Question Need Some Advice Re: Modems And Routers

michael diemer

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I need to upgrade our router, and am wondering if I should also upgrade our modem. We rent the modem from our ISP, which is our phone company. The modem is a BEC 5200S. We bought the router ourselves at Best But over 10 years ago, It is a Netgear N300 WNR 2000 V2. Our download speeds are all over the place at this point. sometimes as high as 500, sometimes in the kbs range, or even dropping out entirely. Also, the modem gets a bit warm.

Initially I was looking to replace the old router with something newer, like TP-Link Archer AX50 or Ax 10; or the Asus RT 66U B1. Now I'm wondering if I should replace both. Which also raises the issue of buying our own modem, rather than renting it from our ISP. Or we could continue renting it, but request an upgrade to a newer model. I'm savvy enough to figure out how to set up the modem; but maybe there's something to be said for renting? You get software upgrades, maintenance etc.

We have a modest-sized house, just two people, with a couple desktops and laptops. That's it. We're not gamers. No kids to police. Still we want good security of course, and I changed the password for the router, as well as putting in more secure open- DNS settings. So I think we can get by with something for around 100.00 for the router. The AX 10 might suffice. The AX50 might be more than we need. As for the modem, I need to figure out if we should keep it, upgrade it, or buy our own. Some expert opinions would help!

Thanks,

Mike
 
What type of internet service is this (DSL, Cable, Fiber, etc.). Are you referring to wireless or direct wired speeds? Wireless speeds 'all over the place' doesn't really matter to ISPs - there is no guarantee on wireless speeds because of environmental factors. It is perfectly normal for some modems to get warm.

First thing you should do is verify your download/upload speeds at the modem. As long as you don't have to 'dial in or log in' to your internet (some old DSL services require this), you can turn off the modem, plug it directly into a computer, and turn it back on and test your speeds at the modem.
 

michael diemer

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Thank you, I will check the modem speed and verify type of service. I'm assuming it's DSL. The connection is a phone-type jack, but whether it's fiber or not I don't know. We don't have to log in.
 
Thank you, I will check the modem speed and verify type of service. I'm assuming it's DSL. The connection is a phone-type jack, but whether it's fiber or not I don't know. We don't have to log in.
Okay. Let us know how it goes.
Keep in mind that the 'log in' process could be automatic in the router. Some old DSL modems required a PPPoE login before you were online. If you can log in to your router you can tell whether it's logging in for you. If you try and bypass the router, and your router does log in, you'll need to set up a PPPoE login in order to connect.
 

michael diemer

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OK, I hooked up a Dell Inspiron laptop directly to the modem, bypassing the router. Ran a speed test from Century Link. These numbers are really bad: download=3.7 mbs, upload=.7 mbs. Ran it twice, same results.

no login was required. confirmed it is DSL (Otelco; fiber not available yet in our area).

I ran it again on my old Gateway desktop, which is connected with a 50' 5e Ethernet cable, with the router passing on the signal from the modem, but not via wireless. In case there was something weird about the laptop. Results were similar, download=3.9, upload=.9.
 
Your first issue is getting the ISP to fix the line....and it helps that you are currently renting the modem that way they can't blame your equipment.

If it worked correctly you should get the 10mbps when you plug directly into the modem.

After they fix this then you can look into a new router. With only 10mbps internet even the 10yr old router will likely be as fast as anything newer. The bottleneck is the ISP connection coming into your house. Now if you had say 50mbps internet a new router would likely help.
 

michael diemer

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Thanks Bill, that helps clarify things. I'll call my ISP and go from there. We could upgrade to a 25 mbs plan, but our needs may be met with the current one, assuming it worked correctly, so that's as you say the next step.
 

michael diemer

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I called my ISP, and they told me that we were basically getting about 80% of what we're paying for. Apparently someone on a 10mbs plan should be happy with a speed of 3.8 mbs downloading and .8 mbs uploading...that's on a good day, however. On a bad day, it takes me 10 hours to download a 800 mb file...

