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When you sign up for cable Internet service, your provider will often tell you that there’s a fee to rent a modem. And you simply agree because you know you’ll need a modem go online. But with just a bit of research, you can buy your own modem and save hundreds of dollars over a few years.

Comcast, CenturyLink, Time Warner, and other companies try to make you think that you need to rent their modem, but they’re just trying to squeeze you for more money. Don’t let them do it! Buy your own modem to take control of your Internet access and save yourself some cash in the process.

Why Buy a Modem?

If your cable Internet Types Of Internet Access Technologies Explained, And What You Should Expect Types Of Internet Access Technologies Explained, And What You Should Expect What kind of Internet access do you really have? Broadband? High Speed? Wireless? Satellite? Fibre? Read More provider is going to come to your house and get everything set up, including a modem and a router, why should you go through the trouble of buying your own? Modem rental isn’t usually very expensive — usually between $5 and $10 each month. What’s the big deal?

linksys-modem

What you might not realize is that you can buy a really solid modem for less than $100. So if you’re with Comcast, and you’re paying $10 each month for your modem rental, you’ll start saving money after less than a year. After two years, you’ll have saved $140. Your savings just go up after that.

In addition to saving money, buying your own modem ensures that you’re getting as much as possible out of your Internet connection. While your cable provider will probably provide a modem that takes full advantage of the speeds they provide, there’s no telling what you might get — cable companies aren’t exactly known for doing what’s best for their customers Is Internet Freedom Under Threat From Internet Service Providers? [MUO Debates] Is Internet Freedom Under Threat From Internet Service Providers? [MUO Debates] Imagine a world where the content you are allowed to view on the Internet is tightly controlled by your Internet service provider. On MUO Debates, we explore and question this reality. Read More .

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Can Anyone Buy Their Own Modem?

In the United States, just about anyone can buy a modem for home use, though some cable providers disallow it. Elsewhere in the world, the process differs. For example, one of our UK-based writers noted that he can’t buy a third-party modem for his BT cable service, but he can buy an older BT modem that might work better than the one he’s currently using.

In my research on the practices in the rest of the world, it looks like the ability of consumers to use third-party routers varies. In Canada, many people report that it doesn’t work, while some say that it does. Europe uses a modified version of the DOCSIS transmission standard, which could affect your choices. One of our India-based writers says third-party hardware is actually encouraged by his ISP because of the low quality of their own. Another in Mexico says he has no problem using his own modem.

internet-ethernet-cord

So before you go about buying your own modem, make sure that it’ll work with your Internet provider — laws, standards, and practices differ around the world, so if you’re not in the States, your situation may be different. If you can shed any light on the situation in other parts of the world, please let us know in the comments!

Also, if your modem is used for both your Internet service and your voice (phone) service, you may not be able to replace it. Check with your ISP.

Things to Consider When Buying a Modem

It’s clear that you should buy your own modem, but how do you go about doing it? Here are 4 things to consider when you’re shopping online for a new modem.

1. Make sure it works with your cable provider.

While almost every modem will work with almost every provider, there are a few exceptions. For example, the Motorola Surfboard SB6141, the modem that I use, will work with all of the major providers, but won’t work with Verizon FiOS or AT&T U-verse. Most cable providers have a page that lists the modems that will work with their services.

ARRIS SURFboard SB6141 DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem - Retail Packaging - White ARRIS SURFboard SB6141 DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem - Retail Packaging - White Wired modem only, Requires CABLE Internet Service, if not sure your provider is CABLE call them to confirm. Note: does NOT include WIFI Router or VOIP Telephone adapter Buy Now At Amazon $68.74

Here are a few links to help you get started:

Not every provider makes it easy to find this information — if you can’t find it, run a search online, consult customer forums, or call a customer service representative Are You Getting The Most Out Of Your Customer Service Experience? Are You Getting The Most Out Of Your Customer Service Experience? Have you ever called customer service, only to end the call frustrated, disappointed and without resolution? Or perhaps there was a resolution, but it was unfavorable and certainly not worth the time you spent on... Read More to get the information you need. If there are other useful links for this information, please share them in the comments below!

