I need to buy a Cable modem Router

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by blackxacto, Jun 22, 2018.

  1. blackxacto macrumors 6502

    blackxacto

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2009
    Location:
    Middle TN
    #1
    At present I use a separate modem w my 2.4 ghz Netgear router for use w Comcast cable. Need advice on what I need.

    Should I get a combo modem & router?
    Don’t I want a 5.0 ghz only?
    What do the figures 24x8, or 8x4 mean?
    Why DOCISS 3.0 or 3.1?

    I live in a small home, just me, I like streaming Comcast on my iPad Pro (10.5”) in bed. I don’t have a gaming console, YET, but maybe, as the Mac is becoming useless for gaming on Steam.

    Why do combo cable modem routers vary as much as double in price? What is inside that doubles the price?

    Here’s the thing, I stream (2.4 ghz) Comcast movies fine now on my iPad Pro (10.5”), but isn’t the 2.4 band crowded in my neighborhood?
     
  2. treestar macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2010
    #2
    5 GHz only isn't ideal. 2.4 GHz is still good for IOT devices that are far from your router.
     
  3. vertical smile macrumors 68030

    vertical smile

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2014
    #3
    I prefer having things separate, but together would be fine too.

    2.4GHz has better range/coverage, but subjected to overcrowding and not as fast as 5GHz.
    5GHz has faster data, good for streaming movies, but the range/coverage is not as good.

    This is the number of downstream and upstream channels, the higher the better, but could be limited by the ISP

    It depends on your internet speed and ISP. 3.1 is newer and faster, but your ISP might not support it. 3.1 is probably more expensive too. 3.0 might be fine for your needs. I use a 3.0 modem.

    Can you give examples? This is most likely do to the wireless standard and DOCSIS version.
     
  4. kohlson macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2010
    #4
    Cable modem routers are quite different, depending on whether you have a phone line (EMTA) or not. Last I checked those that carry phone lines were somewhat more expensive.

    But if you need only internet and cable TV, those can be obtained at prices starting under $100, which include wifi.
     
  5. blackxacto thread starter macrumors 6502

    blackxacto

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    Jun 15, 2009
    Location:
    Middle TN
  6. NoBoMac macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2014
    #6
    Comcast provides lists of compatible devices. Just plug in your information and then price shop on Amazon, Best Buy, Newegg, Fry's, etc.

    https://mydeviceinfo.xfinity.com

    Personally, have always been a separates person. Can swap out the wifi portion when something better comes along, old one dies, etc. At times, Comcast can be a pain to get the modem provisioned, so, like to get that setup once and forget about it, and dither with the wifi piece. Also, if a combo box dies, you're dead in the water, while with separates, as long as the modem is alive, worst case, can plug directly into it, or put back on line an old wifi box that might be lying around.

    Wifi standards change rapidly vs. cable modems are relatively "static", imo, so, don't want to commit to whatever wifi standard is part of the combo boxes for a long haul.
     
  7. Banglazed, Jun 22, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2018

    Banglazed macrumors 65816

    Banglazed

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2017
    Location:
    Cupertino, CA
    #7
    What current Comcast tier do you have? I believe DOCSIS 3.0 is all you need to support up to 700MB while 3.1 up to 10GB downstream which might be overkill and not necessary if you don’t have 1GB+ connection. If you do plan for the future, then 3.1 + router combo might be a better deal on Amazon around $190. If you plan to switch in the future, it might be better to get a cheap 3.0 modem as low as $30 and better router at least AC1900. Then, you can resell the modem if you change ISP.
     
  8. techwarrior macrumors 6502a

    techwarrior

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2009
    Location:
    Colorado
    #8
    In order to Future Proof your setup, you might want a DOCSIS 3.1 Modem, as others have said the more streams, the faster the service you can eventually subscribe to. 3.1 is backwards compatible to 3.0 in case Comcast doesn't support 3.1 in your area yet.

