Purchasing a Modem/Router


Jan 24, 2011
I am looking to buy a modem with integrated wireless and am not by any stretch of the imagination a networking expert (beginner, explain it like I'm a 5 year old, apologies for using the term modem and/or router inaccurately, feel free to correct me), but here are the facts that I have established, let me know if more information is needed.

My primary computer is a desktop (built with the help of some fine folks on Toms) and is hardwired to the modem.

My secondary computer is my work laptop, which I would like to have the ability to connect to wirelessly. I use it to access a virtual private network that requires a significant amount of bandwidth and a stable connection. It has a Intel(R) Centrino(R) Advanced-N 6205 wireless card which is 2.4 or 5ghz compatible.

My smartphone is only 2.4ghz compatible.

These are the only three things that will typically be connected to the modem. The ISP promised speed is 30Mbps down 5Mbps up.

Crux of the question: I believe that what I want is a modem with integrated 802.11n wireless access. I've linked two that I found that seem basically identical to me but cost $90 different. So what I'm asking is -

1. Should I get an 802.11n or 802.11ac modem (are there big advantages to the 802.11ac, I believe the big disadvantage is it would be more expensive)?
2. Can you recommend at least one 802.11n single and one 802.11 dual band modem?

$60 one

$150 one


Do not buy ac, the 2.0 draft release is not actually approved yet. I would buy a good single band 2.4GHz modem now that is inexpensive, and consider upgrading to ac later when it is at least half baked. Moreover, none of your adapters would benefit from ac until you upgrade them.

I would probably not spend the money on simultaneous dual band, which is really only helpful if you have problems on the 2.4GHz band that you cannot remedy, which is unlikely, and you need the 2.4GHz band.

I like the D-Link DIR-655, but here is a link that evaluates pretty much any router that comes out: http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/wireless/wireless-charts/view

Do you actually need a cable modem also? The $150 one you linked is a not very good modem/router combination, if you need a cable modem I recommend the SB6121, and a separate router.