Nowadays, most internet subscribers prefer using modem and router combo units so as to enjoy the benefits of both devices in web access. A router works by connecting two networks, such as your home network and the Web, then forwarding traffic between them. On the other hand, a modem converts internet signals so that virtual information can be relayed over it.
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Below are some of the best modem router combo products in the market today.
Almond is an acclaimed Wi-Fi router that’s simple to install and can be controlled from a touch-screen interface
ASUS RT-N66U is an impressive router with serious power and intuitive features, it’s also very affordable costing less than $100
Though it costs less than $100, this is not an entry-level router by any case and from observations, it actually performs better than other units that are much more expensive
NETGEAR N450 is a WiFi Router device with high-speed cable Web connectivity, it runs on an 802.11n Gigabit system that’s super fast and suitable for both online gaming and HD video streaming. The unit is compatible with various bundle voice services including Cox, Spectrum and Comcast Xfinity amongst many others
Best DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem
A good DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem can save you from the costs of expensive rental internet plans. Furthermore, the device should be compatible with all major cable ISPs in the country such as Comcast, Cox, Time Warner Cable and Charter. Similarly, the product you pick must have positive online reviews from previous users. This shows that it’s reliable and trustworthy amongst many people.
Keen on knowing more? It would be great if the device you choose allows for flexibility of switching from one service provider (SP) to another, particularly if you’re moving to a new location.
Likewise, a recommendable cable modem should be able to handle network congestions easily. Apart from having more channel lanes to avoid network traffic overcrowding.
Cable Modem for Comcast
Most cable modems for Comcast allow for channel bonding and faster download/upload speeds. For setup, all that’s required of you is plugging it to your coaxial port, powering it on and then you’re good to go. However, new users must first contact Comcast and notify them that they want to disconnect from the rented modem and move over to their Internet service.
Note that Comcast hides their approved compatible equipment list from random site visitors, specifically those who do not have a Comcast customer account. Therefore, the best way to know if your cable modem has been recognized is by opening an account with them.
But here’s the interesting thing.
Nowadays there are cable modems for Comcast that also double up as routers. You can save money by purchasing such modem/router combos, instead of buying each one of them singly. So there is no need for extra wires and securing them with staple guns. There are many brands to choose from though you must first get a reliable networking equipment, so as to eliminate expensive monthly fees.
Wireless Cable Modem
You should consider getting a new wireless cable modem if yours doesn’t support the DOCSIS 3.0 network system, this is the latest configuration of data that allows for high-speed Internet connection according to Data Over Cable Services Interface Specification. The body that governs how network operators distribute high-speed web access.
Quite naturally, if you’ve owned your modem for some time, it would be prudent to conduct a short Google search to know whether it supports DOCSIS 3.0. A 3.1 version is also available in various small test markets, it’s suitable for gigabit-speed Web plans.
Generally, every revised edition of DOCSIS offers improved performance and extra features. For instance, the first versions only allowed for a single downstream channel and one upstream channel. However, DOCSIS 3.0 now permits wireless cable modems to merge multiple channels into one data stream. Therefore giving you faster speeds in every possible direction.
DSL Modem Router Combo
A DSL, also known as digital subscriber line, is an equipment that’s used to connect a PC or router to a phone line which gives the DSL network for connectivity to the web. A process is technically known as DSL broadband.
Therefore, a digital subscriber line modem connects to a primary computer through Ethernet Port, PCI slot or USB port. The more common model functions as both a modem and router, connecting multiple computers via several Ethernet ports or a main wireless access point.
Popularly referred to as a residential gateway, DSL routers manage the connection and sharing of internet service within a household or small office grid.
Typically, they consist of a connection box fitted with an RJ11 jack, which helps in connecting to standard subscriber phone lines. There are also multiple RJ45 jacks for fitting Ethernet cables, so as to connect the device to remote computers via USB cable. Power is usually transmitted via a cord attached to a wall-wart transformer.
Router for Gaming
Routers usually come under heavy load when it comes to video gaming, they must, therefore, deliver cutting-edge performance in order to stay useful.
The key feature that a gaming router should have is Quality of Service or QoS settings. It helps in prioritizing gaming traffic over other web content, hence ensuring seamless frame rates during play. This is very useful in cases where other consumers on the network are using the same bandwidth for different purposes, such as downloading files or streaming other videos.
For some people, a gaming router should also look the part in order to tick. In such cases, they have attractive paint jobs with images of items like sportscars, military aircrafts, and other fancy objects. Likewise, a gaming router will look perfectly at home when placed alongside a dual-monitor setup, or wrapped inside a LED-emblazoned casing.
Most modern routers are designed to be compatible with other devices that run on frequency levels of between 2.4 GHz and 5GHz. If you’re using your phone to connect to the router, then it should at least have a 2.4GHz wireless network for the process to be complete. Though a higher frequency would even work better.
Two devices can only be compatible when they communicate freely via a wireless network, they should also resonate on the same channel frequency like a 2-way radio. Wireless networks are simply a merger of modified dual-way radios that relay data instead of sound. All compatible devices must operate on the same channel, or else they won’t exchange signals and only end up being static.
