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Upgrading my modem.

Regular Contributor

Upgrading my modem.

I recently received an Xfinity email re modem updating and am investigating the matter. I currently have an Arris Surfboard 6141 modem and a Netgear Nighthawk R7000 router. Both support DOCSIS 3.0.  I pay for Blast, and am getting about 235mbs down, 20mps up. The signal has weak spots in the house, and I want to strengthen it.

Some of the recommended upgrades support DOCSIS 3.1. I will be buying the equipment rather than renting.

Questions: should I opt for the DOCSIS 3.1 or is that overkill? I want the fastest, strongest wifi possible. Also—should I buy 2 pieces(a modem and a router) or get a combo unit? Thanks in advance. 

Problem Solver

Re: Upgrading my modem.

Honestly, gigabit is overkill for most people. That depends on what you want to do.

 

I have gigabit because I do a lot of downloads and streaming, and downloading a 4.5 GB Windows 10 install ISO from Microsoft took me <2 minutes, where it would take me nearly a half hour with Blast Pro. It also helps with online backup - the Gigabit tier gives you a 35 Mbps upload speed, as opposed to 10 for Blast or Extreme, and less for the lower tiers.

 

For most people who want to mostly go online, do email, access social media platforms, and watch streaming video, Blast 200/10, Blast Pro 250/10 works perfectly fine, even Performance Pro 150/5 will be ok. 

 

For your needs, however, you probably just need to either upgrade your router to a Mesh system like the Eero or Netgear Orbi, or add additional wireless nodes around the house, either by wireless extenders, or Powerline Adapters. I don't recommend extenders as they tend to cut your bandwidth in half, so I'd go either the Mesh route, or the Powerline Adapter route. 

 

 


"Sometimes the best way to learn something is by doing it wrong and looking at what you did." - Neil Gaiman
Expert

Re: Upgrading my modem.

MoCA adapters are also an option. Google for info.

Regular Contributor

Re: Upgrading my modem.

So you would not upgrade the Surfboard 6141? Also(dumb question alert), what’s the difference between a wireless extender and a power line adapter? They seem to do the same thing. 

Problem Solver

Re: Upgrading my modem.

If you're getting 235 Mbps download on a Blast (200 Mbps) plan, then obviously your modem is working fine and there's no need to upgrade it, unless you upgrade your speed tier.
As far as the difference, a wireless extender acts like a relay between your wireless router and your connected device using wireless, whereas a Powerline adapter connects over your home electrical wiring, bridging your router and your device.
The problem with wireless extenders is that they spend half the time communicating with the router, and then other half communicating with the device - so effectively it cuts your bandwidth in half.

This may be fine for some, but personally I prefer Powerline (or MoCA, as EG suggested) or better yet, a direct wired Ethernet connection, as you'll get a faster connection.
Some Powerline adapters have built in wireless access points, but since they don't need to communicate with the router over wireless, you don't get the performance hit that you do with an extender.

"Sometimes the best way to learn something is by doing it wrong and looking at what you did." - Neil Gaiman