How To Buy A Router And Modem
How To Buy A Router And Modem https://bytlly.com/2tlP9s
All routers should give you an idea of the amount of square footage they can cover, though some get more specific than others. For example, we recommend the TP-Link Archer A20 and xFi Pods, but both of those give an estimated range based on how many bedrooms are in your house.
Router brands are releasing new technology all the time, and some of the more recent upgrades can make a positive impact on your online experience. Here are a few features you might want to look for when shopping for your new router:
Modern routers use beamforming to direct a Wi-Fi signal to a device. Before beamforming, routers would blast a Wi-Fi signal in all directions. You can think of beamforming as a more efficient, laser-targeted Wi-Fi signal that also results in a stronger connection.
In order to connect to the internet, you need a modem and Wi-Fi router. Many people confuse modems and routers because internet service providers (ISP) often offer combo devices that serve both functions. Modems and routers, however, are two completely different technologies. Each device has a specific purpose, which we break down below.
Modems connect your Wi-Fi network to your ISP. They translate digital signals from your ISP so your wired or wireless devices can access the internet. Like your computer, modems use an ethernet connection to connect to your router. Typically, modems have two connection ports: one that connects to your ISP and one that connects to your Wi-Fi router. There are three types of modems:
Routers connect your devices to a modem with an ethernet cable. They create a Wi-Fi network for multiple devices to connect wirelessly and simultaneously to the internet in your home. A range of frequencies (wireless band) transmits data from your router to your devices. There are three types of routers, depending on the wireless band:
When it comes to choosing a cable modem for your home internet service, you have two choices: Pay up each month to rent a beat-up, ancient model from your internet service provider, or buy your own brand-new device for a fraction of the cost over time. It's not a very difficult decision.
With that in mind, here's an updated guide that can (hopefully) demystify modem specs. I can't tell you which modem is right for your home, since that depends on your cable provider, your internet service package and your budget. But once you understand what all the arcane terminology means, you'll find that there are probably a handful, rather than dozens, of choices worth considering.
First things first: How happy are you with your router If you upgraded your router recently but bought your modem sometime around the signing of the Declaration of Independence, you probably just need a standalone cable modem. Modern routers are compatible with just about every modem on the market, so just make sure your firmware is upgraded, and you'll be all set.
(If you're still using a router provided by your cable company, you should send it back and buy a new router immediately. As with modems, cable companies usually charge exorbitant rental fees for subpar routers, and it takes less than a year for a new router to pay for itself.)
When you buy a modem, you'll see one acronym featured very prominently: DOCSIS. Most modern modems use either the DOCSIS 3.0 or 3.1 protocols, but neither manufacturers nor retailers ever really explain what this means or why the distinction is important.
DOCSIS stands for \"Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification.\" It's the protocol that lets an ISP provide internet service through a coaxial cable. It just means that your modem can provide broadband internet access.
DOCSIS 3.0 and 3.1 are just version numbers. The exact differences between them basically boil down to speed and the number of simultaneous channels. The bottom line is that if your ISP offers internet speeds of more than 1 gigabit (1,000 Mbps, or megabits per second), a DOCSIS 3.1 router is a better investment. But since the average broadband speed in the United States is somewhere in the neighborhood of only 66 Mbps, DOCSIS 3.0 will be fine for the vast majority of users.
Of course, this could change in the future, but by then, DOCSIS 3.1 modems will probably be cheaper. A decent DOCSIS 3.0 modem ranges from $50 to $80; DOCSIS 3.1 modems tend to fall between $150 and $199, though prices are coming down to the lower end of that range.
When you look at a modem, you'll often see a number somewhere in its description, which can be anything from 8 x 4 to 32 x 8. It's not at all clear what the average user is supposed to glean from this. The good news is that it's simply a description of how many downstream and upstream channels a modem has.
The number before the \"x\" represents how many downstream channels the modem has. Roughly speaking, that correlates with how much download data your ISP can provide at any given time. Just about every modem provides many more downstream channels than upstream ones, because ISPs and end users alike are more concerned with downloading content than uploading it.