2. Make sure it’s fast enough.

DOCSIS Types Of Internet Access Technologies Explained, And What You Should Expect Types Of Internet Access Technologies Explained, And What You Should Expect What kind of Internet access do you really have? Broadband? High Speed? Wireless? Satellite? Fibre? Read More is the standard that’s used by cable companies to send information over the wires, and there are three different iterations: 1.x, 2.x, and 3.x. If you buy a modem that’s DOCSIS 3.0 (or higher) compatible, you’ll get the best performance. A mid-range DOCSIS 3.0 modem will offer download speeds of up to 340 Mbps and upload speeds of 130 Mbps. Higher-end modems offer higher download speeds.

internet-speed-test

If you see a number of channels listed on a modem, this can give you an idea of how fast the modem is; most have four or eight “down” channels and four “up” channels. DOCSIS 3.0 allows up to 43 Mbps down, so a four-channel will give you 172 Mbps download speed, and eight will give you 344 Mbps. 16-channel routers are starting to show up with a claimed maximum download speed of 688 Mbps, which is blazing fast.

However, remember that no matter how fast your modem is, it won’t make your Internet connection any faster Understanding Your Internet Speed Understanding Your Internet Speed So you're paying for a certain internet speed but what does that speed actually mean? How fast is it? And why does it seem so slow at times? Read More . If you subscribe to a 100 Mbps plan from your provider and you buy a 300 Mbps modem, your Internet connection will still max out at 100 Mbps. There isn’t a practical disadvantage to having the fastest modem possible, and it might be a good idea if you think you might upgrade to faster service, but faster modems do cost more.

On the other hand, if you’re subscribed to a 30 or 50 Mbps plan, a DOCSIS 2.0 modem will be just fine, and it’ll be about half the price of a 3.0 one.

3. Check the ethernet port speed.

If you’re reading this article, you probably run a router separately from your modem. No matter how fast your router is, if you have a slow ethernet port, you’ll slow down the rest of your connection significantly. To get your Internet connection to your computer, the signal has to travel from the cable company’s lines, through your modem, across an ethernet cord Everything You Need To Know About Ethernet Cables Everything You Need To Know About Ethernet Cables Read More to your router, and then through the air to your computer.

router-and-ethernet

There can be a number of choke points that limit your Internet speed, and the ethernet cord from your modem to your router can be one of them. If your modem supports gigabit ethernet, you won’t have any problem at all, even if you upgrade to gigabit Internet How The Future Gigabit Internet Is Likely To Play Out How The Future Gigabit Internet Is Likely To Play Out A spider web of cables, satellites, data centers, switches, and routing systems connect the world. Now we're headed toward a gigabit Internet where all that data will be moving that much faster. Read More (which is really, really fast, not available everywhere, and expensive).

If you need a new router, please read our buying guide.

4. Decide if you want a modem/router combination.

If you’ve started looking at modems, you’ll notice that you can buy a combination modem/router that serves both purposes from a single box. This might seem like a good idea, as there are fewer wires, less clutter, and simpler setup. However, I’d caution against choosing this option if given the choice.

Why? Because it limits your flexibility. If you choose to upgrade your wireless router, you’ll need to replace the entire device and get a new modem as well. Many modem/router combinations pack solid stats both in the modem and the router, but there are all sorts of reasons why you might want to upgrade your wireless router; faster speeds, more ports, better security — and doing that is much easier and cheaper when you have a separate router

So Which Modem Is the Best?

Obviously, a number of considerations go into choosing which modem will be best for you. However, there are a few standouts that I can recommend.

The Arris/Motorola Surfboard series is very popular. As I mentioned, I use the SB6141, and it’s been great, especially for the very modest price of $85. NETGEAR’s CM500 modem is another popular option, and is also quite affordable at $100.

NETGEAR CM500 16x4 Cable Modem DOCSIS 3.0 Max Download Speeds of 680Mbps. Certified for XFINITY by Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox, Charter & more (CM500-100NAS) NETGEAR CM500 16x4 Cable Modem DOCSIS 3.0 Max Download Speeds of 680Mbps. Certified for XFINITY by Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox, Charter & more (CM500-100NAS) Modem needs a router. NOTE: Connect the CM500 High Speed Cable Modem directly to your computer or wireless router for connecting to other wireless devices. Buy Now At Amazon $80.46

If you’re looking for a modem with even higher bandwidth, the Arris/Motorola Surfboard SB6183 is a great option, with download speeds of up to 686 Mbps promised and a price tag of $125.

modems

And if you decide to go with a modem/router combination, I’ll give you yet another Arris/Motorola Surfboard recommendation: the SBG-6782-AC. The dual-band AC router included in this combination provides the best performance you can get out of the $192 you’ll spend on it.