    Buy a separate router. While it is nice and tidy to have an all in one, WiFi is approaching a new, faster standard. When 802.11ax arrives in the next 6-12 months, you could drop a new router in without having to replace the modem.

    There are several factors that will be pushing ISP to offer faster speeds with the same, or lower prices. 5G is most here and the cell carriers would like to begin offering "Fixed Wireless" to homes at speeds in excess of 1Gbps, potentially up to 3-4Gbps over time. The cost of providing this service will be far less than stringing cables to each house, they simply spin up an antenna near clusters of homes and you buy a modem with an antenna to receive the signal. So, for the cell carriers, adding home internet service on top of cell, and offering video streaming on top of that (AT&T DirectTV, TMobile + Layer3, etc) and they can expand their services and revenue at the expense of cable companies.

    What this will do is force cable companies to up their game to keep customers. DOCSIS 3.1 is potentially capable of up to 10Gbps down, 1Gbps up, so don't skimp on the modem if you think you might want to use these faster speeds at some point. ISP won't push those speeds initially, but the 1Gbps they offer in many locations now will likely come down in price and become available in more places. 3.1 modems don't all support 1Gbps, some max out at 300-500Mbps, thus the more streams supported will enable you to increase speeds without new hardware.

    As these faster broadband speeds become a reality, faster WiFi will need to catch up, that is where 802.11ax comes in. It can potentially reach 10Gbps speeds, though initial offers will likely be 1-3Gbps. Current 802.11ac can reach 1.3 to 1.8 Gbps currently, but with faster broadband, you may someday want faster WiFi.

    Before you dismiss all of this as over the top, consider that 15-20 years ago, we were happy using dial up modems at 56Kbps. Services will fill the voids when faster broadband is common. So, buying smart now can reduce your cost later.

    As for the 5Ghz versus 2.4, I don't think there are any 5Ghz only routers. All that I have seen have both 2.4 and 5, and that solves 2 issues. Many older devices, and smart home devices use 2.4 because of the longer range, cheaper hardware, and adequate bandwidth for the limited amount of data they use. Plus, it will give you coverage over a wider area than 5Ghz.

    While 2.4Ghz interference is more common, 802.11ax will also address this with methods to reduce conflicts. If you use the same network name and password for both bands, your devices will tend to connect to whichever will work better.

    All that said, look at the mydeviceinfo link above to find modems that will fit the need. And look beyond the immediate need as it will all get pretty interesting in the next several years.
     
  9. vertical smile macrumors 68030

    vertical smile

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2014
    #9
    I don't disagree, as buying a 3.1 would future proof your modem, but for the other side of things, 3.0 modems are really cheap now, and depending on the needs, could serve the OP for many years before would even benefit from DOCSIS 3.1.

    To the OP: Posting what your needs and your typical usage would be very helpful for suggestions.

    My needs might be very different than yours, but anything over 100Mbps at my home is never used. Not too long ago, I was using 25Mbps, and that was fine for a stream-heavy family.

    My family regularly has 3+ TVs streaming 1080p Netflix at the same time.

    To give you an idea of how fast the slowest DOCSIS 3.0 modem is capable of, the cheapest and slowest 3.0 that Best Buy currently sells would be able to handle 1080p streams of Netflix on 60 TVs all at the same time.

    With prices of DOCSIS 3.0 modems being really cheap, $37 for the one linked, it might be worth getting the cheaper ones now, and buy a new one when you actually need it, and by then they would probably be the same price that the 3.0 ones are now.
     
  10. HDFan macrumors 6502a

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    #10
     
  11. 960design macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2012
    Location:
    Destin, FL
    #11
    That's almost like asking what car should you purchase. There are so many options.

    Here's what I recently purchased?
    http://www.arris.com/surfboard/products/wi-fi-cable-modems/sbg7580-ac/



    Absolutely. Simplify your life.