Don't sweat this part too much, unless you want the absolute top-tier packages your cable company can provide. Just remember that all other things being equal, higher numbers are better. Any new modem you buy should have at least 16 downstream channels; anything less is probably either old or underpowered.
All the high speeds may seem tempting, but remember: You can't draw more data than you pay for from your ISP. If your modem is capable of pulling 1.4 gigabits but you subscribe to a plan that caps your speed at 25 Mbps, you're going to get 25 Mbps. Buying an extremely fast modem is more about future-proofing your setup than pushing it to its limits, unless you're willing to spend a tremendous amount of money on a monthly plan.
The last thing you'll have to check is whether your modem is compatible with your ISP. Most modems are compatible with any cable company, but some aren't. Big companies like Comcast and Cox support just about anything, but smaller networks may not. There's no hard-and-fast reason for this; it's just the way it is. Cable companies run enormous networks, and they want to be 100 percent certain that a product is compatible before they authorize it for use. The company must also be willing to push out firmware updates on a regular basis, which is easier for some modems than for others.
Finally, you can always just call your ISP. You may have to sit on hold for a while, but it's the only way to get a 100-percent definitive answer on whether a modem you want to buy is supported. (If your ISP cannot give you a definitive answer, ask to speak to a manager or a specialist, or consider getting a new ISP; this should not be a hellaciously difficult question.)
Once you get your new modem home, you'll probably have to call up your ISP and provide the device's MAC address. This is usually printed on the bottom of the modem, but if not, you can access the modem's IP address after plugging it in via Ethernet. (Google \"(brand name) modem IP address\" on your phone, or on another network, if the instructions don't include it.) Some ISPs offer an automated process to do this through an internet browser, but it varies depending on the provider and model.
Unlike routers, which have settings you can adjust to make them more secure, there's not a lot of security considerations to keep in mind when shopping for a router. That said, the occasional security issue does pop up. For example, a software vulnerability in modems that use Broadcom's systems-on-a-chip could allow a hacker to seize control of the modem and serve up malicious websites. Broadcom says it's issued a fix, so you can always check with your ISP to make sure that your modem is secure. (You're dependent on your ISP to issue these firmware updates, and they don't always come out in a timely fashion.) Investing in one of the best antivirus programs also offers some, though not total, protection.
That's really all you need to know to buy a modem: design, DOCSIS, channels, speed and compatibility. With those specs in mind, all you need to do is pick a budget and a brand, and you'll be able to find at least a few models that match your specifications.
Before spending any money, it's a good idea to make certain that you're getting the most out of the router you've already got. Wi-Fi is finicky, and it doesn't take much to disrupt those wireless signals, so if your connection seems slower than you need, it might not be your router's fault.
There are lots of things you can do to help a router perform its best, but the main points of note are that you want it out in the open and up off of the floor. Stashing it away in a closet or on the back of a dusty shelf beneath your TV might help keep the wires at bay, but you'll also end up blocking the Wi-Fi's signal strength. In that case, swapping a new router into the same spot might not help you much at all.
Along with physical obstructions like furniture, keep an eye out for large electronics like appliances and televisions, as those might interfere with the connection from a nearby router, too. Wi-Fi struggles to penetrate through water, so if you've got any large aquariums at home, consider positioning the router somewhere where they won't block the signal.
For minor tweaks to your signal, try experimenting with the angles of your router's antennas -- straight up and down is best for horizontal coverage in a single-story home, but folding the antenna flat or at an angle might help you direct the signal up or down to help cover a basement or an upper floor. And if you just need an extra room's worth of range or so from your router, you might be able to get the speed you need by buying a Wi-Fi range extender, which will cost you a lot less than buying a new router outright.
Lastly, it's probably worth it to check with your internet provider to make sure you're using its latest hardware. In a lot of cases, if it has a newer modem or gateway device available, it'll send it to you for free. And hey, speaking of your ISP... 59ce067264