Asus networking gear has been good to me. The OEM versions of the modems are sometimes cheaper. I'm using a black Surfboard SB6141 now and it has been very reliable with Comcast. They identify it as the white (retail) version.

If you can wait, DOCSIS 3.1 is close so the DOCSIS 3.0 modems are likely to come down in price.

If you have phone service provided by your cable provider, you need to be sure you get a gateway that they can work with.

In 2015 Cisco spun off their Connected Devices arm to Technicolor. Digital cable boxes, cable modems/gateways and the underlying firmware and conditional access technologies that power them are now part of Technicolor. I believe Cisco only spun off customer facing equipment. Headend hardware and CMTS units are still Cisco. Their foray into the cable world came to be by acquiring Linksys and their cable modems, and buying out Scientific Atlanta for cable boxes and the backend stuff. Linksys was the first acquisition, and when they bought SA, they opted to keep Linksys style cable modems as opposed to the Scientific Atlanta Webstar line. When Cisco sold Linksys to Belkin, they retained the cable modems. Kind of the opposite of Motorola and Arris. After Arris purchased whatever Motorola called their modem and STB division from Google, Arris continued to keep their own Touchstone line and the acquired Surfboard line.

I have a pre-Technicolor Cisco Explorer 9865 6 tuner DVR and on the boot screens, system info and hidden diagnostic screens there is no longer any mention of Cisco. All branding was changed to Technicolor.
 

EarDemon

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Dec 5, 2014
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It is against popular opinion, but I would never buy a cable modem.

Time Warner was one of the few that never charged a modem rental fee, and then they started to. At the time they introduced the fee, I was a subscriber to their high-end Signature Home triple play package. Signature Home subscribers were exempt from modem rental fees, and the BS Sports surcharge and broadcast surcharge below the line fees that were invented as time went by. On the day they became available, I got a 6 tuner DVR, there were no billing codes that allowed Signature Home subscribers to get 6 Tuner DVRs, so I had too break out of that plan, and I was hit with the modem rental fee. Not that it mattered since work pays for my internet, so I just expensed it. And now it’s a moot point since as said above Charter does not charge modem rental fees.

Here's why I would never buy my own modem. When DOCSIS 3 first became available there were 4 channel modems, then 8 channel modems, then 16 channel modems, then 24 channel modems and now 32 channel modems and even DOCSIS 3.1 from some cable operators. As speeds increase, the bonding of more downstream channels is needed. If I wanted to continue to be able to get the maximum performance of the service I am paying for, I would have had to buy three cable modems over the past handful of years, maybe even 4 as 300 or 400 Mbps becomes a reality as we progress into 2018. Currently I have a Ubee MTA gateway capable of 16 x 4 bonding. With this technology changing so rapidly, in makes no sense to me to buy something that I wouldn’t get many years of service out of before I’d have to replace again as technology progresses.

I would never use the router/wap functionality of a cable modem though. I’ve always had Time Warner, and now Charter put the gateway modems into bridge mode. Wireless, NAT, firewall, DHCP all disabled. I always used my own wireless router, and for the past handful of years, I split that up by getting a wired router and wireless access point. Prior to my collection of smart speakers, I never really had a use for wifi. The only thing I used wireless for was for a printer and my MP3 player, everything else I own is hardwired. I utilize some of the more advanced features on my router that aren’t found on cable gateways or entry level consumer routers such as dual WAN failover, site to site VPN tunnels, real remote management and customized access rules.
 

Pepper

DVR Addict~Mad Scientist
Supporting Founder
Mar 16, 2004
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Satsuma, AL
You're lucky that the ISP doesn't charge a rental. My $20 ebay modem has paid for itself several times over, and I'll probably not spend much more whenever I decide I want to go faster than 380Mbps (currently at 60 which is plenty).
 

seaofblue

Well-Known SatelliteGuys Member
Jun 14, 2014
32
9
Harshness, I can be a few feet away and get the same results on 5Ghz. I really don’t have neighbors so I don’t think there are other networks interfering with it. I do have 5 wireless Arlo cameras in use and one cordless home phone (I can’t get cell service).
 

EarDemon

SatelliteGuys Pro
Dec 5, 2014
1,385
587
USA
You're lucky that the ISP doesn't charge a rental. My $20 ebay modem has paid for itself several times over, and I'll probably not spend much more whenever I decide I want to go faster than 380Mbps (currently at 60 which is plenty).
Just because a modem can theoretically support that speed doesn't mean the ISP will authorize it for that speed or you'll get what you're paying for. Somewhere on the interwebs you can find information from people much smarter then me on how many bonded channels are optimal for certain speed levels. An 8 channel modem will support up to 343 Mbps, sure. But you'd better be the only one on your node, if you have a 200 Mb+ connection. Before Charter bought out TWC, when they announced project Maxx to provide speeds of 100, 200 and 300 Mbps, with 20% overprovision, 16 channel modems were standard issue. You could not activate a modem for those speed tiers with an 8 channel modem. If you were an existing customer that got the free speed increase and had an 8 channel modem, whether owned or rented, and lived in a more populated area, depending on node usage you wouldn't see your full speeds.

And while on the topic of modems, don't get a modem with an Intel Puma 6 chipset

Do Not Buy List - Puma 6 Chipset
 

andy_horton

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Dec 28, 2010
900
155
Northwest Georgia
This is good advice in general but it doesn't completely apply to Charter Spectrum customers anymore. A while back they used to charge a modem rental fee but a few years ago they scrapped that and started charging $65 per month whether you purchased your own modem or use theirs. My parents are still on a modem I bought for them under the old fee structure but it is an old model that maxes out at 30Mbps even though Charter gives us 100Mbps internet now. Charter would provide them a free modem to get full speed service but the 30Mbps is fast enough for their needs so they haven't bothered yet.

When I bought my house about 5 years ago I took the Charter provided modem instead of buying my own because there was no cost advantage to doing so. They gave me a pretty standard looking Motorola Surfboard. At our office they gave us an SMC branded modem/router because they mistakenly signed us up for their WiFi rental fee. We said we didn't want that so the installer put it in bridge mode and let our existing router take over. They also took the WiFi fee off our bill. I was skeptical about this SMC box since I have never heard of this brand and we didn't want their crappy router but speed tests show that we are getting about 110Mbps on our 100Mbps plan.

I do agree that Charter customers should let them know that you don't want their WiFi service even if you take their free modem though. I think it's only $5 per month but you can get a higher quality router that isn't locked down instead and you will still come out ahead on cost after a year or two.
Agreed. I guess for me, it just came down to Comcast charging more and more for gateways and not getting new one's to rent to customers. They are charging more for refurbished units. Saw the identical model at Amazon, new. I have 300mbps down but simply went with it because it includes unlimited data. I'm a cord-cutter..LOL fastest speeds any device I use can only handle is about 150 down. But for $62 a month for unlimited data, not worry about speed, the unlimited data pays for the service. ($10 for each 50GB over my limit if I didn't have unlimited data.) But you make a good point.
 

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