Are you currently paying a monthly fee for your cable modem and wondering whether it’s worth it to buy your own? Cable modems aren’t expensive but before you run out to get your own cable modem, there are a few things you need to consider.
Benefits Of Owning Your Own Cable Modem
What are the benefits of buying your own cable modem and is it worth the additional hassle? It is indeed a bit more troublesome to own your own modem but there are also some big benefits:
Renting a cable modem from your ISP can add up over time. Most providers charge a monthly fee for the modem, which can cost you hundreds of dollars over the course of a few years. Take COX’s Gigablast 1 Gbps Internet package for example. Per the screenshot above, you need to pay $14 a month extra for renting the cable modem and router.
Over the course of a two year subscription, that would cost you an extra $336.If you were to consider the lifespan of a modem, which would typically be around 5 years, it would cost around $840 to rent. You could buy a top-of-the-line modem-router combo device for under $400 so buying your own modem upfront can save you money in the long run.
If you’re experiencing slow Internet speeds or dropped connections, your modem could be to blame. The modems provided by ISPs tend to be pre-owned ones that they pass on to the next customer. ISPs often provide outdated or low-quality modems that can limit your Internet speeds. Buying your own modem can help you achieve faster and a more reliable Internet performance.
When you rent a modem from your ISP, your ISP may limit some of the features that your modem’s capable of. Here are some features that may be restricted by your ISP:
Channel Bonding: With channel bonding, you can combine multiple channels to increase your internet speed.
Quality of Service (QoS): QoS allows you to prioritize certain devices or types of traffic on your network.
Bridge Mode: Bridge mode allows you to use your own router instead of the one provided by your ISP.
Port Forwarding: Port forwarding allows you to open up specific ports on your modem/router for remote access or gaming purposes.
When you own your own modem, you have full control over these features and aren’t restricted by your ISP, which can help you optimize your Internet configuration.
Can You Get Your Own Cable Modem?
The first thing you should do is find out whether your Internet Service Provider supports customers using their own modem on their network. Some cable Internet providers won’t allow you to use your own cable modem on their system.
Cable modems need regular security updates to fix security issues that hackers may exploit. Cable operators provide these updates regularly to make sure their network is secure. Supporting the infrastructure to ensure that cable modems get patched timely is costly and they may not be willing to support many different types of cable modems. As a result, they may support only a few types of cable modems that they know they can update regularly.
Know Your Cable Modem’s Limitations
If your cable operator allows you to get a cable modem, find out if there are any limitations on the type of cable modem you can get. Internet Service Providers typically list the modem models that they support. Some modem models may also be throttled by your ISP so you can’t take full advantage of its speed capabilities.
Ideally, to future-proof your purchase, you should look for the latest DOCSIS 3.1 type of cable modem. As you would expect from a newer standard, DOCSIS 3.1 cable modems perform better than DOCSIS 3.0 cable modems. The newer DOCSIS 3.1 modems have better chipsets, better receivers, and better transmitters than DOCSIS 3.0 modems.
If your cable operator is currently providing DOCSIS 3.1 signals, your cable modem will support those signals and give you the best performance that you can get on the DOCSIS 3.1 network. Even if your cable operator isn’t providing DOCSIS 3.1 signals, a DOCSIS 3.1 cable modem will still perform better than a DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem.
Final Thoughts On Buying Your Own Modem
Owning your own cable modem can save you money in the long run. Cable modems aren’t expensive, and they can last a long time, typically around five years. However, before you do so, make sure your cable operator allows you to use your own cable modem. You should also find out if there are any limitations on the type of cable modem you can get. In 2023, look for the latest specification DOCSIS 3.1 cable modems, and choose one that has good reviews. If you’re looking for a cable modem router combo device, do check out our guide on the best gateway devices for 2023.