The Difference Between A Modem And A Modem Router Combo

When you are just getting into shopping for a modem that is compatible with your ISP, you will be faced with the question of what type of modem do you need?

Do you need a cable modem? Or do you need a modem router combo?

Understanding the difference between a cable modem and a modem router combo is essential in order to buy the correct device for your needs.

What Is A Cable Modem?

Cable Modem

A cable modem is a modem that works with cable service providers such as Comcast Xfinity, Spectrum, SuddenLink or WoW. These are the same companies that provide cable television to your home. A modem is the device that connects to the cable port on the wall, bringing internet to your home.

If you are using a cable ISP, you need to make sure that the modem you have is a cable modem. The connection to the cable jack uses a coaxial cable that is set up to connect to only a cable modem, so DSL modems (CenturyLink or AT&T) or Fiber router (Verizon and Frontier) will not be compatible with cable network service.

What Is A Modem Router Combo?

Modem Router Combo

Now that we have gone over the basics of a cable modem, let’s look at a modem router combo. In a modem router combo with a cable company, you will still need to make sure that the modem is compatible with your cable service or it might not work for you.

A router is the device that supplies wireless internet throughout your network. A router sends out a signal to wireless devices in order to provide them with internet access. In a modem router combo, the router is built into the modem, rather than having a separate modem and router.

Why Is Getting A Combo Better?

It is far better to buy a combination unit than it is to buy separate units. This is for several reasons, including:

  • Less Money: Buying both a cable modem and a compatible router means buying two units rather than one. While a single modem is less expensive than a combo, it is a rare network that would not need wireless. If you buy the units separately, the cost will exceed that of a combo unit.

  • Easier To Control: Setting up a modem is one task, but if you have two units, you will need to set them up separately. This means more confusion and more steps, increasing the risk of human error in the process.

    With a combo unit, you will also not need to worry about updating two devices on different time frames, but instead only update the one. You will also have more control over your settings and your network, limiting any risk of breach.

  • More Attractive: Finding a good spot for your modem is always hard. They have to be centrally located, but still be able to reach the wall jack while not creating an eyesore in your home.

    Making room for one device is one thing, but if you had to find space for two separate devices that are connected to one another, you will have a cluttered area, no matter how you look at it. Only worrying about one unit will make it far easier for you to conceal or blend in with the surroundings.

Shopping For The Right Modem

If you are feeling overwhelmed by all of the possibilities that are out there as far as cable modems are concerned, don’t worry. It only requires a little bit of circumspection and research. To begin with, you will need to think about the type of activity that you have within your home network. Questions to ask, include:

  • How often am I online?
  • Do I stream videos?
  • Do I online game?
  • How many devices are within my network?
  • How big is my home?
  • How many people are using my internet?

You really need to think about what you internet needs are before you can successfully choose one modem over another. When it comes to cable modems, make sure that the modem that you are buying is compatible with your cable service provider.

Remember: buying your own modem means you will avoid unnecessary costs and get the level of internet speeds that you really need.

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