Three Things You Need to Know Before Buying a Modem

A modem provides that critical link between the Internet and devices like your computer and smartphone, so get the best unit possible.

Home networking can seem confusing, but in simplest terms there are really only three components necessary to get up and running. The first is your Internet Service Provider (ISP), or the company that provides you an Internet signal. The second is the modem, which is the device that connects to the service from inside the house. The third is the router, which converts everything to a wireless signal for dispersal to devices such as phones, tablets, and computers. Of these, the modem is the heart of any home network. If you are in the market to install or upgrade your own system, these modem-buying tips will get you pointed in the right direction.

Works With Any Wi-Fi Router

This model can support high speeds and works with most ISPs. ARRIS

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Modem/router combos are usually the province of cable companies that want to rent you a single device for an exorbitant fee. While modem/router combos are convenient, buying your own modem and router separately is not only less expensive in the long run, it also gives you individual control over each component so that if one element breaks down you only need to replace or repair that part.

Supports Up to 30 Devices

This combination model can cover up to 1,800 square feet with wireless internet. NETGEAR

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The numbers associated with cable modems can be overwhelming. What’s the difference between DOCSIS 3.0 versus 3.1, for instance? Are 32 x 8 channels better than 32 x 4? Do you need really need 1,000mbps, or is 600mbps sufficient? Just remember that higher numbers generally mean greater speed and, usually, more cost. If you are uncertain what specifications you need in a modem, check with your Internet Service Provider before buying to make sure you are purchasing a device capable of supporting your connection’s fastest performance.

Two 1-Gigabit Ethernet Ports

This choice and its network can be managed with an accompanying smartphone app. MOTOROLA

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Not all modems are compatible with all Internet Service Providers. Whether you are on Verizon, AT&T, Cox, Xfinity or some other ISP, be sure to verify that the modem you intend to purchase will work with the plan you are investing in. For absolute verification, call your service provider directly.