Should You Buy a Router If Your ISP Gives You a Combined Router/Modem?


Many internet service providers are offering a two in one device that functions both as a modem and as a wireless router. The internet companies have put a lot of thought into this. This eliminates the need of getting separate equipment and paying separately for each one of them. So, in case you have a combined router/modem units, should you buy a separate router?

Well, you do not need to, but you can. There are pluses and minuses of both. Therefore, we will be discussing all the good things and bad things about two different routers so that you do not have to. If the confusion persists then look for Spectrum’s phone number to get a bit ofrightful advice.

Why do these combined units exist in the very first place?

Internet service providers face a lot of problems if they provide routers and modems separately. I worked in the Sales Support of a provider and many customers didn’t know the basic difference between the two. They were under the impression that we are selling them extra equipment that might be of no use to them. Moreover, the routers and modems had a separate monthly rental and customers were easily annoyed by this.

The combined router/modem unit makes things slightly simpler. The providers just have to hand the customers these simple units and they can connect their devices through these units. It eliminates the need of purchasing a separate router and the providers don’t have to face an influx of calls from customers confused setting up their routers.

How to use your own router?

The new combined units have this feature to disable the router functionality. This will make sure that the modem simply passes the connection to a separate router if connected.

After disabling the router functionality, you can connect your other router with the help of an Ethernet cable. The router will be able to send traffic back and forth. If you don’t want to disable the built-in router, you can even plug that separate router and both routers will function simultaneously.

There is one problem withthis, we’ll discuss that at the end too. Whenever there are two routers working simultaneously, the extra router receives a local IP from the unit. So, at one time, you’d be using a local network behind another local network, this creates a mess with port-forwarding. Therefore, it isn’t ideal yet possible. Disabling the router from the unit will leave you with one Wi-Fi network.

What is the benefit of using two routers?

The only benefit of getting an extra router is getting additional features that otherwise aren’t present in the unit. For example, you want the fastest speeds possible and your unit doesn’t have 802.11ac. You can attach 802.11ac Wi-Fi with the unit. This will get you faster internet access.

What is the problem with double routers?

If you think running two routers simultaneously on your home network will give you ultra-fast speeds, you need to know that this exactly is the reason why these phantom problems arise.  So, the modem you get from your internet service provider works as a modem and a wireless router. On top of that, if you add another router, this will create a problem. Why? Because all the traffic is supposed to pass through your two separate routers. We’ll not get into the technical details of this issue. In most simple words, this will introduce latency in your network connection. Ultimately, your gaming experience will suffer a lot.

Final Verdict

So, should you get an additional router? Well, the answer depends on what you want. If you are happy and satisfied with what you have in the unit and you don’t need any additional features, stick to the one provided by your ISP. Moreover, if you are a gamer and can’t afford latency during online gaming, there is no point in getting another router.

On the other hand, if your unit is old and doesn’t have any new additional features, you can purchase another router and connect it with the unit.


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