To enhance the compatibility of your device, preferably use a standalone modem or if it’s not available on your ISP plan then bridge the modem/router to another remote router. Moreover, if possible phones should be provided with their own separate web connection different from the one used on your computers.
The Advantages of a Cable Modem Router
The key advantage to sticking with your combined modem/router unit is that it’s simpler to manage. Since most cable modem routers operate as a single device, whereby a modem has its own built-in router. It helps in creating more space for storage compared to using two individual devices.
If you have limited space, the combo unit will be very convenient. It reduces the overall number of cables you need to setup the network and link to a network. On the other hand, separate modems and routers must first communicate with each other in order to work. Typically via an Ethernet cable.
Furthermore, troubleshooting a modem router combo when there’s no internet connection is much easier. You don’t have to reset the router and modem individually then wait for them to reboot, regain signal and interconnect with each other. With a single device, you just need to reset the system and in a few seconds, it would be up and running.
Wi-Fi vs Ethernet
While the entire world is going wireless, with most people considering WiFi to be more convenient than cable Ethernet. Still, wired internet offers certain benefits that cannot be overlooked, such as greater speeds, reliability and low latency.
For instance, the frequency can be blocked by floors and walls or other wireless devices which interfere with the signal. Including factors that people rarely think about such as microwaves, cordless phones and nearby routers on the same channel. Even weather changes can sometimes cause inconsistent performance. Another benefit of Ethernet is that you can download massive files or stream HD videos endlessly, without experiencing any network interferences.
As for Wi-Fi networks, make no mistake about it as they are more secure thanks to WPA2-PSK technology. Your data is fully encrypted, though the strength of encryption depends on which security method you’re using. Most routers have a variety of security modes that users can pick from depending on their needs.
As you move from one corner of your home to another, the signal strength of a WiFi may fall and rise accordingly depending on the position. There might even be blackspots in your house where the Wireless signal doesn’t reach.
Additionally, if you often download large files or you just have a large number of devices connected to your network there would be significant signal improvements from staying with the Ethernet port option. Most Wireless routers also have Cable ports on them so that you can choose on an individual basis, whether you want to go wired or otherwise.
The data on Ethernet networks can only be accessed through devices physically connected to the network. They include laptops, tablets and smartphones amongst other compatible equipment. However, unlike WiFi, the cable internet option doesn’t allow for Guest Network Access and other advanced settings.
Where Should I Place My Router?
The best place to set your router is where it can be accessed throughout the house. Always keep it central, find the most central spot in your home for placing the router, and while doing so don’t consider the placement of your PC or home modem as a limiting factor. If possible, buy an Ethernet Cat 5 cable which will boost signal power when you connect the wire to a central location.
If your home has two floors, consider attaching the router on a wall or somewhere in the ceiling corner because radio waves typically spread out and downwards, not up. Generally, think about placing your router on the 2nd floor if you have one.
Avoid putting up your device in the kitchen where microwave frequencies can interfere with signal strength. Microwaves and Wi-Fi routers both use the same bandwidth of 2.4GHz, which will obviously impede on your signal.
Each brand of router has its own unique warranty policies. However, in general, manufacturers require that the product can only be serviced or replaced if it was bought from a genuine dealer. The owner should have a receipt showing proof of purchase. Just like with any other items like infrared heaters or LiPo chargers.
If by any case you bought the device from an unauthorized dealer or the original factory serial code has been tampered with, then you may not qualify for compensation from the manufacturers.
Therefore, as a buyer always be wary of websites and dealers who say they’re authorized but are not. All products sold by such vendors don’t carry any warranty cover. They may also be defective, counterfeit or used even though the dealer is selling them as new.
Warranties are only applicable to original owners of the product, and valid only for the duration of time the device is owned by the ‘first buyer’. Oftentimes manufacturers have varying warranty lengths for their routers, some may cover the item for only one year while others two or more.
Should I Buy an Extended Warranty?
It’s not advisable to purchase an extended warranty for various reasons. In certain cases, such covers only duplicate the original warranty coverage you got from the manufacturer, which it only makes sense to use first. Similarly, alongside the original cost and deductibles, some extended plans actually charge an amount every time you file a claim.
Another concern is that the company can close shop unexpectedly, therefore leaving customers without the prolonged coverage they paid for. The situation may get even worse when dealing with 3rd party extended warranties, rather than the original product manufacturers.
Some companies promote their extended warranties with so much vigor that you may be tempted to buy in but don’t let your emotions guide you when making this important decision. Instead, think about all the pros and cons carefully before making any choice. Despite these concerns, it doesn’t mean that all prolonged warranties are bad for you and that purchasing one is a disaster. It all depends on your needs and assessments.
Our Verdict & Recommendations
After careful considerations, it can be concluded that TP-Link N300 is the best modem router combo based on its many amazing features.
The 8×4 Channel bonding and DOCSIS 3.0 technology allow for faster and reliable connections. Users can enjoy download speeds of up to 300Mbps on a 2.4GHz network frequency, which simply means better online gaming experience, HD video streaming and faster file transfers.