Suggestions for successful modem and router upgrade?

I recently reviewed our internet service and discovered we are paying for much faster service than we are experiencing. It seems the issue is our modem and router are outdated. The modem was purchased about 9 years ago and the router is older than that. Btw, neither were provided by our internet provider.

We are actually getting speeds in line with what we signed up for many years ago, so I never really thought about reviewing our service (I’m embarrassed to say). Apparently our provider, Cox, has significantly upgraded the speed on our existing plan over the years (lesson learned, review service on regular basis).

I’ve ordered a cable modem from the list of Cox approved models, an Arris Surfboard 8200 (our current Arris Surfboard SB6121 has been very reliable, so I stuck with the same brand). From what I’ve read, setup should be fairly straightforward. :crossed_fingers:

Router selection has been much more confusing. Reviews and recommendations are all over the place. Based on what I’ve read here and elsewhere, I think I’m going to go with the Asus RT-AX68U. I know Ubiquiti is popular here, but I don’t think have the knowledge or skill set to set up a system from them. Looking at their website, it might as well be written in Klingon. :grin:

There’s only the two of us. Our home network is pretty simple and our needs pretty basic. Currently, my Roon core and Oppo BD player are connected to a Netgear switch (unmanaged), which in turn is connected to the router (all via CAT6 ethernet). Wireless devices include Netflix on a TV, a Roku device, and couple iPads and iPhones, and a laptop computer. A desktop PC (Windows 10) is also connected to the router via Ethernet.

I’m a novice when it comes to computer and home network stuff, and franky don’t enjoy fiddling with this stuff, so I appreciate any guidance/tips for successfully updating my cable modem and router without requiring anxiety meds, lol. Any rookie mistakes to avoid?

Thanks. :slightly_smiling_face:

I’ll encourage you to think more about ubiquiti. The Dream Machine or something from the Amplifi line (designed for home networks) are no more complex to set up than other home routers.

Before I move to Ubiquiti, Dream Machine Pro, managed switch and multiple access points, I had good experience with ASUS routers. Synology RT6600 is another one to consider.

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Just upgraded from a Netgear Nighthawk to a mesh system (w/ethernet plug ins) and it’s been a decided improvement. Very simple to install and adding more satellite points are easy, especially for technically challenged.

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I forgot to mention, cost is a factor as well (retired, on a tight budget). In another thread someone recommended the Unifi Dream Router. At $199 retail, it’s at the very limit of my budget, but sounded like a solid option. However, it doesn’t seem available right now in the US except from some retailers asking multiple times the retail price (crazy!).

Also, our house isn’t large (~1500 ft2, two story, typical wood/drywall construction, pretty open design), so a single router should provide good coverage throughout the house. The old router gives pretty good coverage, so I expect the new one to be even better (is this a resonable assumption?).

Why would you use an additional router when you can go for a cable modem/router that offers all the options (WiFi, 4 Ethernet ports) you need? That would keep things simple and affordable.

I was under the impression that all-in-ones don’t usually offer the performance of separates? :thinking:

Well you do have some nice cable modems that offer a lot. Here in the Netherlands we can for instance use Fritz!Box cable modems (models 6690 or 6660), which use the same Docsis 3.1 specification and offer complete router functionality with excellent performance.

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What is your internet speed now or what it is supposed to be? (up and down)
Do you want to use WiFi?
How big is your house?
How many people in your house (including sproglets)
Are you OK to use an iPhone app to manage it or do you want a web page?

Unfortunately people will suggest what they use but that doesn’t always match what you need/require.

The modem is supposed to arrive today and I think I’ve decided on a router, so my post is mainly about how to make sure the install process goes smoothly. Having said that, I also appreciate the equipment recommendations since I’m a novice at this stuff.

  1. Typical speeds are as follows:
    Wifi - 25-35 Mbps (occasionally up to about 50 Mbps) down, 9 Mbps up
    Ethernet - 50-70 Mbps down, 9 Mbps up

Our internet plan is 250 Mbps down and 10 Mbps up (it was 50 Mbps down and 5 Mbps up when we originally subscribed)

  1. WiFi is used for our iPhones, iPads, a TV (streaming Netflix), a Roku device, and a laptop computer. My streamer w/Roon core and music files, an Oppo 103, and a desktop PC are connected via ethernet.

  2. House is about 1500 ft2. Construction is typical wood, drywall, vinyl siding. It’s a pretty open floor plan, two stories. Currently, the router is centrally located on the second floor.

  3. Just two of us in the house.

  4. I guess both means of control would be handy?

Thanks for your feedback.

The new modem arrived today. Setup took over 2 hours, ugh!