They did say they would send me a new modem, however. so we'll see how that goes. They also mentioned the possibility of upgrading. You know how it goes...
 

michael diemer

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Thanks for that insight. We are in fact considering other options. However, our kitchen stove decided to catch on fire last night, so we need to get a new one. Maybe the new modem will improve things enough...
 
I called my ISP, and they told me that we were basically getting about 80% of what we're paying for. Apparently someone on a 10mbs plan should be happy with a speed of 3.8 mbs downloading and .8 mbs uploading...that's on a good day, however. On a bad day, it takes me 10 hours to download a 800 mb file...

They did say they would send me a new modem, however. so we'll see how that goes. They also mentioned the possibility of upgrading. You know how it goes...
Since when does 80% of 10Mbps equal 3.9Mbps?! Call them again and get their asses out there to fix the line. Remember, it's these 'customer service' people's job to push you into thinking that it's good enough.

Until you're getting 7.8Mbps at the absolutely slowest, you should call, complain, and escalate.
 

michael diemer

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Right! If I pay for $50.00 of gas, I don't walk away content with 40! I don't know how they get away with it. It's false advertising.

right now, I'm on day four of waiting for a call-back from a technician, so the modem they sent me will work. It's only lighting up three of four lights. The "internet" light is the one that won't light up. naturally. No way to fix it on my own.

I can call back, but that entails a wait of who knows how long to even talk to someone. The system is rigged to force you to upgrade, whether you need it or not.
 

gggplaya

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So you have no option for cable internet where you live?

I'm looking at their website, it's $50/mo for their cheapest internet plan. That's a joke. Comcast plans are just over that, like $60/mo but at least you get 25mbps and you get the full 100% of that speed. For most cable companies, it's easy to buy a $50 cable modem and install it so you don't have to pay any rental fees.
 

gggplaya

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Redzone would be the cheaper option, appears to be $35 initially, then moves up to $42/mo regular price which is still great. Especially if you can get on their 5GX fixed wireless connection. It should have low latency and great bandwidth. But if you get on their LTE network, you might have high latency which is of concern. You don't game, so it's not a huge concern, but latency still affect the quality of your web browsing a little. Regardless of being on their LTE or 5GX, it'll be miles apart better than your slow DSL.

Spectrum is pricier but should be very reliable with low latency and actual promised speeds. It'll be easy to buy a modem and not have to pay rental fees. You can get this cheaper Motorola modem if you don't plan on going over 300mbps tier plan: https://www.amazon.com/MOTOROLA-Certified-Comcast-Spectrum-BrightHouse/dp/B01A1E6BA2/
 

michael diemer

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Thanks for that great information. I guess my ISP just doesn't care enough to keep me as a customer. Otherwise they would have called back by now. how long would it take to get the modem they sent me to work? 5 minutes? time to move on.
 

michael diemer

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New information: I was operating under a misconception about our level of service. The base plan they show on their webpage is 10 mbs. I was not the one who set the service up several years ago, so I didn't really know how it was set up. Turns out, we are still on a 4 mbs plan! I just got off the phone with a very nice lady named Rose. We sorted things out. Bottom line, I upgraded to a 5 mbs plan, with a 50 cent reduction in our bill. not much of an upgrade, but the other news is they are expanding their fiber lines, and we may get that by end of the summer. That would be 100 mbs, for about 20.00 more than our current bill. So we will sit tight and wait to see if we can get fiber. If not, we can think about upgrading to XP10, although that would entail a 65.00 fee to put in a new line.

Now the only thing I'm waiting for is what to do about the modem they sent. Hopefully they will call soon about that. although I don't think it will make much of a difference. The main problem was our very low level of service. It was OK most of the time, although downloading and uploading were slow. but every now and then it dropped to almost unusable.
 

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