Do I Need a New Router or Modem?

Mike Frezon

Moderator
Moderator
Joined
Oct 9, 2001
Messages
53,117
Reaction score
15,279
Points
9,110
Age
61
Location
Rensselaer, NY
Johnny Angell's thread about getting a new router got me thinking. Are my devices taking advantage of my service?

I am a Spectrum/Charter cable/internet customer. I Am having a dickens of a time finding out what internet speed my current plan should be getting me. As near as I can figure from various searches (both via Google and at the Spectrum site), I should either be getting 60mbps or 940mbps. :rolleyes: I tried to chat with their customer service to figure all this out, but that was frustratingly unsuccessful.

As I was reading Johnny's Thread I realized I haven't upgraded my router or modem (I own both) in many years. and that maybe I am not maximizing my potential speeds. i am woefully ignorant about this particular subject area.

Here is my gear:

Modem: An Arris/Motorola SB 6141 (purchased in 2013. I can't believe that was seven years ago!) SPEC sheet from Arris.

Router: NetGear WNR 2000 v2 (purchased ?? Can't remember. Not from Amazon. Must've been Staples.) SPEC sheet from Netgear.

Ookla tells me I'm generally getting DL speeds of about 25mbps. And upload speeds of 10mbps.

Should I be getting better?

I know my internet at work is much faster/responsive than mine is at home. But I work at a pretty big place.

I would love to improve things and I know that there are a ton of people on this forum whose expertise on this subject is amazing. I'll be gld to answer any qustions about info I've left out of this post. And I'm ready to pend some money! Thanks in advance for any help.
 

JohnRice

Executive Producer
Joined
Jun 20, 2000
Messages
12,884
Reaction score
2,301
Points
9,110
Location
A Mile High
Website
www.theteatable.com
Real Name
John
They seriously can’t tell you what speed you’re paying for?. That’s absurd! Is your 25mbs by WiFi or wired, and if WiFi, how far from the router. 25mbs is pretty pitiful these days. You won’t get reliable UHD streaming, and even HD streaming will tend to be spotty.

Your modem is capable of almost 400mbs, BTW.
 

Mike Frezon

Moderator
Moderator
Joined
Oct 9, 2001
Messages
53,117
Reaction score
15,279
Points
9,110
Age
61
Location
Rensselaer, NY
That's a wifi speed test result, John. Probably about 10 to 12 feet from the router.
 

Mike Frezon

Moderator
Moderator
Joined
Oct 9, 2001
Messages
53,117
Reaction score
15,279
Points
9,110
Age
61
Location
Rensselaer, NY
They seriously can’t tell you what speed you’re paying for?. That’s absurd!
They can tell me. But they're "experiencing longer thn usual wait times, etc." You know the drill. And I cannot find the infomation anywhere on my account page or bills.
 

Josh Steinberg

Executive Producer
Reviewer
Joined
Jun 10, 2003
Messages
18,443
Reaction score
22,869
Points
9,110
Age
37
Real Name
Josh Steinberg
Do you have a laptop or conveniently located computer that you could temporarily plug directly into the modem? You could run a speed test then and that will tell you exactly what’s coming into the house - which will then give a clue to whether you’re getting poor service from your provider, or whether something is going wrong within your household setup. It may be that you have sufficient service but are getting bottlenecked by the router or the wifi signal.
 

JohnRice

Executive Producer
Joined
Jun 20, 2000
Messages
12,884
Reaction score
2,301
Points
9,110
Location
A Mile High
Website
www.theteatable.com
Real Name
John
I’m not as versed on it all as others, but I’d think you could log onto your account to see what the speed is. I think it’s probably pretty close to 25mbs though. Your modem is capable of far more than that, so it’s fine. You probably want a new router with 5ghz, which is a pickle to set up, but you saw that in the other thread.
 

xx Brian xx

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Dec 18, 2017
Messages
175
Reaction score
49
Points
110
Real Name
Brian
The SB6141 is a DOCSIS 3.0 modem. Spectrum uses 3.1, I would upgrade to a new DOCSIS 3.1 modem. The new modem will add more bonding channels and should help with speeds.

