Very Basic Home Network Hardware Suggestions

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by Dynasty90, Mar 2, 2016.

  1. Dynasty90, Mar 2, 2016
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 3, 2016

    Dynasty90 macrumors newbie

    Feb 5, 2014
    I currently have cable internet service and use a Arris DG860 modem and router from the service provider.

    I would like to purchase my own instead of paying monthly for the one they provide. I have no idea what to purchase.

    My home has 1 desktop that plugs in directly to the modem and then has 3 laptops that use wi-fi and 2 tablets that use wi-fi.

    I'm not really tech savvy when it comes to networking, but do want speed, reliability, and simplicity at a fair price.

    Current speeds: 30mbps download & 5mbps upload

    My internet service provider stated any DOCSIS 3.0 modem is compatible with their service.

    I'm unsure if I should get an all-in-one modem/router or separate equipment?

    Will I see significant performance improvements by going with separate equipment?
  2. Crashster macrumors newbie

    Mar 2, 2016
    Everyone always recommends getting a separate modem and router. This modem is very popular and I bought it based on so many recommendations: Arris SB6141

    As far as the router, I am in the same boat as you. I want something good, reliable, but simple.

    I have seen the TP-Link C7 recommended all over the place. But this seems like it's more for people who want to do a lot of their own configuring.

    Then there is the Airport Express and Airport Extreme. The Express seems like it would work fine for me, the Extreme has some added benefits, but it also doubles the price and I'm not sure if the added benefits will be worth it.

    As far as my network, I have a MacBook Air, 2 Roku's, a smart TV, a printer, an iPad, and an iPhone connected to the network. My home is 1,100sqft. I just want something that will be easy and make a good connection. I think the Airport Express will work for me and for you as well.

    I await the responses from other people who know more about this.
  3. Altemose macrumors G3


    Mar 26, 2013
    Elkton, Maryland
    I personally always advise getting a separate modem and router. The combo units often offer slower performance and little incentive to purchase them, but of course there are exceptions to that statement. The latest crop of ASUS, Netgear, and TP-Link routers are the leader in benchmark performance and configurability. Apple takes a different approach and strives for simplify, reliability, and solid performance. In benchmarks, you will see other routers benchmark higher, but you cannot beat the "set it and forget it" mentality that you get with the AirPort Extreme. It also has an unprecedented warranty option and official Time Machine support amongst other selling points. Plus if you get it from Apple Refurbished, you can get it for $129 which is a very good price.
  4. Hilbert92 macrumors member


    May 21, 2015
    Arris Surfboard SB6183 DOCSIS 3.0 sb6183&qid=1457111032&ref_=sr_1_1&sr=8-1

    Apple Airport Extreme - Refurbished

    you shouldn't need much more than that. Make sure you get some good Cat6 cables. Cables to go makes some good patch cables. This setup is good up to 600Mbp from the ISP. The modem can handle 600mbps and the router can handle gigabit. The Airport express only handles 100mbps so it will be outdated sooner than the Extreme. Plus the Extreme can handle AC wireless.
  5. glenthompson macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2011
    As stated, get a separate modem and router. That allows you to upgrade either without affecting the other. You can get much better equipment separately. As to brand I currently use Arris modems and Netgear routers plus one Airport Extreme. I've been happy with them.

    As to speed and reliability I follow these rules:

    Anything that sits in one place gets hardwired - printers, NAS, Apple TV, security hub, Sat receiver, iMac, etc. The only devices in our house that use WiFi are the iPads and iPhones.

    Try to get the router as close to the center of the house as you can. If you can't consider adding a 2nd router in bridge mode to make sure you get a solid signal everywhere.

    Security is important for reliability. Make sure you have good and different passwords for router admin accounts and WiFi access.
  6. Michael CM1 macrumors 603

    Feb 4, 2008
    When I signed up with Comcast I got some $90 DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem. I think it had max speeds of 100-150Mbps, which well exceeded my 25Mbps service. Had pretty good luck with it. Minimal problems after we initially figured it out during installation.

    I miss those days. I switched back to Windstream when they got their speeds up and seemed to have cheaper prices. Well, they say you can use your own modem. But almost nobody sells it and I swear there are two models that they say work. So I'm stuck with $7/month renting that damn thing. I got sick of Comcast's auto-pay not working and sucking me on late fees when I forgot. I'm sitting between a rock and a hard place on these.

    I would recommend two different boxes. If you get an all-in-one, you're going to limit yourself on features. Also Apple doesn't make modems, and I'm a big fan of the AEBS. Just trying to figure out if mine is dying or just old.
  7. r8ders2k macrumors member

    Oct 31, 2009
    I've got an Arris SurfBoard SB6190 cable modem and an AirPort Extreme 802.11ac. Like others have mentioned, get Cat6 cables and if you need to extend your wired network, consider the Netgear 5-/8-port Gigabit (v4) switches.
  8. DJLC macrumors 6502a


    Jul 17, 2005
    North Carolina
    For you an Arris SB6141 would suffice. If you have a little extra to spend, the 6183 would be good too.