ARRIS SURFboard SBG6782-AC DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem and AC1750 Wi-Fi Router - Retail Packaging - White ARRIS SURFboard SBG6782-AC DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem and AC1750 Wi-Fi Router - Retail Packaging - White 8X Faster than DOCSIS 2.0, Download speeds up to 343 Mbps, DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem, Supports IPv4 and IPv6. 802.11AC Wi-Fi Router provides speeds up to 1800 Mbps. Dual-band concurrent 2.4GHz and 5GHz. Item is Modem & Wi-Fi Router Buy Now At Amazon $299.00

Do you want the absolute best, the highest speed potential, and the ability to broadcast some seriously fast Wi-Fi? The NETGEAR Nighthawk modem/router combination has 24 download channels and 8 upload for up to 960 Mbps download speed, combined with N- and AC-wireless. And it’ll only set you back $280.

NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900 (24x8) Wi-Fi Cable Modem Router (C7000) DOCSIS 3.0 Certified for Xfinity Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox, & more NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900 (24x8) Wi-Fi Cable Modem Router (C7000) DOCSIS 3.0 Certified for Xfinity Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox, & more Two-in-One DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem + WiFi Router delivers AC1900 WiFi and up to 960Mbps modem speed Buy Now At Amazon Too low to display

Take Control of Your Modem

Whether you want to save money, improve your Internet connection, or just make it a little bit harder for your ISP to spy on you Two Ways Your ISP Is Spying on You and How to Be Safe [10 x SurfEasy Total VPN + BlackBerry Z10 Giveaway] Two Ways Your ISP Is Spying on You and How to Be Safe [10 x SurfEasy Total VPN + BlackBerry Z10 Giveaway] It's a bad time to be a Verizon customer. Read More , buying your own modem is a great idea. It doesn’t cost much up front, it could save you hundreds in the long run, and you know that you’ll be getting the maximum speed that you can from your connection. Just make sure that you choose a router that will help you get the best performance from your modem.

Does your ISP allow use of a third-party modem? What’s your experience been? Which models do you recommend? Share your thoughts below!

Image credits: Denis Rozhnovsky via Shutterstock.com, Tomislav Pinter via Shutterstock.com, BLACKDAY via Shutterstock.com

  1. David Stamps
    November 16, 2016 at 7:17 am

    I just started looking to buy my own cable modem. My ISP is Time Warner (changing to Spectrum). They gave me a list of "internet compatible" units they have certified. I have a telephone/internet/TV bundle. Right now they charge $10/month rent for their modem. If I install my own "internet" modem, they want me to keep using their modem for phone service, but they will eliminate the rental charge. I will have to use a splitter to connect both devices to the cable outlet. The "nice" feature of their plan is that if I ever have problems with my own modem, I can call and have their modem reactivated for internet service (for a rental charge, of course).

    Do you know of any potential "unintended consequences" of this plan?

    • Dann Albright
      November 28, 2016 at 2:33 am

      It seems a little strange, but nothing stands out at me as worrisome. Especially if they're not charging you for it. I suppose using their modem might open you up to more surveillance by your ISP, though. Are you using your phone service?

  2. john laiche
    October 21, 2016 at 8:46 pm

    Dann,
    Thanks for the response. Yes, I did notice the author's name at the top of the story. My question was mostly rhetorical. If one is comparing different cable technologies, of course MODEMs may not transfer. Such as with IP-TV vs. traditional broadband TV distribution. Sort of the obvious, but I guess if someone really does not understand ...

    The sad part is that cable companies make folks believe that they, the Customer, must buy from them, the cable providers. In many instances the cable provides seem to procure a lesser device. Case in point is with Cox. They sell a Cisco device that Cisco says supports multiple SSIDs, or wireless networks. The implication is that at least one primary and one guest network can be set up. Not so. Cox does not support a guest network despite the fact that their web site leads the Customer to believe this is supported. I called them to task on this issue and wasted almost an our of my time talking to at least 4 folks that really could not give me a straight answer. It just burns me when straight answers are not provided. Sad state for many Customer Support sites, in all areas.

    BTW, your web site in the sig line doesn't appear to show up any more - http://dann-albright.flavors.me/.