Brian
 
  • Like
Reactions: Yeoman007

JohnRice

Executive Producer
Joined
Jun 20, 2000
Messages
12,884
Reaction score
2,301
Points
9,110
Location
A Mile High
Website
www.theteatable.com
Real Name
John
I have a Docsis 3.0 modem with 500 mb/s service and I get reliable speeds over 500 mb/s. 3.1 modems cost twice as much. Unless you want gb/s speeds, a 3.0 modem is fine.
 

Dennis Nicholls

Executive Producer
Joined
Oct 5, 1998
Messages
10,573
Reaction score
900
Points
9,110
Location
Boise, ID
Real Name
Dennis
I think your router is the weak spot. Has 100 Base T LAN connections. The documentation is so old (2010) that it is difficult to determine that it does NOT have modern Gigabit LAN connections, limiting you to 100 MBS at best.

I had an old router like yours. I pay for 100 MBs cable and would only see maybe 85 MBs over both LAN and WAN with OOKLA. When I upgraded the router to dual-channels and Gigabit LAN I'd get typically 115 MBs LAN and almost that WAN.

I'm cheap. I buy models maybe 2 years old. A year or so ago I upgraded to a SB6183 modem, bought as a "damaged" box special off Amazon for $30.
 

Dennis Nicholls

Executive Producer
Joined
Oct 5, 1998
Messages
10,573
Reaction score
900
Points
9,110
Location
Boise, ID
Real Name
Dennis
This is the router I use. https://www.newegg.com/netgear-archer-a5/p/N82E16833704486 It's a couple of years old design but for some reason Newegg still sells stock at $30 shipped. TP-Link support has been very good. For your needs this may be an idea for a cheap upgrade path. How far in distance do you need WiFi?

edit looks like Amazon too Amazon product
 
Last edited:

Mike Frezon

Moderator
Moderator
Joined
Oct 9, 2001
Messages
53,117
Reaction score
15,279
Points
9,110
Age
61
Location
Rensselaer, NY
How far in distance do you need WiFi?
Just around the house. The bulk of the need is with our to laptops on the main floor. The rest of it is just phone usage. I do a little bit of streaming (I have an Apple 4kTV) but that is also just six feet away from where I have my modem & router.

If you thought that router would make a difference, I would jump on that. I figured I'd be willing to spend $100 to make things better and "future-proof" myself for a few more years.
 

JohnRice

Executive Producer
Joined
Jun 20, 2000
Messages
12,884
Reaction score
2,301
Points
9,110
Location
A Mile High
Website
www.theteatable.com
Real Name
John
I agree with Dennis. Your modem is capable of almost 400 mb/s, so unless you upgrade your speed higher than that, there's no reason to replace it. The router is old and needs to be replaced.
 

Mike Frezon

Moderator
Moderator
Joined
Oct 9, 2001
Messages
53,117
Reaction score
15,279
Points
9,110
Age
61
Location
Rensselaer, NY
Do you have a laptop or conveniently located computer that you could temporarily plug directly into the modem? You could run a speed test then and that will tell you exactly what’s coming into the house - which will then give a clue to whether you’re getting poor service from your provider, or whether something is going wrong within your household setup. It may be that you have sufficient service but are getting bottlenecked by the router or the wifi signal.
I just tried to do this. I plugged the RJ-45 cable directly from the modem into my laptop. But I failed on being able to setup an ethernet connection with internet connectivity.
 

Mike Frezon

Moderator
Moderator
Joined
Oct 9, 2001
Messages
53,117
Reaction score
15,279
Points
9,110
Age
61
Location
Rensselaer, NY
I would jump on Dennis' recommendation...

but the only thing against it is WAF. Our current modem is a vertical box. His is a horizontal box (with the external antennae) and I'm afraid I might run into an issue with Peg in terms of desktop space needed.

I will begin searching for an up-to-date router in a vertical configuration--assuming they still make those.
 

Mike Frezon

Moderator
Moderator
Joined
Oct 9, 2001
Messages
53,117
Reaction score
15,279
Points
9,110
Age
61
Location
Rensselaer, NY
Outside of another Netgear Router (which gets pretty bad reviews on Amazon), THIS WAVLINK router is the only other vertical box I see. It looks very nice and I don't have a problem with the price.

But maybe I need to figure out a workaround on the WAF with a horizontal router.
 

