I’m sure you’ve never thought about buying a modem before, and why would you? Your internet service provider (ISP) rents it to you, they come set it up, and that’s it. It might be super convenient, but isn’t that wasted money?
There are many benefits to buying your own modem. If you’ve read our Cutting The Cord post and you’re planning on making the change, you’ll definitely want your own modem to handle all of the media you’ll be streaming. With that said, why should you shell out the money to buy your own modem when your ISP takes care of all that?
Why Buy a Modem?
There’s a ton of reasons why you should consider buying your own more. Here are some of the best:
- Save Money: Most ISPs charge charge you anywhere from $5-$10 a month for your modem/router. At $10 a month, that’s $240 over a two-year period. You can save a lot of money buying a modem that could last you up to 10 years. This means that you could recoup the costs of the modem within a year or two easily.
- Choose New or Used: You can choose whether you buy a new or used modem, while most of the time the ISP will give you a used model that may not be up to date.
- Pick Your Performance: Since you get to choose, you can also buy something that fits your performance needs. Sometimes your ISP will rent out a modem that won’t even let you take advantage of all the internet speed you’re paying for.
- Customization: If you’re big on customization, you’ll definitely want to buy. Some ISPs won’t give you the info required to customize anything on your modem’s software. Even if they do, when you need special customization options on your modem that the ISPs don’t have, you’ll have to go purchase your own.
Drawbacks of Buying a Modem
As with everything, there are a few drawbacks to buying your own modem versus renting from your ISP, including:
- Accountability: If your rented modem dies (under normal circumstances), your ISP will send you a new one with no extra charge. If the modem you buy dies, that’s all on you (unless it’s still under warranty). That means you shell out the money to go buy a new one.
- Minor Tech Savvy Required: There is very little technical knowledge required, but if you’re one of those people who doesn’t know where a modem plugs into, you should probably just let your ISP handle it, or you can always learn how. (maybe put a link to an outside article on how to set up a modem)
- Compatibility: Some modems may not be compatible with your current ISP, so make sure to talk to them before purchasing.
Which is the best modem for you?
Depending on your needs, you are going to choose between two basic types of modems: a dedicated modem and a modem router 2-in-1.
A dedicated modem is just that, a modem. Dedicated modems are great for two types of people: Those who only have one device connected to their internet (usually a desktop computer), and those who already have or are planning to purchase a separate router. These modems are usually less expensive than the 2-in-1 models and have higher performance capabilities. For the best bang for your buck, an amazing choice is the Arris Motorola SB6141. It is compatible with most ISPs and offers great performance capabilities. Purchase on Amazon for $86.97.
Modem Router 2-in-1
A modem router 2-in-1 is the best of both worlds, even if it might be dumbed-down a bit. A 2-in-1 eliminates the need for a separate router and keeps everything in a nice little package. While the performance capability is lower than a dedicated modem and router pair, this will work well for anything but the highest of internet needs and will most likely save you some money since it’s less expensive than buying them separately. The performance drop is due to this machine doing two very intensive tasks at the same time. My favorite 2-in-1 is the Netgear C3700 Cable Modem Router. Purchasing this will get you the most for your money, at $122.99 from Amazon.