Of course following the modem instructions for setup did not work. Then contacted my internet provider via their chat service. First tech couldn’t get it activated (something about our “account type”?), so transferred me to Sales (what??) who got it activated, and of course tried to get us to upgrade to a faster plan “for only $1 more!” Uh huh, we’ve been there before; a dollar more temporarily then the price jumps up! It’s already too expensive, but Cox is the only game in town around here for high speed internet.

This is why I hate dealing with computer stuff and hate changing equipment (something ALWAYS goes wrong). :face_with_symbols_over_mouth::face_with_symbols_over_mouth:

Internet speed using our PC connected via Ethernet (still to our old router) increased very little, and of course wifi speed remains unchanged. The tech I chatted with agreed the next step is to replace our old router. If that doesn’t increase speeds significantly closer to what our plan provides, then the next step would be to have a Cox tech come to the house to check our lines (we’ve lived here over 30 years; the outside line to our house was last replaced in 2004 when it had to be moved).

Probably a single device to provide everything, the ISP should provide the modem and then you can connect the router to that.

Buy an Asus RT-AC58U V3 or similar type device for around $70, more than that will be overkill for what you both are doing.

Thanks for the advice and suggestions. I’ll take a look at that router. :grinning:

I read Roon, and others here, generally advise against internet provider equipment on the premise it’s lower performing/quality. I’m happy to be corrected if this is wrong. Also, our provider charges a monthly fee for equipment. In the past I found it to be cheaper to buy my own equipment, which was likely better performing/quality.

I just realized something. Our internet plan says it offers speeds up to 250 Mbps. But I don’t know what speeds our devices and computers are actually capable of.

I pretty sure our desktop PC came with Windows 8, and we updated it to Windows 10 when it was released in 2015. So I’m guessing the PC is at least 7-8 years old, if not older. I’ll see if I can find out how to determine what network speed it is capable of.

My streamer, a Salkstream III, was purchased in 2016. I have no idea what speeds it is capable of or how to determine it (it runs Linux Arch).

Am I right that our computers and devices may not even be capable of the speeds we are paying our internet provider for? If so, should we look into getting a lower speed, and probably cheaper internet plan? Or is the “headroom” useful?

I guess it’s probably still a good idea to update our old modem (8 years old) and router (probably at least 9 years old if not older)?

Ugh, this stuff mskes my head spin. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Edit: It looks like our iPads and iPhones are capable of wifi ac (iPads) and wifi ax (iPhones) speeds. Our TV specs state wifi ac. The Roku 3 states wifi n. I sent an email to the streamer manufacturer to see if he can tell me the Ethernet port speed capability. I’ll check the PC later (seriously need to go to bed, lol).

These are the speeds of your internal network and your (very) old router is the source of that. So you now have speed up your internet to your Cox modem but the speed of your internal network is still the same (and extremely low.) :smiley:
A new router will solve that.

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Um - ethernet speeds of 50-70 Mbps, 9 Mbps up is for the internet connection, not the internal network. Sounds like ADSL or VDSL technology to me, certainly not fibre-optic, which would be at least 100 Mbps in both directions…

It’s bits per second, not bytes per second (which would be MBps)

No, not any flavor of DSL. It is DOCSIS. Cox is a cable operator.

And plenty of older or even newly released devices – especially in the AV sphere – are equipped with 100BASE-T Ethernet. Definitely worth confirming.


It looks like our PC and my laptop (both pre 2015 computers) are set up with 100BASE-T Ethernet as you indicated.

I ordered an Asus router. I’ve been reading to familarize myself with the setup process and noticed that the password for the router login can only be a combination of letters and numbers (Asus website says hyphen and underscore can also be used). For the wireless password, only letters and numbers can be used.

Currently with my old Netgear router, I was able to set up a long complex password including letters, numbers, and a variety of special characters.

I don’t see anything about the length of password for router login, but wifi login says 8-63 numbers/letters. Since on the Asus limts what I can use, how many numbers/letters should I use for the login and wireless passwords to insure security?

Thanks. :grinning:

The new router came in today and I managed to get everything set up without too much trouble. It took me a few hours to get it and our devices setup, mainly because this is new territory for me (I don’t understand most of what’s in the settings :relaxed:) and was being very methodical/slow. It helped that I did a lot of research on setup beforehand.

You were right. The new router is so much faster than the old one. Now we’re getting the internet speeds for which we’ve been paying our ISP. :+1:

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Gladly, it turns out this is incorrect. Our PC was just reporting the max speed with our old router. It’s much faster now with the new router. Instead of reporting max speed of 100Mbps, it’s reporting max speed of 1000Mbps. :+1:

The manufacturer of my streamer said this about it’s Ethernet speed;

“ It is likely that it is 100MBs. But if you remove the top and look at the make and model number of the motherboard, you can google that to make sure.”

I’m not sure I want to go through that trouble. I’ll find out next time I rip a CD and transfer the file to the streamer.