Question Combo Unit DSL VS Separate Router/Modem

May 19, 2021
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Hi guys,
I'm not a tech head and need a bit of advice.
I'm currently debating getting a ASUS DSL-AC88U or RT-AX88U
Now from research I've seen that the DSL is a combo unit whereas the RT requires a separate modem.
My questions are:

  1. What's the benefit of having a separate modem/router? (an example would be great)
  2. I read that your ISP can control your combo unit (Not sure if this is the case with a third party combo unit)
  3. Any speed benefits? Better wifi, more powerful etc.
  4. If I do go the separate route would you recommend a DrayTek Vigor 130 or Huawei Hg612
  5. Are all modems basically the same or is there benefits to having a certain one
I appreciate all your responses!
 
For dsl, I will always stick to isp provided equipment.

As far as the answers to specific questions:
  1. If one fails or needs upgrading, you can change out one without affecting the other
  2. Yes, the isp has the ability to adjust various things on a combo model, which is not the case with a separate router (but they can probably still control a dsl modem as needed).
  3. You can get usually much, much better wifi since you can control all the access points and placement.
  4. Draytek since I don't trust Huawei
  5. No, modems are usually very specific to a particular isp, hence why I don't even try to get my own when it comes to dsl.
 
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May 19, 2021
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Thanks for your reply, I'm from the UK and am with a ISP called Plusnet who our now owned by BT I believe. So not sure which modem would be best if I did.
 
I strongly recommend getting separate DSL modem (from your ISP, or its approved list), and fanciest router you want. DSL modems are same - if your phone line is good, you'll get the service you're paying for. Everything else - WiFi, VPNs, NATs, traffic monitoring - you can get the router supporting the features you want, and not eat what's being served by your ISP
 
You have to really consider what features in a router you really need and why.

DSL is extremely slow compared to most other internet connections. It is much better than years ago where you got 768k down and 384k up but it is still fairly slow you don't see much over 50mbps.

What this means is most fancy routers are a waste of money. The primary thing these router have is they support faster wifi standard. This does do much when it is connected to a DSL connection. If would choose between a wifi router that can run say 300mbps or 400mbps both with still only run at the dsl speed...lets say 50mbps if you have a very fast dsl connection.

So in general any DSL router will work fine for you no need to get fancy. What will make the difference is if you want some special software feature. Things like parental control or maybe vpn support. It all depends on what you need. The more advanced things you are not going to find on a router that has a DSL modem. The vast majority of people that have DSL don't care about extra features so there is not a large market of routers that have a dsl modem and advanced features.

Think very carefully about what you really need. It is going to increase the complexity of the installation if you need to have a separate modem. Some ISP have special setting you must make.
 
But the problem of sticking to whatever wifi speeds the dsl combo router will do or slower speeds like 100Mbps is that any LAN transfers from wifi to wired will also suffer from this slower speed. Even if the dsl is only 20Mbps, I would still want my LAN to run as close to gigabit as possible, especially if there is a NAS on the network.
 

Techie-Joshua

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Jul 14, 2020
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Combo is a good option if you are looking for convenience. But, if you are more concerned about the Internet connection quality and network, buying the devices separately makes more sense. You can refer this article for more in-depth difference between the two.
 

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