Modems: Forgotten, but key
I'll be honest: Cable modems aren't glamorous technology. In fact, you probably haven't thought about yours since it was installed.
It's easy to forget how important, and impressive, your cable modem is. It handles your Internet traffic 24/7 for years, usually without a hiccup. Some modems even pull double duty as your wireless router.
Beyond that, there is another good reason to think about your cable modem. If it's more than a few years old, you might not get the Internet speeds you pay for.
Don't guess at your Internet speed. Find out how fast it is in seconds with this free service at speedtest.net.
Cable companies are busy upgrading their networks for faster speeds. Naturally, to access these faster speeds requires a newer cable modem.
The newest standard for cable modems is DOCSIS 3 — although DOCSIS 3.1 is coming soon. DOCSIS 3 can have data download rates of 160 megabits per second, or better — four times faster than DOCSIS 2. Sounds great!
But don't run out and grab a new modem just yet. Check with your cable provider to see whether your connection uses DOCSIS 3. If your neighborhood network isn't up-to-date, a new cable modem can wait.
There's also no rush to upgrade if you have a basic low-speed Internet plan. You won't get anywhere near your modem's capacity.
The exception is if you have a really old DOCSIS 1.1 modem. That really needs to be replaced.
In addition to boosting your transfer rates, a newer modem could clear up any connection issues you've been experiencing. Many cable companies are phasing out DOCSIS 1.1 modems anyway.
To find out what kind of a modem you have, visit the modem manufacturer's website. Then look up your model number. This information should be on the bottom or back of the modem.
Even if you've determined that you should upgrade, you aren't done yet. The big question is should you buy a new modem or lease one from your cable company?
Both strategies have their pros and cons.
The major cable providers tack on a monthly fee of $3 or more for renting a modem. If anything goes wrong with it, the company will usually fix it or replace it for no charge.
Most cable companies keep the modem up-to-date with the latest firmware automatically. This can enhance the modem's performance.
Call your provider and see if it will upgrade you to a DOCSIS 3 modem for free. It might do so to keep you a happy customer. Some people have even gotten the monthly rental fee waived.
So, what about buying your own modem? There's a case for that as well.
Let's say you lease a modem for $4 a month. After 4 years, you've shelled out $192.
You can buy an excellent DOCSIS 3 modem for $85-$100. It's more expensive up front. But the longer you keep the modem, the more you save. I know people who have had the same modem for 6 years or more.
Email Kim Komando at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers clinch playoff berth with win over Chiefs
- Starkey: Chryst a miserable failure at Pitt
- Fatal fire under investigation in New Castle
- Obama says Sony hack not an act of war
- Groom cited at Farmington wedding reception being filmed for reality TV show
- Daily Courier roundup: Ice Miners win 20-round shootout
- WikiLeaks releases purported CIA documents on operatives’ travel
- Climate changes, habitat loss cited as threats to 314 bird species
- Pitt football fights to overcome steppingstone status
- Energy sector adjusts to global oil plummet
- Pitt players support Rudolph for job