    • Dann Albright
      October 26, 2016 at 9:44 pm

      Yeah, I discovered that recently. I think it's a DNS thing. Will be getting it back up soon!

  3. john lll
    October 20, 2016 at 10:10 pm

    Who write' this foolishness? Item #1 shows that the writer does not even know the differences in service providers. At&T technology is not the same as traditional "cable" ( e.g. Cox, Shaw, Time Warner, etc) providers. Of course the modems will not work in all situations.

    • Dann Albright
      October 21, 2016 at 8:15 pm

      At the top of every article on our site—and pretty much every other site on the internet—you'll find the word "By" under the title, followed by the author's name. That's who wrote the article.

  4. Julia E
    October 6, 2016 at 7:12 pm

    Question - I am normally a Comcast customer, but am switching over to Century Link simply because it's cheaper. I have a Motorola SURFboard SB5101U cable modem and I am purchasing a 40 Mbps internet deal through Century Link. I do not have a phone jack on my cable modem. Can I simply get a Ethernet adapter to plug into my modem and connect with my wireless router? How will doing this affect my internet speed? Would you recommend getting a different modem? Thank you!

    • Dann Albright
      October 21, 2016 at 8:14 pm

      I think your best bet here is to get in contact with CenturyLink. I could make some guesses, but they'll definitely have the answers!

  5. Calvin Clausnitzer
    August 30, 2016 at 9:28 pm

    Just an additional information, the netgear cm400 would be the equivalent to the arris sb6141. The cm500 has twice the speed.

    • Dann Albright
      August 31, 2016 at 6:56 pm

      Thanks for the tip!

  6. Gajan
    July 26, 2016 at 4:34 am

    I have a "NETGEAR - Wireless-AC1750 Dual-Band Gigabit Router". I just realized that ISPs in Minnesota (Charter, XFINITY, Centurylink) work with only Cable modem. Considering that the Router is good, would I have to invest in an expensive cable modem? Any recommendations will be helpful. Thank you.

    • Dann Albright
      August 11, 2016 at 2:32 pm

      You'd have to ask your ISP for details, but you should be able to use any modem with that router. Grab one for $100 or so and you'll be set! (And saving money within a year.)

  7. Anthony
    July 19, 2016 at 11:01 pm

    Anyone know if Mexico Izzi Cable company supports American Modems. They are giving me 100mbps download with 5mbps upload. Its so sad so I want to maximize where I can.

    Author, you said it worked for someone in Mexico...do you have any specifics?

    Anthony

    • Dann Albright
      July 25, 2016 at 7:58 pm

      I don't have any specifics, sorry. I think you might have better luck on Reddit or a local forum for getting a good answer to your question, though.

  8. Brad
    July 19, 2016 at 12:33 am

    I already own my cable modem and my provider also offered me a package which included VOIP which I don't need or want (happy using Ooma). They said at first I HAD to either buy a modem with phone ports or rent one from them. They couldn't activate this bundle if I didn't have a VOIP modem.
    I asked what if I attached a VOIP modem to get set up, and then later replaced it with my old non VOIP modem -- would that work? After some checking the agent came back and said he was able to do the bundle for me even without requiring a VOIP modem (I would still have VOIP service plan but just not use it).
    In case this happens to anyone else, keep this in mind - they can be flexible if it's in their interest!

    • Dann Albright
      July 25, 2016 at 7:58 pm

      Thanks for sharing this experience; I'm sure others will find it useful!

