Do I need a router?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Yumokuko, Dec 31, 2016.

  1. Yumokuko macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2016
    #1
    Hello!

    I am single home user in one apartment with no other users, living apartment block house with over hundred apartments.
    I have cable internet and one modem.

    Mac firewall has "block all incoming connections" and "enable stealth mode" enabled.
    All sharing services are disabled.

    Do I need a router? All ports are disabled with these settings (I assume at least) so is router needed?
     
  2. satcomer macrumors 603

    satcomer

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2008
    Location:
    The Finger Lakes Region
    #2
    Yes a router takes a public IP and the make Prive IPs for your internal network, they call, the NAT(Network Address Translation)! Routers do NAT because the limited numbers of IPv4 addresses to the world of Internet things!

    You should change your router once it stops getting firmware updates because these updates are now contaning router fixes for hacks.

    Plus your ISP sells you ONE IP so if you so don't have a router then you could only have one internet device and say goodbye to smart phones, TV streaming devices, etc.
     
  3. Zazoh macrumors 6502a

    Zazoh

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    Location:
    San Antonio, Texas
    #3
    There are some Internet Modems that provide WiFi routing capabilities as well as a few ports for ethernet. Does your ISP provide that type of Modem?

    If all you are plugging in is your Mac and you are concerned about security, no, a router doesn't necessarily provide extra layer of security. In fact, improperly configured, it could pose additional problems. If you need more than one connection and your modem only allows one, then you will need a router.
     
  4. DeltaMac macrumors G3

    DeltaMac

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2003
    Location:
    Delaware
    #4
    Your ISP's modem may have a built-in router (more than one ethernet port on the back, or wireless included with the modem.

    You can share your internet connection from your Mac to other devices (which makes your Mac a router).
    But, it sounds like you are shy about using some of the services that you might use in your system - which is OK!
     
  5. Fishrrman macrumors G5

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #5
    OP wrote:
    "I have cable internet and one modem."

    Is it just a "cable modem" (modem without a router), or...
    Is it a combined "modem/router" (often called a "residential gateway")?

    If you're not sure, look on the back of it.
    Does it have several ethernet ports (LAN ports)? This would indicate that it's a gateway (modem/router).

    If it's a residential gateway, then you don't really need another router, because it's already built in.
    If it's just a cable modem, then YES, you DO need some kind of a router to provide a "hardware firewall" between you and the net (it's called "NAT" for "network address translation").

    Hmmm....
    You didn't tell us what kind of Mac you're using?
    If it's a laptop, and you've got wireless, then I'm guessing that you have a residential gateway with a wifi-capable modem already there.
    (How else would you be connecting?)

    Tell us what's on the back of the cable modem.
    Tell us what kind of Mac you're using.
    Tell us if you're connecting via ethernet or wifi?
     
  6. Yumokuko thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2016
    #6

    The modem I got only has one ethernet hole. The backside of my modem:
    1 power port
    2 telephone ports (not in use)
    1 ethernet port
    1 USB port (not in use)
    1 tiny button "reboot emta"
    1 cable place where Internet cable is attached


    It looks like this

    [​IMG]


    That's good to hear! I found some articles how router is needed for security, but they looked like they were written for Windows PCs. So router isn't essential for Mac?


    I'm pretty sure this modem lacks built-in router. I tried to google it and seems like Scientific Atlanta 2203 is only modem. It has only one ethernet port.

    I only have one device though. And yeah, I have no need for sharing services for myself and rather shut them all down for peace of mind. :)

    Mac Mini, attached with ethernet cable to modem.
    Modem has one Ethernet port, Internet through cable.

    The backside of modem looks like this:
    1 power port
    2 telephone ports (not in use)
    1 ethernet port
    1 USB port (not in use)
    1 tiny button "reboot emta"
    1 cable place where Internet cable is attached

    So without hardware firewall, I'm in danger?
     
  7. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #7
    Correct... that is a stand alone cable modem/VOIP device. You should get yourself a router for better security.
     
  8. Yumokuko thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2016
    #8
    So I do need one... Best is to contact ISP in this case as getting one myself could cause incompatibilities?
     
  9. kiwipeso1 Suspended

    kiwipeso1

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2001
    Location:
    Wellington, New Zealand
    #9
    Best to get an ASUS with AC wifi, very reliable.
    --- Post Merged, Dec 31, 2016 ---
    No need to contact the ISP, as they will just give you a junk router which is only going to perform as bad as possible.
    The usual junk router (Thompson) ISPs hand out is not mac friendly, and really old and slow wifi.

    The best thing about having your own router is that you don't need to replace it if you change ISPs, and it is easier to deal with than the headaches of an ISP supplied piece of junk.
     
  10. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

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    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #10
    Yes... you should have one. Like kiwi said... routers are pretty standard and any router should work and the ISP ones tend to be low end. If the ISP will give you a modem/router combo free with no monthly cost and your needs are modest (sounds like yours are), the ISP one may be just fine.
     
  11. Yumokuko thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2016
    #11
    Thank you! So just go to shop and see what they have?
    Are there any conditions to check when buying router - like would it actually fit this modem or Mac?



    Hm... not sure if cost would not increase with them. Guess I'll try with shop.
    Should I pay attention to anything? Like if router actually matches with this modem or I'll just take modem name and ask the guys in shop?

    Actually, how hard is to get router to work?
     
