Looking to cut back on your monthly internet cost? Learn all about the advantages and disadvantages of renting or owning your modem and router.

Do you need a modem and a router?

You may be wondering: “Do I even need a modem and router?” and the answer is yes if you’re looking to wirelessly connect devices in your home to the internet.

Your modem connects your local home network to the internet and a router allows you to connect multiple devices wirelessly to your internet connection. Internet service providers often offer a single 2-in-1 device with an integrated modem and router as an option for monthly rental. However, if you have the option to purchase your own equipment, you may be able to save money in the long run by doing so.

Pros and cons of renting a modem and router

  • Provider customer support
  • Guaranteed software updates
  • Easy to return the equipment
  • Guaranteed provider and speed compatibility
  • Repair services included with service
  • Monthly rental payment with service
  • Payments only go toward usage

Pros and cons of buying a modem and router

  • One-time charge
  • Long-term investment
  • Reduce your annual internet bill by owning your own equipment
  • You pick your equipment instead of the provider
  • Repair and equipment upgrades are your responsibility after a warranty expire
  • Customer support may be limited after the warranty expires or the age of device increases

Will I save more money buying or renting a modem and router?

Buying your own modem and router is a great option for you if:

  • Plan on keeping your internet access for more than a year
  • Have the option to use your own equipment
  • Don’t have roommates that you’ll need to split the cost with
  • Have the patience to do some preliminary research
  • Plan to customize your equipment in the future

Tips for buying a router and modem

The best way to maximize your investment in internet equipment is to know what kind of device you need to support your internet activities and your household. Also, decide whether or not you’ll want to purchase a gateway device as we used in the examples above or separate modem and Wi-Fi router devices.

Separate devices are great if you can see yourself upgrading your home network or broadband speed. In either case, you’d simply need to replace your router or modem. To make this change to a gateway router/modem device, you’d have to upgrade and replace the entire device.

Next, consider the download speeds and data plan, if applicable, of your internet plan and make sure to choose a device that’s capable of delivering those speeds. If all else fails, check out the list of compatible devices commonly offered by ISPs with the option to use your own equipment. Many well-known providers like Cox, Spectrum and Xfinity provide extensive lists of alternatives by internet speed tier so you can pick a model based on your plan.

We recommend at least referencing these lists before you buy a device. Purchasing equipment that is incompatible with your provider, internet speeds and level of activity could make your investment a flop, especially if you can’t even enjoy your internet service.

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