Question How do custom/aftermarket routers work?

Iver Hicarte

May 7, 2016
Bit of a dumb question but I just had to ask it just to make sure. I see a lot of branded routers like Asus, but your ISP already provides you with a router. So how do these custom routers work or should I say aftermarket routers work? Do you connect them to your pc then connect the router through wifi, should that give you the same speeds as a wired connection. I don't know much about routers but hey help me out pls?


Sep 13, 2002
You only need a router if you don’t wanna use the one built-in to your ISP modem and usually you have a switch that the PC is plugged into. the switch plugs into the router and the router plugged into the modem. If you don’t have a switch you plug the PCs into the router and the router into the modem. I just use the ISP router and hook a switch up to that for all my PCs and console
Reactions: digitalgriffin


Jan 29, 2008
Most ISPs provide you with a single box that is a combination modem and router. It will likely have ethernet (wired) and wifi built in.

That said the vast majority of combo boxes are complete and utter junk. They give you the cheapest thing they can and with rental fees the box is paid off in full in six months.

So you have two options:
1. Replace the box entirely with your own modem and router. The type of modem you buy depends on your connection and provider. (Cable/fiber/satellite/dsl). Once you are past the modem you can choose any router. But some models are better than others based on needs. There are also replacement combination modems+router in one box. These are better than the isps offerings but usually inferior to seperate modem and router. I set my mother up this way because she just uses a roku.

2. Just plop a router on top of your all in one box supplied by the cable company. You put your router in AP mode and take a wired ethernet cable and plug it from the isp all in one internet box to the wan port on the router. People do this when they want better wifi. I set my brother n law up this way when he had a proprietary telephone (voice over ip) connection using his internet box.

The modems purpose is to translate the isps signal into something your house can use. The routers pupose is to connect all your house devices together on one network and provide elementry services like basic firewall. (This protects you from some basic internet attacks.)

Technically speaking you could just connect 1 pc directly to the modem without the router. But this is not recommended for so many reasons.
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My ISP only provides a modem (coax to ethernet). I have to provide my own router. IF you can get a separate modem and router installation from your ISP, that is the best situation. Router features change much more frequently than modems. If you have a separate modem and router then you can upgrade just the router as new features are available (or required).