  9. Gavin McNabb
    July 14, 2016 at 3:53 am

    hello and thanks for all the comments and suggestions on the modem/router purchasing. very helpful to someone who isn't well versed but wanting to learn before making a purchase. quick question,......I was advised by someone, when I posted a question on reddit, that the best option for setting up my "network" would be to use a 1. modem with n or a/c, 2. purchase an access point and 3. purchase a "switch". Now, I am really getting into something that I don't know about when we talk on this subject. I was just going to buy my own modem, wireless router and possibly a couple powerline devices or even signal booster/wifi extender if the situation called for it. I have a tri-level house and mainly the middle floor is main tv (for now) so i planned on connecting the modem by direct wire to the smart tv and then from modem to wifi router to send out the signal. Possibly connecting that wifi router to a powerline device so that on the ground floor i would then hook up the other powerline device (with 4 ports for future use), connect it by ethernet cable to my ps4 and be ready to go. I thought i could possibly get by without even using a powerline device and since my ground floor/middle floor are only 15 yds apart where the connections are, an extender would be enough if my ps4 isnt picking up the wifi signal to a high enough percentage. However I am now thinking about what I was told in the modem, AP and switch idea and I am completely lost. I was only getting the 15-20mbps service from TWC and I am sure I can set up the modem and wifi router but I don't know about setting up access points and switches and honestly..... do I even need all of that for the pursposes I plan on using my service for? Really, I will just use my smart tv for an occassional movie stream from netflix or Prime. I will end up using the wifi router to connect 3 tablets and 3 phones and Kindle updates too. (never at the same time however and the house has 2 retirees and I visit occasionally and use the downstairs HD normal tv to play PS4 and online gaming) So, do I need to completely ignore all the seemingly unneccessary equiptment and just go with maybe a higher end modem,(no combo modem/router I understand that clearly) a higher end wireless router and if necessary a couple powerline devices or a good wifi extender (not signal booster...Right?). Is that just perfect for what I am doing? I was also told to buy the same brand modem, router, extender, etc. Also told to use N or A/C and get something with 4 ports/2usb or whatever....I am using the advice on your post and I will probably get the netgear or Arris (85-100$) for the TWC service. I imagine it might be better to do what you advise and get a modem that can handle well over what service i am getting just in case I upgrade. Is the wifi router something that I need to look at specs on so that it will match up with the modem or get one that has a Higher speed capability? Maybe I am confused and the wifi router doesnt have anything like that even. thank you for your help. -Gavin McNabb

    • Dann Albright
      July 25, 2016 at 7:57 pm

      While I'm not an expert at setting up complicated wireless networks, it sounds to me like you'd be fine with a nice modem, router, and extenders. You won't get the best speeds, as higher-speed frequencies have a more difficult time penetrating objects, but I think it would be enough.

  10. Nick Cheney
    July 3, 2016 at 8:53 pm

    Im looking to buy my own equipment. Now my cable company has a triple play deal that includes: TV, Internet as well as phone service. Say if i buy a modem without a phone jack on it, will they not let me use it? Im not gonna be using the phone at all but the only reason Im getting it is because its something like 20 or 30 bucks cheaper to have all three rather than Internet and TV.

    • Dann Albright
      July 7, 2016 at 2:06 pm

      That shouldn't be a problem, but you'll have to talk to your ISP to make sure.

  11. PhilipJ
    May 15, 2016 at 8:15 pm

    I feel compelled to update this with accurate information, as I am someone that is submerged in the day to day realities of trouble shooting on large networks including ISP's.
    What I am adding is as good and accurate last year as it is today, DOCSIS3 has been pretty much mandated within the ISPs for some time now.

    "Whether you want to save money, improve your Internet connection, or just make it a little bit harder for your ISP to spy on you, buying your own modem is a great idea."

    Misleading to nonsense...
    Misleading #1: Leasing modems or equipment do have some positive attributes. Major one is if the device craps out, the ISP replaces without cost, quickly with no hassle. Nothing like having that wiz bang modem combo you have been led to believe is superior to everything, 90 to 180 $ cost not work the 2 week after your warranty expires. Add in cost of replacement.
    Misleading #2: Modems and equipment that you get from an ISP are inferior to what you can buy? Wow? Ok, so the ISP buys from manufacturer and leases out to customers with inferior quality. Stop and make sense of that from a customer satisfaction point of view for a minute. ISP rents inferior device, only to have to replace it because it goes down, has to send out new one, and at the same time pisses off their customer. REALLY!? Fact is most ISPs are selling or leasing modems that are from the same manufacturer that you are buying from. Typically Motorola or Arris... which are one in the same. Arris owns Motorola.

    REALLY Misleading #1: All ISPs require DOCSIS 3 on their networks and have for more than a couple of years, therefore you are not able to improve your performance with any one brand of DOCSIS3 modem, modems are pass through bridged devices, gateways and do not inhibit speed or performance in any way.
    Add to this... do not buy modem / router combos! Do not buy anything that is combo. Remember the old TV / VHS or DVD combos. VCR craps out... no longer usable. Just a TV.
    With modem combos, router goes out, replace the whole thing. No internet. Modem goes out.. same thing replace the whole thing. Modems rarely go down, however WIFI routers do it quite a bit. Wireless routers have several features, non the least the routing capability. But Wireless, that involves different components all together.. it is a radio receiver / transceiver... gets weak over time and usage..and eventually fails. replace the whole thing.