  12. BorderingOn macrumors 6502

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    Jun 12, 2016
    Location:
    BaseCamp Pro
    #12
    How about an Apple Airport? Despite the rumors, one would serve you well for a long time and setup couldn't be easier.

    Also, don't fall into the trap of thinking Macs aren't vulnerable. It's not viruses that are the concern when directly connected to the Internet; it's exploiting connections your Mac may have open at a particular time either by accident or on purpose through numerous means.
     
  13. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #13
    Nah... routers are standard gear. You could literally walk into the shop and close your eyes and grab six routers and they would all work.

    Smallnetbuilder writes a good overview of routers each year here that will help you choose.

    If you scroll to the end of that article they suggest the AC1900 class of routers as best bang for the buck, and I agree. Among those, I own and like the Asus AT-RC68U.

    For your small apartment with just one device, you would even be served just fine by the AC1200 class of routers one step down from the AC1900 class. Asus makes a RT-AC56U in this class that is a good router. You can find that on Amazon for $86.

    What stores do you have nearby?
     
  14. kiwipeso1 Suspended

    kiwipeso1

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2001
    Location:
    Wellington, New Zealand
    #14
    I have the ASUS RT-68ACU , it has served me well since June 2014 with no issues.
    The firmware includes a built-in antivirus from trend micro, QOS and 6 guest wifi networks.
    It also has 3 antennas, which can be pointed to cover the sweet spots of where you use the MBA.
    Coverage is pretty good, I can get decent speeds across the largest residential section in my street to the footpath and the back yard.

    Newer models have 6 or 8 antennas, and my father is about to outfit the pacific islander church with an 8 antenna ASUS router for multiple camera feeds across wifi to replace the current mess of cables. However, you may not have a huge area to cover at 5 Gbps speeds for several wifi AC devices. (On macs, 2013 models or newer.)
     
  15. Yumokuko thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2016
    #15
    I haven't actually even heard about Apple Airport before. It's a type of wifi center?


    Thank you!
    Well, I'm living in Europe so shops are different here. I browsed the home pages of two big sellers of tech and right now, I'm in conundrum. Maybe I can find a place where Asus are being sold, but the main routers sold here are all D-Link, Trendnet, TP-link and Linksys.

    Do those names say anything to you? Trustworthy, trash?

    That does sound nice... now if only I could find shop selling those here in Europe.
     
  16. phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #16
    To the OP -

    1) yes an Airport Router will work but is expensive for what one gets.
    2) yes, the Asus recommended router is a better product and more bang for the buck (along with other makes).
    3) yes, a router often has features that help makes your connectivity less risk (or some say, more secure).
    4) yes, firewalls are something you should just at least brush over on the surface to understand their function. Most people fail to do this and later, it can cause grief. The internet is not getting any safer and as we all know, far more malicious things can happen than ever before. At least 80 percent of potential issues can be avoided with minor changes on how we engage the Internet.
     
  17. BorderingOn macrumors 6502

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    Jun 12, 2016
    Location:
    BaseCamp Pro
    #17
    Here you go...

    https://www.engadget.com/products/apple/airport/extreme/6th-gen/

    I agree with anyone who says it's overpriced. But it's a lot easier to setup and manage than most others. The performance is great too.
     
  18. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

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    Location:
    California
    #18
    http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/tools/rankers/router/ranking/AC1200/rev8/195

    The TP-Link C5 and the Linksys EA6350 or WRT1200AC all did well in tests at this link. Do local shops have any of those in stock. These are all AC1200 class routers and would be fine for your needs.
    --- Post Merged, Jan 1, 2017 ---
    I might have agreed a few years ago, but most of the big name routers have very easy to run web setup now. I recently bought a new Asus and it is easier to setup and configure than an Apple router using Airport Utility. Plus the WAN - LAN performance on the Airport Extreme is horrible.
     
  19. BorderingOn macrumors 6502

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    Jun 12, 2016
    Location:
    BaseCamp Pro
    #19
    Fair enough. I haven't seen some of the user friendly improvements to which you refer and was focused on limiting superfluous options and features that might get a more basic user in trouble. Glad to hear things are changing.

    Hardware quality is what drove me to the airport in the first place. I got tired of reboots and burnt out devices. I was disappointed that Apple removed things like SNMP, power adjustment, and QOS settings. When I replace it, I'll check out the new consumer devices but will most likely end up with something in the small business space, which I've already done with switches.

    Happy New Year all!
     
  20. Fishrrman macrumors G5

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #20
    OP:

    You might also consider one of the new "mesh-type" router systems in place of a typical "standalone" router.
    This depends on the size and layout of the apartment, etc.

    Look up "Netgear Orbi", "eero", and "Google Wifi" for examples.
     
  21. phrehdd, Jan 1, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2017

    phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #21
    The Orbi competes with those mesh systems but it is actually not real "mesh." I admit Orbi (not only for the results it gets) is very much akin to simple problem solving found years ago when trying to create logical and practical solution and has beaten out its home mesh competitors on many tests.
     
  22. kiwipeso1 Suspended

    kiwipeso1

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2001
    Location:
    Wellington, New Zealand
    #22
    Just a note, all the Asus routers of the last 9 years have bridge mode built in the web interface, and it is simple to do.
    (Going back to the first wifi N routers by Asus in default firmware.)

    I would suggest D-Link, Linksys, then TP-Link as reasonable alternatives, but not as reliable as Asus.
    (You should be able to get it on amazon)
     

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