    Only if you want to receive wireless signal in the same room. I'm exaggerating quite a bit. 5.0 can stream faster, makes sense right. 2.4 can penetrate walls better. 2.4 could be saturated in your neighborhood, that's why it is important to purchase a good modem/router that can monitor the channels and switch on the fly.

    First number is downstream, second number is upstream. As a consumer you are typically receiving more data than sending. So, the 'pipe' is adjusted in your favor to allow content to arrive more quickly. The router/modem I listed above is 32x8.

    3.0 is all you need you currently need, unless your downstream is greater that 1.2 Gbps! Most of us are running somewhere between 50Gbs -> 500Gbs in the US. 3.1 is the newer specs and are not fully implemented yet on the provider side. You will notice no appreciable difference between a 3.0 and a 3.1 for the next couple of years. By then there will probably be something newer: 'Direct brain transfer protocol 1.2.1'
     
  12. blackxacto thread starter macrumors 6502

    blackxacto

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2009
    Location:
    Middle TN
    #12
    960design, I appreciate you taking time to respond to my question. Purchased a Netgear 6300. Finally realize what all the discussion about 2.4 and 5 is about. It took awhile to realize how to setup the 6300. Chose to broadcast only in 5ghz. Tried streaming in bed last night on my iPad Pro (10.5”), worked flawlessly. Its great to have only one device, rather than two on the desk.
     
  13. KPandian1 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2013
    #13
    Arris modem and a Netgear router.

    Do use both 2.4 and 5 GHz broadcast (default setting) unless your apartment is less than 20X20 feet.
     
  14. blackxacto thread starter macrumors 6502

    blackxacto

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2009
    Location:
    Middle TN
    #14
    Small house. Streaming on 5ghz was clean and fast. As long as it works, I won't change, but have the 2.4 in case it begins hiccups.
     
  15. Tech198, Jun 25, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2018

    Tech198 macrumors G5

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2011
    Location:
    Australia, Perth
    #15
    Dual band is always good, unless know know all devices will only connect at 5 Ghz. 5Ghz is better signal, but 2.4 goes through walls better, so don't be surprised to find if u get 5g only device, y must move all connecting ones into same room to connect.

    Combo router is less flak when troubleshooting issues, and you only have do deal with one device, vs separate one plus the cable/signal getting there.

    Can't speak for cable modem's, as i have NBN (FTTN) here in Australia, but the price different like here would probably be integrated Voip, integrated A/C, other features like USB ports for directly connecting external drive/file sharing from usb port., that sorta thing.. I most of that any stuff anyway, but i prefer all in one.
     
  16. blackxacto thread starter macrumors 6502

    blackxacto

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2009
    Location:
    Middle TN
    #16
    “must move all connecting ones into same room to connect.”

    What do you mean? All my devices are using 5ghz cleanly here, all over the house.
     
  17. Tech198 macrumors G5

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2011
    Location:
    Australia, Perth
    #17
    5Ghz doesn't go through walls as well.. so i'm saying if you get a 5Gz router and find your devices do not connect anymore, don't be surprised why they won't if signal is now weak because u have walls in place.

    Duel band is better really. at least that way you have the best of both.
     
  18. blackxacto thread starter macrumors 6502

    blackxacto

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2009
    Location:
    Middle TN
    #18
    One more time. I set the router/modem to use only 5ghz. I am cleanly streaming all over my house on all devices.
     
  19. Dimwhit macrumors 68000

    Dimwhit

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2007
    #19
    The wireless module for most Cable/DSL modems is garbage. Get a quality router separate from the modem.
     
  20. blackxacto thread starter macrumors 6502

    blackxacto

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2009
    Location:
    Middle TN
    #20
    Bought the NETGEAR C6300 - 100NAS, which may be overkill, but I am receiving 111Mbps from Comcast and broadcasting on 5Ghz successfully around our house from this one device, no relays or boosters.
     

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