    Does not make sense False #1: ISP to spy on you? Complete nonsense. Any modem, customer owned or leased, that is connected to an ISP's network can be accessed for troubleshooting issues at least, monitor bandwidth usage and to a larger degree capture data that involves copyright infringement, track down wannabe hackers causing disruption on the network, which is not a hard task for any ID10t out there, child porn etc. etc. etc... pretty much crime!
    So accountability for the network and what goes on is solely the ISP's responsibility, therefore ISP's are required to have access at all times to traffic in and out of all the service points in their network. Like a huge day care center as there are so many ID10t's that have to have their behavior monitored. Buying your own modem in no way, shape or form will keep your ISP from "spying" on you. By the way the ISP owns the network, you get on it you are assigning the right for them to "spy" on you if need be.

  12. Jon Steedley
    September 15, 2015 at 10:26 pm

    Hello, all.
    Kudos to Mr. Gell for his excellent addendum; much appreciated.
    I bought a refurbished"Motorola" DOCSIS 3. a few years ago, about $40, ATT.
    I used it until June this year, when a lightning strike on a nearby power pole got it.
    My local ISP charges $4.99 / month modem rental, so it paid for itself in the first 8 months,
    then I saved about $140-$150, before the lightning ended it's run.
    All in all, excellent performance, & fantastic savings.
    Remember, your ISP has an infinite cash cow when your rent a modem, instead of owning one.
    Have a GREAT day, Neighbors!

    • Dann Albright
      September 19, 2015 at 3:29 pm

      A lightning strike on a power pole, huh? Bad luck! Did it fry anything else in your house?

      (Good call on refurbished, too; that's a great way to save money.)

  13. Adrian Gell
    September 15, 2015 at 1:02 am

    Info to add:
    - FiOS and U-Verse are not "cable" providers in the sense that they do not use DOCSIS. This is why a DOCSIS modem will not work. The similar looking device they offer is a router with no modem built in. It does have a MOCA gateway that connects to coax and so it looks like one would expect a cable modem to.
    - While manufacturers publish the speeds their modem is capable of, they also rightly advise to check ISP compatibility for speeds in use. For instance, TWC offers 300 mbps service in some areas, and the SB6141 claims to be capable of up to 343 mbps with its 8 bonded download channels. However the compatibility list linked in the article will clarify that the SB6141 will get capped at 100mbps on their network. The 300 mbps compatible modems listed each feature 16 download channels.
    - It was perhaps implied but not clearly stated in the article that both the Ethernet on the modem, as well as the Ethernet on a connected router (or wired computer) would each need to be Gigabit capable in order to reach speeds over 100mbps. To supply a curious example, the $200 Apple Airport Express features only a 100 mbps Ethernet connection at present.
    - The wireless features offered will also be more important to pay attention to, depending on the subscribed speeds, the features that their other wireless devices actually support, or how future proof one wants their equipment to be. There is enough content on that to fill another article, but there are choices between 2.4GHz band only, or 2.4 plus 5Ghz dual-band, where the 2.4GHz channel can be congested by both neighboring networks as well as other consumer devices like Bluetooth. There are options for the number of MIMO (multi-input/multi-output) channels/antennas which can multiply the maximum speed of the modem, and there will be options for support of wireless-n only, or wireless-ac also. Whereas wireless-n is fairly "new" still, it can still be a bottleneck if subscribed to a fast speed tier, where the wireless-ac can handle it if sufficiently supported by the wireless device being used.

    Hope that helps other readers some also. If I've goofed and got something factually incorrect, please point it out, but I think I've left out anything I wasn't confident of or couldn't verify.

    • likefun butnot
      September 15, 2015 at 4:35 pm

      I found @Adrian Gell's to be a highly illuminating reply.

    • Dann Albright
      September 19, 2015 at 3:28 pm

      Thanks for all of this information, Adrian! This is extremely useful, especially about the compatibility specs and how a fast modem might get capped by a provider. There are a lot of factors that go into how much speed you can actually get from your connection, and even more when you buy your own modem. This is all really great stuff, and I really appreciate it!

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