David Norman

Producer
Premium
Joined
Oct 12, 2001
Messages
6,308
Reaction score
2,826
Points
9,110
Location
Charlotte, NC
I just tried to do this. I plugged the RJ-45 cable directly from the modem into my laptop. But I failed on being able to setup an ethernet connection with internet connectivity.
Usually I find it works best just to plus in directly and reboot the computer and modem

Spectrum does make if difficult to tell exactly what speed you're signed up for -- partially because their labelling system is a hodge podge of all the systems they've bought out over the last decade. What is Extreme Internet in NC is not the same as MO or NY and even in the same city the same name gives a different speed depending on your address

What general description does their Account tell you you're signed up for -- Std/Ultra or Silver/Gold? I think your area usual is 100/10 and
I'm pretty sure 940 service is 50-70 per month extra so your bill should give you a line item

I think I remember my 6141 modem maxing at 200. I briefly went to 300 speed here, but the 6141 couldn't do it and tried a newer modem. The service was just too unstable and I eventually dropped back to 100/5 and then 60/5 once Spectrum took over Time Warner and my bill went up nearly 60% in a year. I wasn't using anything that required even 100 so it was all just for show at that point
 

Dennis Nicholls

Executive Producer
Joined
Oct 5, 1998
Messages
10,573
Reaction score
900
Points
9,110
Location
Boise, ID
Real Name
Dennis
I put my router (and modem too) on the otherwise unused space on top of a tall bookshelf.
 

Josh Steinberg

Executive Producer
Reviewer
Joined
Jun 10, 2003
Messages
18,443
Reaction score
22,869
Points
9,110
Age
37
Real Name
Josh Steinberg
@John Dirk helped me pick out the right router for my setup, maybe he can chime in here too?
 

John Dirk

Producer
Premium
Joined
May 7, 2000
Messages
3,471
Reaction score
1,275
Points
4,110
Age
54
Location
ATL
Real Name
JOHN
I have a Docsis 3.0 modem with 500 mb/s service and I get reliable speeds over 500 mb/s. 3.1 modems cost twice as much. Unless you want gb/s speeds, a 3.0 modem is fine.
I agree. I just went through this process because I previously had a business modem owned by Comcast. I wanted faster speeds but I have no control of my [free] corporate Internet, so I decided to get a residential account and purchased a Netgear CM-1100 cable modem. Since I was buying new and found a great deal at Costco, I bought a DOCSIS 3.1 model even though I currently have no practical use for it since even my upgraded speed is just 100 Mbps. If you already have a decent modem with a max rating that exceeds your Internet speed tier then there is no compelling reason to upgrade.

I think your router is the weak spot. Has 100 Base T LAN connections. The documentation is so old (2010) that it is difficult to determine that it does NOT have modern Gigabit LAN connections, limiting you to 100 MBS at best.
Again, I agree. Ethernet packets can have significant overhead so a 100 Mbps port will generally achieve speeds no greater than maybe 80-90 Mbps, even in ideal environments, which excludes pretty much all real-world settings. You always want the bottleneck to be at the furthest point [edge] of your network, or in other words, at your ISP. Wired Gigabit throughout your home will ensure this so definitely consider a router upgrade.

In most home networks, WLAN bandwidth easily exceeds available WAN bandwidth. If you really want to optimize WLAN performance you'll need to consider purchasing new client devices that support the latest standards such as 802.11AC but you don't likely have needs that justify this. 802.11AX (Wifi 6) is the most future proof standard so it might be work investing in a router that supports it if you're in the market anyway even though there aren't really any clients available yet to my knowledge.


I just tried to do this. I plugged the RJ-45 cable directly from the modem into my laptop. But I failed on being able to setup an ethernet connection with internet connectivity.
To make this work you'll need to connect the laptop directly to an available LAN port on the router, not the modem. Be sure not to use the WAN port. You can also probably just go to the web site of your provider and check their available service tiers. The one closet to your measured speed with a direct wired connection to your router is likely what you're paying for.


Here is the router I purchased yesterday. If you have a larger home you'll probably want something similar. This is what's called a Mesh router. It consists of a main unit [router] which needs to be located proximal to your cable modem but also includes a couple of "satellites" which [once initial setup is complete] can be located pretty much anywhere you're experiencing slow or no coverage.



If your house is smaller and your WiFi needs are basic then you can get away with a cheaper alternative such as this one. Either will probably yield significantly better performance than what you're experiencing now.

 
Last edited:

Forum Sponsors

Forum statistics

Threads
343,767
Messages
4,689,267
Members
141,039
Latest member
savitritmneha