Why you should buy your own cable modem

If you use a cable company for your internet the odds are you are renting your modem from your cable company. At first glance this seems like an OK idea since it is usually only $10 a month and if anything goes wrong, they take care of it.

There are several problems with this idea however, starting with the fact that you are almost certainly being given a used modem. This means there is a higher chance that it will fail sooner rather than later. There is even a chance that it already has problems and that is why it was returned. The cable company simply plugged it in, saw it work, turned it off and sent it to you.

They didn’t bother to see that after it runs for a while it gets slow, or disconnects, or something else weird.

Let’s assume however that it works fine, until it doesn’t. Sure, you lease it so they will replace it free. They may however charge you for shipping, and/or require you to ship the old one back on your dime, or charge you for a service call to come install the new one.

Then there is always the fact that a new, top of the line modem, like the ARRIS SURFboard SB6190 DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem with a two year warranty and US based technical support (which your cable company may not be) can typically be had for around $100. That means that you could OWN a far superior modem capable of faster speeds in ten months of what you are paying to rent the modem from your cable company.

Now let’s talk about the speed of the modem. Here is a possible scenario:

Your cable company is going to provide you with a modem that provides you with the speed you are paying for. They buy these modems in large bulk. The cable company currently has a maximum speed of 100Mbs and so they buy 10,000 modems which will all do 150Mbs giving them room to grow. Two years later their maximum speed is now 200Mbs, but they still have these same modems. They can tweak their speed tests, or buy 10,000 new modems. Which do you think they are going to do?

So you upgrade your speed but aren’t getting the speed you think you should. The first thing they tell you is that it is showing the right speed on their internal tests and that they don’t support whatever speed test you are using.

The next thing will be them telling you that you are paying for UP TO 200Mbs and that fact is indeed in your contract, on page 128, section 32, paragraph 4, line 16. You read all that before agreeing, right?

This will go on and on for years until they finally have enough modems die or enough new customers to buy new modems, and then low and behold, you get 200Mbs right before they upgrade again to 300Mbs.

Don’t think that could happen? Do a search online for class action lawsuits against internet service providers and then come back and finish reading. It’s OK, I’ll wait.

Very few people today have a home internet connection over 200Mbs. That of course will change over the next few years. The ARRIS SURFboard SB6190 DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem I suggest, and that I use, is capable of 1.4Gbs so you should be safe for many years to come. That is something that is usually difficult to say about technology items.

So why the AARIS? To start with, AARIS is the manufacturer used by many of the top cable companies in the US. It is also approved for use by Comcast Xfinity, Spectrum (Charter, Time Warner, Brighthouse Networks), Cox, Mediacom, Suddenlink and most other US Cable Internet Providers.

Does it work on all cable connection then? Unfortunately no, it is not compatible with Verizon, AT&T or Centurylink services and you should contact those providers for information regarding what devices do work on their services.

Do you have to have a certain speed connection to use a modem like this? No, this will work with any speed internet connection up to and including 1.4Gbs.

Does this include a router? No, this allows you to use your own router which gives you more flexibility and speed. Check out my other articles for recommendations on routers.

Bottom line:

Buying your own modem such as the ARRIS SURFboard SB6190 DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem will save you money, typically get you better support and potentially faster speeds while making sure you have equipment that will work for years in the future as internet speeds continue to increase.