Author Topic: Cable modems and WiFi routers  (Read 1285 times)


  • Magnum Stache
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Cable modems and WiFi routers
« on: August 08, 2018, 11:38:15 AM »
After AT&T wouldn't play ball when my promo expired I signed up for Cox internet. I got the lowest speed (10 Mbps) and despite the sales reps fear mongering it seems to be working just fine with Netflix (take that ISP industrial complex!) which is the heaviest lift it should have to do.

We tried and failed to sign up for cox with our own modem last year (it had served us for a few years on Time Warner elsewhere and Cox said it must be broken), so I wanted to try with their modem this time to reduce the number of possible failure points, but now that I know it's working I'm thinking of buying a modem to try to save the $10/month modem rental fee. For reference, the Cox supplied modem is the Arris TG1682G.

I suspect we'll have to switch back to AT&T (they provide routers for "free" -- no option to buy your own) next year if Cox doesn't do anything when our rates increase, so we definitely have a year to "pay back" any purchases with the $10/month savings, and ideally anything we buy will remain useful two years from now if we switch back again, so there might be some benefit in getting a more modern modem and/or router.

Based on Cox's approved modems and this Tom's Hardware article  I'm thinking of going with the ARRIS SURFboard SB6183 Modem 16x4 Docsis 3.0 for $66. Another option would be the ARRIS SURFboard SB6141 8x4 DOCSIS 3.0 for $44. This article warns not to go with the  6141, but seems to also say it's basically the same modem but with fewer channels which causes problems for high speed (100 Mbps) plans. Since our 10Mbps plan seems to be working just fine, is there any advantage to the greater number of channels or is that just for higher tier plans? Are either of these options likely to remain on the approved list if we leave Cox next year and then sign up again the following year?

Next, WiFi. We've got a very old Belkin F5D8236-4 V2 N Wireless router that I tried plugging in to the cox modem. It works, but seems to drop out and leave things spinning more than the Cox router, which makes sense since it used to be a little spotty, so I'm thinking it's probably time for an upgrade here too. Based on this Wirecutter article that says it's good for smaller areas I'm thinking maybe the TP-Link Archer A7. Our apartment is about 24x32 (768 sq ft) and the router will be at one end, so it could be at most 32 ft and 2 walls (with a closet) away.

Together, that modem and that WiFi router will add up to more than the year's rental on the Cox Modem/router, so it really only makes sense if I think I'll be able to use them beyond the year, which might involve a year break in between depending on what happens with pricing next year. Anything I'm missing? Any other modems or routers I should consider?