    As far as routers go, I recommend ASUS. Not a fan of Apple's routers at all. But I will say Apple routers are reliable so long as you're not doing anything fancy it'd do fine. The AppleCare warranty is definitely an attractive plus.

    Would not recommend a combo unit.
  9. Dynasty90 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 5, 2014
    OP here,

    I will be moving to a new residence in the next few weeks and have not taken action in terms of upgrading to my own equipment. I turned in the rental modem and am now in the situation where I question renting their equipment or purchasing my own.

    Are the suggestions mentioned already still relevant July 2017? Or are there better options for a simple plug and pay home network?
  10. belvdr macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2005
    No longer logging into MR
    I use an Arris SB6190 and it's been solid for over a year. I currently have 100/10 service and get 120/12.

    For a router, I used a Linksys EA8500 for awhile but it's IPv6 support was sporadic. I switched to a Ubiquiti EdgeRouter Lite and migrated the EA8500 to an AP only.

    If I were to do over, I would get a Ubiquiti UniFi Security Gateway and one of their APs to provide connectivity and keep the SB6190.
  11. 960design macrumors 68030

    Apr 17, 2012
    Destin, FL
    Very good advice so far. I have in the past always used separate modem and wireless router. Since I have had two lightning strikes recently and had to replace both the modem and wireless router - Airport Extreme, this last time I went with a combo unit.

    I have had the combo for about 2 months and very happy with it.
  12. ImBuz macrumors 6502


    Oct 23, 2014
    I just upgraded to Google wifi mesh system and very happy
  13. kohlson macrumors 68000

    Apr 23, 2010
    I have Comcast - internet and tv, no voice. I purchased an inexpensive Netgear modem. Best Buy, Fry's, and others stock them and they work well. Time Capsule and Airport Express's do the wi-fi. All works well.
  14. techwarrior macrumors 65816


    Jul 30, 2009
    Comcast has a site with compatible\tested modems, and will recommend based on your service level. Other ISP may offer the same.

    The modem itself is pretty basic, go for something that supports faster speeds than you currently get for future proofing. My Comcast service speeds have increased several times over the years, without changing service tiers, but my modem is still up to the task, albeit no longer supported. While I am nearing the end of usefulness for my current modem (my service is nearing the theoretical limit of my current modem), I am holding out as 5G service from wireless carriers may come into the scene in the coming year or so with 1Gbps speeds at lower prices than most DSL and cable services charge today. Further, cable companies may move towards Docsis 3.1 soon, so a newer modem might be needed to take full advantage or that. With this in mind, go for lower prices on modems.

    I subscribe to the multiple devices camp as well. Easier to swap one or the other with minimal disruption.

    Arris purchased the Motorola line a while ago I believe, so their products (Surfboard) are the next gen Motorola devices, and Motorola was kind of the standard. Any compatible Arris modem should do the trick, and aside from future proofing, one product is unlikely to deliver significant difference in functionality over the other until you start looking at higher speed tiers.

    As for routers, a prefer Airport for simplicity, reliability and consistency (most of my products are Apple). They are more than adequate for the slower speed ISP services. Refurb Airport products are as good as new, so save a few $$ if you decide to go the Apple route. I have a refurb Time Capsule and two return Expresses, they have worked flawlessly for years.
  15. kiwipeso1 Suspended


    Sep 17, 2001
    Wellington, New Zealand
    I would suggest the ASUS routers are best, for modest AC wifi I had the RT-68U.
    There is now a gaming model with 8 gigabit lan ports and 4 aerials at 3200 AC mimo which is suitable for future proof internet, which has standard WRT software that allows for easy setup and admin either by web or app.
    It has anti-virus software built in, so you don't need to run anti-virus on your computers and you get a performance boost from that.
  16. Howlinmoon macrumors newbie


    Apr 26, 2013
    Most combo units I have seen only offer 2.4GHz wireless networking - usually advertised via 11b/g/n

    Depending on how close you are to your neighbors - the odds are good that they also have 2.4GHz and your networks can overlap causing congestion. (There are only 3 non-overlapping channels in 2.4GHz)

    I highly recommend spending a little more and getting something that supports 5GHz networking.
    This is shorter range than 2.4GHz - which means less chance of being interfered with by neighbors - has a higher throughput, and many more channels available. (shorter range but it should still be perfect for most residential applications)
    If you want to buy something that supports the latest WiFi standards, grab something that has 11ac support - not only will it support the latest - but you are assured it also supports 5GHz.
    11n came out almost 10 years ago, which is a lifetime in the technology world...
  17. belvdr macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2005
    No longer logging into MR
    To confuse matters, there's 802.11ac Wave 2, which supports even higher bandwidth as well.

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